Wintertime Fun And Christmas Tree Projects

Lazies, I have an on-going tree-related saga to share. And I found some cute tree related craft projects. So I put them all together for a big tree stew of a blog post. The craft projects interrupt my saga with some nice eye candy.

I’m Not Crazy, I’m A Home Owner
I finally understand the insane behavior of home owners. It’s taken a while, but having been in our house for 8 years, I’ve had more than one learning adventure through the growing pains of ignorance and its repercussions.

Yesterday, in a calculated and passionate attempt at preserving next year’s summertime happiness, I beat the shrubbery with a rake.

It’s not the first time this happened. I did this last year, too.

Why, might you ask, would I feel compelled to attack the shrubbery with a common lawn tool? It’s a long and ugly coming of age story.

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This is what our patio area looked like four years ago.

The Love Affair Begins
The nicely landscaped patio sold me on this house. I loved the little tiny backyard, patio framed in a semi-circle of 12 arborvitae trees/shrubs, 4-5 feet tall – cute, almost private, elegant. In a couple of years, they should have grown together into a strong, vibrant lion’s pride of a tall unified hedge.

Eight years later and I’m still waiting.

Disaster Strikes In The Burbs
We had an ice storm four years ago. The storm split the shrubs, peeling them like bananas, to half their height. They sat like that for days, if not a week or more. I can’t remember. When the ice melted, the shrubs did not completely return to their upright and locked position. It was not pretty. Imagine trying to re-seal a banana. They were lumpy and floppy.

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Here are the ice covered shrubs after the storm four years ago.

Just as the shrubs were starting to look like they were bouncing back the following summer, they were hit with an infestation of spider mites. The mites sucked the green out of those shrubs, nearly killing them. Darn it.

Get A Second Opinion
I called a tree service for an opinion on whether to keep or replace my little damaged, abused, mite-sucked, lumpy, shrubby landscaping. They said that with love and fertilizer, they would probably bounce back in a couple of seasons. The shrubs provide most of the privacy for our patio area, and removing them might compromise the supporting area of the patio. I really didn’t want them dug up and replaced at the risk of destabilizing the hillside under and around the patio.

So, one more season came and went. We fertilized, we sprayed for mites. The spider mites, who lay eggs for the next season before they die, hatched a fresh family for another feast, but we stopped them early with little damage two years ago.

Eye Candy Alert
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Stacking Fabric Christmas Trees from the
Small Object blog. While there,
also check out the Fabric Chain Garland.

More Obstacles
Due to the shade of nearby trees, two of our trees were starting to grow sideways to find sunlight. In the process of doing so, they began to suffocate our shrubs. We removed the two trees. That was hard. I love trees.

Get A Third Opinion
The garden center suggested binding the banana peel structures to each other with old pantyhose due to their support and stretch. Oh do I have lots of those sitting around from days of office work so long ago. This summer we staked the crooked shrubs and bound the wonky ones. My pantyhose can be seen strung around the patio, binding the shrubs like big rubber bands from my past.

Last winter, as well as yesterday, we had a heavy snow fall. And things got wonky out there once again. We had six inches of wet, heavy snow.

Eye Candy Alert
buttonblog1.jpg
This incredible Button Tree is from
Misadventures of Mama and Jack blog.

Patting Down The Shrubs
I had to take action. So, I geared up, got my rake and a broom, and went to work out back. I gently, methodically, and with a voice only my shrubs can hear, proceeded to work my way around one side of the semi-circle, then back the other side. Tap, brush, shake, repeat. It was like patting down a perp on a cop show.

I freed each precious shrub from the heavy snow that threatens the promise of a private patio haven next summer.

I gave up wondering or worrying about my neighbors laughing at me as I shook-down my shrubs with a rake last year.

They were probably ready for me this year. I’ll be on call for shrubbery snow removal for the remainder of the season. In the meantime, I suspect that you can find a video of my antics on YouTube.

I found both of the crafty tree creations through Whip Up.

