Sunday, May 3, 2009

Holes

Mrs. Mom and her husband helped locate a fast-growing hedge for me on the Internet. It is called the Rapid Merlot Hybrid by Rocky Mountain AUSTREE Inc. at www.austree.com. I had to wait until May to order some since that was the ideal planting time for Nevada. It is good for windbreaks, privacy screens or feature trees in landscaping. It is cold hardy and wind tolerant, arrives at about 5 feet tall, can grow 10 to 15 feet per year, and will grow to be 60 to 80 feet at maturity. The life expectancy is 50 plus years. I ordered a package of 5 Rapid Merlot Hybrid stalks, which arrived in a tall box. This is what they looked like when I unpacked them...

The instructions said to soak their roots in water for 48 to 72 hours before planting, so I pulled out all the grain buckets and stuck them in there...

What is nice about this company is that they will ship them to you on the day you choose, so that you can plant them when it is convenient for you. Since I work all week, the weekend is the best time for me to plant. I ordered them to ship on Monday, they arrived on Wednesday, and I soaked them until Sunday. Once Sunday came and all my nosy neighbors left for church, I hurried outside and started digging the first hole...

I was very frustrated to discover that the horses had packed down the ground so hard that it was like concrete underneath to top layer of soft decomposed granite. I couldn't even break the ground up with a post hole digger, and my shovel was useless. I only got down two inches after an hour of soaking and digging, and I was supposed to dig a hole that was eighteen inches deep! Plus I had to dig five holes...

The wind was blowing so hard that it blew my hat right off my head. It almost blew over the fence into the neighbors' yard...

I decided that before I waste any more time digging, I should put the hedge to the ultimate test. I wanted to see if the horses would eat it. Of course, I knew they would eat it, but I wanted to see if they would keep eating it. My hopes were that they would snatch a bite, spit it out, and say, "Phooey! That was disgusting. I'm not doing that again!"

So, I let out the trouble makers. Here they lined up in pecking order...

Gabbrielle spotted the hedge in her grain bucket...

She started sniffing around in the fresh dirt, and it smelled so good that she decided to take a bath in it. I continued digging while the horses did their thing. I suddenly heard a ruckus behind me and turned around to see Gabbrielle galloping off with the entire hedge in her mouth. The little sneak snatched it right out of the bucket behind my back. I chased her down and told her to drop it. She spit it out, I picked it up, and put it back into the bucket. Of course, she had to come back for more...

She grabbed a root out of the bucket and devoured it whole...

It was obvious that this poor plant wasn't going to last five minutes around my horses, so I buried the hole and considered Plan 2. If the horse test failed, which it did, I was going to ask my nosy neighbors if I could plant the hedge on their side of the fence, but they weren't home to ask, and I had to plant it that very same day. Onto Plan 3... I started digging up the dirt along the fence in my dog run in front of my other neighbor's guesthouse bay window, which looks directly into my dining room window. Fortunately, the dirt there was much softer and more manageable...

Of course, that neighbor had to come out and ask what I was doing while her guest lurked around here and there. I convinced her that a hedge was a good thing, because it would help keep the sprinkler water from running through the fence onto her property causing weeds to grow. She hates weeds and invests a good sum of money into paying her gardeners to zap every little blade of anything that grows along our fence. I didn't mention how tall the hedge will grow, because I figured that would send her into a tailspin. My front yard has always been a nice view for her guests since we have a park-like setting. However, it is our yard and I don't particularly like strangers staring at my kids while they play on the lawn, so it looks like they will be looking into a Rapid Merlot Hybrid hedge from now on.

I pooped out after only digging two holes, so I had to solicit my son for help. After several hours of breaking up rocks and shoveling, we both had blisters on our hands and our backs were very sore. I was glad that only five came in a package, because that is my limit for how many I can plant in a day. The five I ordered only partially covered the section of fence, so I'll have to order five more this week and plant them next weekend. Thanks to Colt for all his help. I'll take another picture in a few months so you can see how fast they grow.

Now I just have to keep the dogs from eating the fertilizer and digging them up! Easier said than done, but easier than chasing down a galloping horse.

15 comments:

Mrs Mom said...

Fingers crossed that all your hard work pays off, and those hedges grow like CRAZY!!!

Glad we could help in some small way there! ;)

Katharine Swan said...

Just a thought, but you might have increased the likelihood that the horses would eat the hedge by showing it to them in their grain buckets. After all, how often do you show them stuff in there that's NOT for them to eat? ;o)

In any case, I laughed out loud when I read about Gabbrielle running off with the entire thing in her mouth. I love naughty young horses!

Is Bombay really at the bottom of the totem pole? Poor Bombay. LOL.

Paint Girl said...

Grow hedges grow! I could not stand to have such nosy neighbors! What is wrong with people? They need to mind their own business. Who cares what you are planting! It's your property.
You cracked me up with the shots of the horses. Loved how Gabbrielle took off with a hedge! I am sure it wasn't funny to you but it sounded like it was hilarious, I can totally picture that happening!

nikki said...

Can't wait to see what they look like in a couple of months! I saw a commercial for the austrees one time and thought they'd be neat to have since they grow so fast.

Sorry to hear that you have nosey neighbors (on both sides!). Hope the hedges block their view soon! :)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Katharine - I'm aware of that, but there was nothing else I could do. My original plan was to plant it first, then cut the horses loose on it, but I couldn't dig the hole. I also couldn't take it out of the bucket because you can't let the roots dry out for the first two weeks.

