African Garden + time

"Indian Summer"

I got nothing done over the weekend, it was so cold and dreary. Yesterday and today, it's Indian Summer, so leaf pickup resumes, as do other end of the year garden chores.

My tool of choice for leaf pickup is a leaf vac, as I prefer to combine the picking up and shredding of leaves in one step. Yes, its noisy and uses electricity, but the alternative is running them over with the mower, which is also noisy, and it uses gasoline. I would rather not shred the leaves at all, but Cottonwood and Norway Maple leaves are thick and mat down if not shredded. I use some of the leaves as winter mulch, but most are destined for the leaf mold pile, a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Sorry, I got a bit carried away there, but I do love leaf mold. It is so much easier to make than compost. No need for turning or adding soil, no weed seed worries, no icky smells, no ants, no hornets, no squirrel raids (except in the Fall when they steal leaves for their nests), just shredded leaves and time result in dark crumbly goodness for soil and plants. The only concern is with invading tree roots, so I've placed the bin on top of heavy plastic, and I must check it occasionally to ensure that there is no invasion.

I finally brought in the cacti. I must confess that I am not a houseplant person. It's not that I don't like houseplants, it's just that I have an uncanny knack for killing them. Among others, I've killed Orchids, florist's Cyclamen, African Violets, and even Aloe. The only houseplants I have now are one sad Spiderplant from a big box store that hangs out (literally) in the kitchen, and two Cacti. I don't know what they are and I didn't buy them, as I don't like spiny plants. I have them because they were the first present my husband gave me. Before we started dating, he brought back from Palm Springs a dish of three baby Cacti for me. Yes, I killed one of them. I think it died because I pulled off the phony pink flower that was glued to the top of it. That was 13 years ago. I still marvel that I've managed to keep these two alive this long. They have been repotted twice, which helps, but I think the secret to their longevity is that they are houseplants for only half the year. The Cacti spend Spring through Fall outside on the front porch. Admittedly, they are not the most beautiful specimens, especially after they got sprayed with black fabric paint (thanks to my son). They've also repeatedly been knocked over and out of their pots. So, the fact that they are still alive is quite amazing.

Another task tackled is getting the terracotta pot put away. I leave all my other containers out for the winter, some with plants, some without. I don't like terracotta because it has to go inside, otherwise it cracks in the freezing weather. I made an exception for this shell planter.

I just couldn't resist it. So out came the Sedum/Hylotelephium Matrona and the Hens and Chicks thing (I don't know what it is), and into the ground and another planter.

The tasks are getting done. I just hope I can get all the leaves off the lawn before the first snow. The Maple and the Yellowwood are late in turning this year.

art, Cacti, garden, good, house, Indian Summer, Leaf mold, love, plant, plants, Spring, store, summer, and more:

"Indian Summer" + time