When we bought the 1/3 acre adjoining our house, the man who owned it (a building contractor) had stored a bunch of his leftover stuff out there. Buckets, hoses, boards with rusting nails, pipes, all covered by a thick carpet of ivy that was climbing high up the tree trunks and choking the smaller trees. The kids couldn't play out there, it was too dangerous, and anyways you couldn't really run around without getting tangled up in the ivy. Every year I dreaded the winter season when the leaves would retreat from trees and bushes, slowly revealing all of the junk on the ground out there (normally from our windows, you see nothing but a view of glorious green), and the view of the junkyard would stay until spring's leaves covered it back up again.
Last year, my husband took on the herculean task of removing all of the garbage. Gigantic piles of stuff were hauled away, and he cut the ivy down from the trees. I pulled a lot of it out by hand (until, despite precautions, I got my annual case of Horrifyingly Awful Poison Oak), and this year of course we raked leaves over as much as we could.
This spring, a transformation is taking place. Wildflowers are popping up everywhere. Fawn lillies (Erythronium) are covering the ground, and we even have two trillium! Since trillium seeds can take seven years to germinate, making them hard to get going on your own, this is pretty exciting. Down by the creek, whole phalanxes of camas bulbs are sprouting, and I'm excited to see what turns up next on our little bit of forest that is coming back to life.