About 25 years ago we planted 15 feet of raspberries along the fence on the North side of our yard. Husband had inadvertently killed a 4 foot wide strip of grass along the fence the entire length of our property. We planted day lilies and irises in the remaining length of the dead zone. As our raspberries grew and flourished (and spread beyond the original 15 foot bed), so did an ash tree on the other side of the fence along the property line in our neighbor’s yard, throwing increasing shade on the canes. The canes have moved away from the shaded area under the tree over the years and invaded the lawn, leaving a large, empty space along the fence that fills up with weeds. It is hard to walk between the invading raspberries and the strawberry bed. It is impossible to mow.
The raspberries produced prodigiously until this year. The berries were small and hard, and withered immediately after ripening. I suppose there could be disease going on, or else, after so many years of productivity, the new canes that grow up every year are just worn out and don’t have the vigor of the originals we planted. The ash tree is too tall for us to trim, even though we would be within our rights to trim every part of it that hangs over our property. We decided it is time to reclaim the area, dig up the raspberries that are too shaded, and plant hydrangeas, ligularia (aka “The Rocket”), and ostrich ferns, in their place. That shouldn’t cost too much, but it won’t be a picnic digging up those raspberry canes. There are still raspberries that get enough sun, and we will leave them be. They haven’t invaded the lawn yet.
Hydrangeas grow beautifully in our yard, and can cover a large area of landscaping sins. I am tired of such a wild looking back yard. We will have to sell the house in the next few years and it isn’t too early to start sprucing the place up. I look forward to a backyard revival, but not the expense and the labor that will go into it.
If money and labor were no object, how would you change the landscaping in your yard?