Posts Tagged ‘raking leaves’

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First Gardening Tasks of 2012

January 4, 2012

It’s time to take off the party hats and toss the noise blowers and streamers, and focus on the garden. If I heed my own suggestions, and follow through with the plans below, come springtime it will be party time again–outdoors in sunshine. Here’s what I hope to accomplish this month.

Outdoors:  Now that the ancient oak tree in the perennial garden is naked, I will rake the leafy garments from beneath its giant canopy. The leaves will go in the chicken pasture for mulch and weed control. I experimented with this last year and there were fewer weeds, by half.

Edging my back lawn is a row of thirty-year-old eucalyptus trees, infected with redgum lerp psyllid (Glycaspis brimblecombei). With the exception of white bead-like dots (Hemispherical caps or ‘lerps’ housing nymphs) on the foliage and scattered about the lawn like hail during spring and summer, the trees remain healthy. However, eucalyptus trees are messy, especially during a storm when leaves and branches fly across the yard for ‘you-know-who’ to gather. My husband and I are tired of the clean up and the white chickenpox foliage and grasses so we will be removing most of eucalypti.

Once removed, instead of hauling off debris throughout the year and viewing a wall of westerly trees, we will have less work, more time, and a stunning vista of rolling hills and raging sunsets.

Indoors:  I plan to review last spring’s notes of tasty, prolific, and trouble-free vegetable varieties over unsuccessful ones, mapping out a crop design, as it’s time to rotate them. I’ll sort through seed packets for planting and expiration dates, earmark seed catalogs, and read my January tasks for jobs that I may have forgotten. I’m always forgetting something. If it’s rainy or all my work is complete, I’ll read The Backyard Beekeepers or attend a local event or workshop. If I heed my own suggestions and don’t hibernate like a bear, January will be a busy but productive month.

What do you plan to do first this year in the garden, anything new?

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Overrun with Autumn Leaves

October 5, 2010

Silver maple leaves litter my driveway with golden hues and playful piles, a pretty sight this time of year. The leaves in the perennial garden aren’t as appealing. Brown, dull oak and yellow locust leaves are caught in every inch of every shrub, vine, groundcover, annual, and the soil.

The trees are undressing faster than I have time to gather their discarded clothing. Until last weekend, my rake hadn’t slipped across the beds in weeks. The landscape (and my life) felt unmanageable. I couldn’t stand the unkempt grounds any longer. Another week and the garden would be such a mess a crew would have to be hired. That’s not in my budget. Therefore, I shifted priorities and spent some time in the garden. First on the agenda was the entrance. 

It’s been several years since I first bought my first flat of Chrysanthemums (paludosum) for cool season color. Every year since, when summer’s heat skyrockets, the chrysanthemums dry up and spill seeds like sugar. Then when fall returns the seeds germinate between the flagstones. Once they reach transplanting size, I relocate them. This year there was enough to fill the beds edging the entrance and three areas in the garden. FREE seasonal flowers. I call that nature’s blessings.

Second on the garden agenda, were the leaves, millions-and-millions of leaves. The job of raking (and some trimming) turned into a two-day effort. Fortunately, my husband helped with the bagging. He’s amazing. Then, at the end of the day, wind dispensed its humor across the grounds. Soft laughter blew through the branches and tilting shadows as millions-and-millions of leaves fluttered downward onto my clean garden floor.

The landscape still feels unmanageable. But I feel better for the effort.

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