February was not kind to the landscapes in this part of Midgard. Plants that will take a day or two of freezing weather in stride just couldn’t cope with about a week of Fimbulwinter. There are a lot of dead palms, bottlebrushes, cycads, and other wimpy shrubberies around and about.
Likewise, the humans’ landscaping is quite haphazard. The birds and the wind and the squirrels plant things and the human female leaves them be. All the best things came up on their own. But it gets a bit tangly sometimes, or else things come up where they shouldn’t. Or try to eat the house.
For both reasons, some corrective pruning is in order. Theoretically, everything that is going to recover should be showing signs of life. The neighbors have begun to tidy up their own yards. It’s a pretty day with no rain forecast so, human female, you can’t really put the job off much longer. Since this involves you and edged tools, I really want to be involved (in an observing sort of way, not a doing-chores sort of way), because I smell the opportunity for mischief.
Especially if you get out the ladder. (It’s the folds-a-dozen-ways kind, and those things need very little urging to crunch fingers!)
I think you should probably start with the Vitex. This poor thing has had a large dead tree dropped on it, it has been hacked up by vandals unknown, and it’s naturally brittle-wooded. Now it has a large, low branch that is partly hollow and blocking access to the sprinkler system.
Voop-ah, voop-ah, voop-ah, voop-ah! That’s my impression of a pruning saw in hard wood. I’ve meddled your the saw so it doesn’t lock open anymore, though, which means that, between it and you, the noise is going to be more like voop-ugh, voop-dammit, voop-grr. I’m going to laugh if it folds up on your fingers…
Next you should probably take a look at those outlaw invasive elms you’ve been hoping the Native Plant Society of Texas doesn’t notice that you have.
They’ve got a lot of very low branches that stick out over the lawn, and while it amuses me to watch you duck as you mow, I’ve bonked my horns on them a number of times, so I wish you’d limb them up. Or, you could wait for your neighbor to just chop them off at the property line, because they annoy him too.
While you’re at it, pay some attention to limbs and saplings too close to the house. I know it’s going to break your heart to cut down that slender, six-foot live oak that planted itself all of ten inches from the foundation, but leaving it is a pretty stupid idea. (I know, I know, I’m depriving myself of the opportunity to cackle about a cracked foundation about ten years down the road, but it’s jolly good fun to see her mourn the tree now.)
Sweet Sif on a cracker! No one should have to see this! She has eschewed the ladder and has climbed up into the crapemyrtle to get the branch that’s been trying to tear the gutter off. Woman, you are too old and too rotund to be hanging up there like some strange, globose fruit with your fundament at everyone else’s eye-level. Come down from there this instant!
Here, observe this sad Boxwood. Surely it’s in dire need of some help.
Yes, Sigyn, it’s very sad. Apparently “evergreen” doesn’t actually apply to bushes that were encased in ice for days on end. Oh! Wait! My clever Sigyn has discovered a bit of green beneath the bark in a few spots so it might not be a total loss. The clippers have been put aside. I know what you’re doing, human female. You can call it “Giving it a few more weeks to see if it will start to recover,” but we all know it’s really “I’m too lazy to figure out what to cut and what to keep so I’ll worry about that later.”
Ditto for the very crunchy Pittosporum in the back yard.
What you really should tackle now, though, is the Turk’s Cap (or as Sigyn likes to call it, the Cupcake Bush). That thing dies to the ground most years anyway, and last year it tried to eat the garage, so you’ve got a whole lot of eight feet tall and twelve feet wide to cut down.
That should keep you occupied for the rest of the afternoon.