I've also been thinking that the ground probably isn't any better on my neighbors' side of the fence since horses used to inhabit that side as well. I'll probably just have to save up for a stone or brick wall for the horse paddock. I'd really like to see some greenery, though. Oh well.

fernvalley01 said...

Hopefully it works well , what about electric tape a few feet in front of the hedge to keep the horses away at least until the hedge is established?

Katharine Swan said...

LOL. I hope you know I didn't mean any criticism by that, NM. I personally thought it was funny, picturing your horses thinking, "Well, that's what Mom usually feeds us from, so..."

Pony Girl said...

Wish we could have seen a video of Gabriella running off with the hedge! ;) I'm assuming they aren't toxic to horses? I can't wait to see how fast they grow. Do they get any blooms, or just leaves?

HorseOfCourse said...

Your Gabbrielle is so cute!
I love your picture when she spots this new thing in her feed bucket. To me it seems as if she is contemplating some extra entertainment; she has that "What's up, Mum? Playtime?"-look in her face, lol.

lytha said...

by all means please keep us updated on the progress of this hedge! some animal (deer?) ate one entire cypress bush that i planted a few months ago as a privacy hedge. ok, one down, will they continue? how can cypress be palatable! agh!

your horses thought, "grain bucket ---> food inside." heheheheh too bad about that! bad horses!

you've just done a lot to improve your property value, in my humble opinion. people like privacy.

the leaves remind me of eucalyptus - i wonder if they're related.

merlot, mmmmm.

your ground is so sandy! must be great for the horses to roll in. if only i could get lots of cheap sand, i'd make baasha a big sandy rolling pit.

~lytha

Callie said...

Good luck, hope they grow fast! Maybe you'll get some privacy!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I did all my research to make sure this hedge is not toxic to horses. In fact, in the brochure they have a picture of this hedge surrounding a horse pasture. The only difference is that the horses in the picture choose to eat grass as opposed to the hedge. I have two Honey Locust trees (not toxic to horses like Black Locust trees) in my pasture, and Gabbrielle always has to strip them down to sticks every year.

I started thinking about how I have avoided doing anything in the dog run and our back yard for 15 years because of this neighbor. She always accosts me any time that she sees me near the fence, and she has such a disingenuous, manipulative personality that I literally feel ill after speaking with her. I feel like SHE is toxic.

She causes me a lot of stress by always pressuring me to do more work around my property, and sometimes even asks my husband and me to do work around her property. I've explained to her that we each work 60 hours a week and have no spare time. She has never worked a day in her life, because she was married to a millionaire, and she expects her working class neighbors to be her handymen for free.

She also has been trying to recruit us into her church, telling us that good parents don't raise their children without a faith. I told her to never assume someone doesn't have faith just because they don't attend HER church. She freaks me out, so I've let other people in the family clean up the dog run and mow that side of property over the years since I couldn't deal with this neighbor. But at least she doesn't stare, spy and eavesdrop like my other neighbors, who I originally bought the hedge for. This will do, though.

Andrea said...

Oh my, this had me laughing!! Your horses have the best personalities ever!! I love them!! And what a day, chasing hedge eating horses, digging holes!! Wow! But it will all look great in the end. Too bad it wasn't in the area where the super nosey neighbors were......

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Yep, your ground looks a lot like mine. Hard pan, caliche underneath sand. ugh! I tried to place a fish pond near our house 2 yrs ago and went to several different places in our yard, but couldn't dig down more than a few inches without hitting either hard pan caliche or a boulder.

Finally found a soft ground area next to the house where it seemed it had been dug up when the house was constructed. What a hassle, though. And I've been thinking about how much I want to plant some trees, but, just like the way we had to put in our pasture/horse fence, we'd have to hire a back hoe to hammer in the posts or dig some holes, the ground is just too hard.

Looks like you want a very dense hedge with how close you've got the trees dug in there, eh? I hope it totally blocks out your neighbor. Wonder if she'll try to cut a peephole, just so she can still 'visit' with you. lol!

That photo of Gabbrielle looking at you just cracks me up. I can just hear her saying, "But Mom, the root was in my feed bucket. It's mine!" lol!
She's so pretty. And I like the photo with the horses all lined up in order, too.

I wonder if you could build a framed lattice privacy fence in your horse paddock? You can buy the lattice in 6-7' tall sections. Just build simple frames for them and then dig the holes (yeh, right. lol!). I used to have a neighbor who did that for his laundry area, so that noone would have to see he and his wife's underwear drying in the sun. It didn't give complete privacy, but it worked pretty good.

Your luck, your nosy neighbors would stick their faces up to the gaps of the lattice to spy on you.
Hmmmm, you could always plant poison ivy on your lattice fence. That would get 'em good! lol!

~Lisa

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - You reminded me that I forgot to mention that they recommend that a single row have stalks spaced 3-feet apart. I love lattice. Maybe I could find something in vinyl or plastic. I can't do wood at all, because as is I'm replacing the panels of our wood fence on a regular basis as the horses chew through it. Gabbrielle needs to grow up before I can really put anything in there, because right now the world is her toy and she destroys anything she gets her teeth into. Maybe I can erect a rubber wall, then bounce off of it when my neighbors drive me crazy.