It's not every day you spend a couple of hours starting a new garden bed with newspapers from the Bush administration.
(Neighbors' cat is bonus cat.) And yes, I am a packrat, but finally I am at the bottom of the pile! There were athletes from the Beijing Olympics, there was "Lost" speculation, there was "Clinton wins Pennsylvania," there was trouble at Bear Sterns. Lots of it was good to bury.
Here's another shot, from down below:
I wasn't quite finished there; the shape was originally supposed to be a gentle arc and ended up more like a triangle, because I decided to incorporate a patch of daffodils that's been there since at least the Clinton administration (when we used to have a fence; since the fence went away it's been sitting in the middle of the lawn making itself difficult). The purpose of the bed (besides making room to put plants in) is to connect up the pagoda tree space with the mock orange space. It will require stepping stones.
The theory here (which I have successfully applied before) is that you mow the grass short, then layer newspaper or cardboard in the desired shape, then put down compost and/or materials that will compost, and eventually get something you can plant in. For now I've plopped down some fresh wood chips (more than in these photos) from another neighbor's tree removal, mostly just to weigh down the paper so it doesn't all blow away. I'll add materials as I acquire them, and edge the bed so we can mow around it. For right now all I'm going to plant are three Winterthur viburnums that have been in pots for a year and a half (big pots; they actually look great) and that I have been flailing about because I couldn't remember where I meant to put them, really, but this is as good a place as any. I'll move the newspapers and chips out of the way to dig those holes. In the fall, some bulbs, and then small shrubs or perennials as I acquire them.
It will be fun, but right now my back hurts and my knee hurts and I wish the chip pile wasn't way at the bottom of the hill, but so it goes. At least I have free chips.
I had a Brandywine viburnum too, which has gone into the bed by the driveway:
Said bed is (like most of mine, unfortunately) solidly in the Evolving stage. I need another evergreen shrub to form a screen, since the viburnum is deciduous.
Bonus photo of Japanese painted fern in the middle of sweet woodruff, an accidentally stunning combination:
We have a hell of a lot of sweet woodruff now. I suppose we had better make May wine.