LARGE overgrown garden... what and when and how?
I saw a few posts similar to mine... bought a house, it belonged to a little old lady who loved to garden until her health wouldn't let her, it's run wild for about 5 years. Lots and lots of garden. It was all either a.) completely overgrown with weeds and the hardier flowers, or b.) completely overgrown with English Ivy 3 inches thick.
Most of them, I can manage given enough time and labor, it's just a matter of thinning and moving things. I'm a garden newbie (I'd say my thumb is yellow, on the green to black scale) and the parts I have cleared this year bounced back nicely. Her preference for flowers seemed to be hardy, spreads like a champion, and attracts hummingbirds. Bonus points if it's purple.
The back yard is the problem. I have drawn a map, green I have gotten up to snuff, yellow is waiting. I have hill, about 10 feet deep, that runs the property line on the back. At the top are some trees for a natural fence (which they mangled right before they put the house on the market) overrun by ivy. I'll put pics in another post, since I seem to be able to only add one right now.
We needed to see what was there, so we let it grow this summer. It made a nice little jungle for the dogs, but it's a LOT of real estate to just let go. There's a lot of pretty virulent stuff in there, there's not even a hint as to what the original design was. I'm also not sure I have the time to maintain that much garden even if I get it back. We're talking about getting rid of everything but the fence, and getting it back to grass. I have to assume the roots are ferocious though.
It's a big garden to smother. Do we have to weed whack, and mow, first? Will doing it in sections work, or will things just creep back over since the garden is so large? Should I do it in the fall, or the spring? I have seriously considered the "kill it with fire" approach. Any thoughts on garden vs. lawn? A well maintained garden would be pretty but she supposedly spent 8 hours a day maintaining everything in the yard, and I... will not be retiring for a while.