Way..... Out there !

Way..... Out there !
Deepest, most colorful Hubble image yet of our universe. Click for info.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Elf Attack !!

The weeds stood no chance. A  horde* of (Hallmark) woods elves, wielding weapons fearsome even by medieval standards, descended en masse upon them this morning. Ripping, slicing, hacking, sawing... they cut their way through the unsuspecting weeds with fierce determination borne of months of frustration. In the end, only the revered old plants (the venerable Holly, his worthy companions Euonymous, and a pyracantha or two) remained standing upon the liriope-rimmed entrance beds. 

And the elves departed, melting once again into the (Hallmark) woods, leaving no trace of their ferocious onslaught, save only the piles of formerly sturdy weeds now secreted among the trees of the surrounding forest. Yet, their battle cries still echo there: "That's better!"... "Much better!"... "We done good!"... "Death to weeds!"  

A wandering photographer happened by after the battle and recorded the scene:

H. W. Elf

*...at least ten of 'em, according to an observer hidden amongst the trees. It should be noted that this was an unofficial band of elves. It was organized by one of them (not your humble editor) since our board of directors has refused for at least a year to do anything about the entrance weeds.  

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Right Thing To Do...

Hallmark Woods has long had a beautiful entrance area – unique among local communities. Ours is distinctive and elegant, not the pretentious "upscale" glitz that adorns many other front doors. (Gatehouses, brick walls, huge stone signs... all designed to impress gullible would-be residents.) It was developed by our neighbors over many years of volunteer efforts and contributions. In appreciation of their work, I offer the following plan for immediate care and improvement of our heritage. It is inexpensive (as such things go), can be started right away, and will continue our traditional look, so appropriate for our community.*


Proposal 1. Maintain/enhance present entrance

The present design, arrangement of beds, and general plantings are dignified, elegant, quiet, and entirely appropriate for Hallmark Woods. We should keep the general look and layout as is.
It does now, fall 2008, need weeding and general maintenance. So we should:
1. Weed the present planting beds.
2. Test the soil for pH, and NPK levels and amend the soil as needed with limestone, compost (can be bagged), and slow-release fertilizer.
3. Replace all the existing split-rail fence. It is old and much of it is crumbling. It will be cheaper and easier to just replace all of it at once.
4. Plant a few bushes to supplement those that are already there/fill in “holes” in the plantings. Choose plants that are native to the area and drought-resistant.
5. Consult with native plant experts such as those at Chesapeake Native Nursery or the Maryland Master Gardener Program (410-222-6757) to choose appropriate varieties of flowers, perennials, etc.
6. Consider planting ornamental grasses. 
7. Plan to plant bulbs in the fall: daffodils, tulips (?), perhaps tiger/day lilies....
8. Check with AA County about right-of-way along the street and filling in the “Hallmark Hole”.
9. Also check with BGE and Verizon re wires and their needs.
10. Are there any restrictions due to this being a Chesapeake Bay drainage area?


Comments welcome. You can click the Comments link below or send them directly to our HWPOA president. Or both!

John L.

* –– If the community doesn't insist on implementing Proposal 1. (above) or something like it, we will probably get the old board-of-directors's plan which calls for the destruction of all the existing plantings at the entrance.  As the low-bid contractor stated in his proposal, he will: "Remove all plants from existing beds. Move sign closer to road. Construct two rock columns adjacent to sign....."