Enjoy!
Joan

[tags]christmas tree[/tags]

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11 Responses to “Wintertime Fun And Christmas Tree Projects”

  1. Regina — December 6, 2007 @ 11:05 am

    You need to call the Japanese and do something like this:

    http://www.city.kanazawa.ishikawa.jp/custum_e/yukitsuri/yukitsuriE.html

    This is the garden from the city I lived in when I was in Japan – I could not find pictures that do justice to this rope system on the trees. The snow here was very very wet and heavy – the storms would come across Siberia, pick up moisture from the Sea of Japan, then hit Kanazawa on the west coast of Japan and just dump this wet, thick snow. We used to carry umbrellas in the winter! The temps hover right around freezing – or just above – so no dry powdery stuff here.

    I will have to dig through my photos from there and scan one in for you – it is like huge ice cream cones!

  2. Wendy — December 6, 2007 @ 11:27 am

    Frightening that we all have these bizarre little obsessions with our yards. I’m currently raising 3 hibiscus plants with more care then I raised my children. Which, by the way, they noticed!!!

    Happy Holidays!

  3. Barb — December 6, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

    Joan, Thanks for the much needed entertainment. I completely sympathize although I can kill any plant known to man in record time so landscaping for me is best left to the professionals. Thanks also for the really cute crafts. Too late for this year but it’s just about time to start on stuff for next year!
    Barb

  4. Penny — December 6, 2007 @ 1:26 pm

    Your shrubs have nothing to worry about with Snowshovel Joan on watch! I really hope it helps, there is nothing like waiting for that comforting garden so you can sit and sip some coffee or tea and enjoy it’s splender. I loved the story, but I am wishing for snow and you are sweeping it! The grass is always greener or in this case snowyer (word?).

    Penny D in Chesapeake

  5. Sequana — December 6, 2007 @ 1:30 pm

    I made one of those cone trees the other day…*S*…Now I need to make a couple more for a small forest. I wonder if I’ll need to beat the snow outta them before spring?

    You can see my first tree attempt on my flickr site when you click on my name.

  6. Lynn — December 6, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

    Well Im from Mn. but spending this winter (after retirement this last fall in Utah…) down in the canyons by Zion Nat’l Park…so no snow for us. Your ditty reminds me of WHY we are HERE instead of Mn. right now fighting the 12″ of snow and the sub zero temps we already have there this winter…ha! I can relate to your patio shrub problems alot! Never fear…spring will be here before you know it! sm…Take care!!

  7. Jane — December 6, 2007 @ 2:46 pm

    Joan why don’t you wrap those shrubs in Burlap, and tie with rope and then the snowfall won’t find any branches to light upon.
    It is available in garden centers.

    Once wrapped they will look like sentinels guarding your patio.

    That is what Lazies do in Nova Scotia to protect their shrubs and bushes …

  8. Sue in McHenry IL — December 7, 2007 @ 1:05 am

    The website for the world famous Chicago Botanic Gardens talks about this exact thing. It says to never use a heavy object like a shovel to hit the ice on the branches because this could damage them and creative openings for disease and insects. It says to only gently sweep the branches with a broom from underneath to support them. You might consider emailing them pics of your arborvitae and see what they suggest as they are certainly experts in this regard. Perhaps your problem could be disease or an insect infestation that they might be familiar with. Perhaps you could consider putting in a second row of arborvitae behind these so as not to disrupt the soil closest to your patio, then just cut these down at ground level and leave the roots intact. The Wayside Gardens website sells Thuga Green Giant which are the fastest growing of all conifers at 5′ per year. They can be pruned as a privacy hedge too. I have over a dozen of these in my acre garden and they do well in shade or sun. We put them in only four years ago and already have total privacy. The hardiest and fastest growing arborvitae that I know of are called Techny Arborvitae and they do quite well in the Midwest where I live in northern Illinois. I know how upsetting this is for you and I wish you the best of luck. I hope this info helps.

  9. Alice T. — December 7, 2007 @ 1:48 am

    When we lived in CT, we had a neighbor who got out every fall and lovingly built little shelters over his shrubs. He built a wooden teepee looking shelter over each bush and they survived every winter that we lived there. Can’t make you feel any sillier than sweeping them off does and has the advantage of protecting them before the snow has a chance to damage them. By the way, the neighbor’s shrubs were perfect……Good luck.

  10. marie-claire — December 7, 2007 @ 2:19 am

    C’est un idée géniale avec les boutons,bravo

  11. Hanna — December 11, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

    Hey, thanks for letting me know about this post. I did need a good chuckle! Best of luck and thanks for stopping by.