The Death Corner

We have a corner in our back yard that is extremely challenging, to put it mildly.   We’d love to get something green growing there.   We started off optimistically with strawberries.  They lasted half a season before dying.

We planted a poplar.   It died the second summer.  

We planted a walnut.  It died the first summer.  

We planted a pine.  It died the third summer.

We planted a corkscrew willow.  It died the second summer.

THIRTEEN years we have lived here, and every year or two, full of optimism, we sacrifice yet another tree to that awful corner.  I’m beginning to think that someone buried toxic waste in that corner. 

Maybe next we’ll try a nice statue. And watch it crumble to dust, no doubt.


“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads only to death.”

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  1. Maybe your neighbors are killing your plants in that corner. I think a statue is in order 😉

  2. Oh dear, maybe the people before you had a weed problem they were determined to solve, and ensure it would NEVER come back! 🙂

    Might I recommend a raised bed (maybe put down some landscaping tarp before you start building it to keep the two somewhat separated) or even a nice fountain? Both would be beautiful!

    Although a statue is definitely less work…..

    Ooooh, maybe a small basketball court? You could pave right over it! 🙂


  3. How about a fish pond?. You can buy those ready made kits or make your own from an old kids swimming pool or by digging a hole and lining it with plastic or a tarp. And you can make your own splash way too. We had one when I was a kid. Sooooo relaxing

  4. A statue sounds nice, or else you might need to do some serious soil emendment in that corner. A statue is definitely a lot less work. ;^) (Is it possible that you have an animal peeing or living in that corner??)

  5. My yard has the opposite problem – over the top crazy lushness. We cut the lawn and the next day the grass is up to our waists (I may be exaggerating slightly but NOT MUCH). We can barely walk through our yard thanks to the dense vegetation… we're considering paving the whole thing over. Ahhh… concrete.

  6. we have a spot like that, we like to call it our yard. Gotta love TX soil.
    Have you tried a mesquite tree? They grow here so they most grow anywhere,although I don't think anyone plants them on purpose.

    Good luck with the corner!

  7. how about a birdbath?

  8. That's truly bizarre. I think a statue or water feature or bird bath would be a better option.

  9. We have a death corner, too. The first year we tilled it over, ammended the soil, and tried to plant a few veggies. They died within weeks. Then we tried the next year to ammend soil and plant grass seed. Didn't work. Last summer, we brought in new dirt and sodded it. It still has completely dead patches!!

  10. Hi, this is Susanna. I've posted before. I just have a random question- I noticed your daughters have their hair braided African-style, and I was just wondering how you go about that? Do you take them to a salon or do you do it yourself? We may very well get a boy, so this may not be a problem for us, but we would just like to know how to handle the hair situation. My mom says that fixing the baby's hair will be my job!

  11. A statue or a fake plant would probably do the trick!

  12. You want to apologize to things as you plant them, don't you? We have a death back yard. We have lived in our house for seven years, have seeded twice, sodded twice, and and spent one whole summer with dirt –what a mess with the kids. Meanwhile the grass on the other sides of the fence in our neighbor's yards grows blissfully unaffected by the demons ours apparently wrestles. I am seriously considering mulching the whole yard… or paving it and painting it green…

  13. Well, I'm the plant murderer. Every plant that has come into this home has died. I can't even keep an aloe plant alive!!! I now only have fake plants in my house…sad, so sad.

  14. We had a black walnut tree in our yard and in the late spring/early summer it would give off this sort of orange dust. It would stain your shoes and we could never get grass or flowers to grow near it. We had the tree removed because of this and the fact that the squirrels were tearing up our yard trying to bury the walnuts for later feasting!! Maybe that is your culprit. I agree with Mel, birdbath with some pretty white pebble stones underneath and edge it off with some old railroad ties or prick pavers. Good luck and keep us updated on what you decide:))

  15. I just looked and my thumbs are brown…maybe yours are, too :). Where is your blog home? Here? or at Blogger? Where should I be reading you?

  16. ooooohh this space is sooooo nice!

    (too bad about the trees….I say as I continually am looking around at your new "home")


  17. Wow. Death of a Poplar. Those are supposed to survive it all. Have you looked into a Royal Paulowina? We want to plant one out of curiosity more than anything.
    The other thing is that someone years ago may have sprayed the area with Triox or something similar. This basically makes it impossible to grow anything. The gardner guy told me I would have to bring in a dump truck, remove the soil, and add new. REALLY strong stuff that never really goes away.

  18. how about a birdbath?