Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Tell the Truth Tuesday (Late Edition)

Alison of Bonney Lassie recently encouraged fellow garden bloggers to let go of the pretty faces we tend to present to the world and share some of the uglier sides of our gardens.  Last week, I shared photos of my sad (and largely hidden) back slope.  This week, I have a collection of ugly little vignettes.  Two of these hit me in the face this weekend after the tree service finished its annual trimming exercise.

My half-dead mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) received a severe pruning (to be reviewed in a future post).  One of the results was to highlight the mass of messy foliage in front of the tree, all of which came with the garden.  It's a hodge-podge of Asparagus densiflorusErigeron karvinskianus, ivy and other weeds.  I've no illusions about getting rid of the Asparagus fern - that's virtually impossible.  However, I've already cut it back by more than half and I plan to reduce it further, with the understanding that this will be a perpetual exercise.

A stretch of Ceanothus hedge sits adjacent to the mimosa tree.  It's hard to grow anything but weeds in the area in front of it so I've placed potted succulents there.  When I moved the pots out of the way for the tree trimmers, I decided it was a good time to cut back the Ceanothus.  I got carried away and now you can see through the hedge down into the ugly back slope.  I'll try to clean up the twiggy mess I created before the pots are moved back into place and hope the Ceanothus forgives me by producing new growth.


The next vignette is the area behind our garage.  Many gardeners have dump zones for empty pots and the like and I'm no exception.

The area doesn't look too bad on the east end, which is dominated by my 265-gallon rain tank

The view on the east end isn't so good.  I should note that I've already cleaned this area up at least twice this year, reducing my empty plastic pot collection to a third of what it once was.  And much of what's here is my husband's mess.

Why we've held on to the tiki torches left behind by the prior owner, the remains of 2 screen doors replaced years ago, old hoses and the benderboard edging we took out when we removed our lawn I can't explain.  My husband says we can dump it all when the construction dumpsters are in place for our kitchen renovation but I'm arguing for getting rid of what we can in batches as part of our weekly trash pick-ups.


Two other sad sights sit at each end of the garage.

A friend gave me this topiary cat years ago.  She'd partially planted it and handed it off to me for completion.  I added some succulents but never finished it.  The moss has dried up and needs to be supplemented or replaced before I give it another go.  The poor thing has been just standing in this bed, waiting for attention.

Too big to move easily, this compost tumbler was also left behind by the prior owner.  I've used it but it doesn't really produce compost on an accelerated basis as suggested in sales ads.  Now it's disintegrating.  It'll probably go in the construction dumpster too.


Finally, here's the stump on the south side of my garden near the property line.  I tried to prettify it earlier by planting its open center but I've been thwarted by visiting raccoons.

Sick of the raccoons using the stump as their toilet, I planted it with a spiky Yucca and aloes but that hasn't deterred the raccoons.  Raccoon poop can carry disease so cleaning it isn't something I want to do on a regular basis.  I'm wondering if planting something really big in the stump's decaying center will work.  It's worth a try.


My new year's garden resolutions will include addressing each of these issues.  Stay tuned!

Do you have some ugly truths to share?  This meme is gaining traction with other bloggers and I encourage you to jump on the bandwagon - coming clean is good for the soul!


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. Love it! I'm a huge believer of showing both the good and the bad as well as talking about garden failures. Every garden has it's bad bits (or in my case, it's quite a lot more than a "bit"!) and I know it makes me feel better to know that I'm not alone in these gardening imperfections so I like to spread the "cheer" by doing the same for others ;)

    By the way I LOVE the stump planting...minus the raccoon poop! I have a stump in one of my veg areas that I simply use as a pot stand, but I may try to hollow out the center a bit (it's relatively new so nowhere near rotting yet) and give this a go with some succulents.

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    1. I had pots on that stump at one time too and, even though the raccoons couldn't poop in the decaying center of the stump (as they clearly prefer to do), they pooped around it so maybe there's no solution to this particular challenge but I'm going to continue to try!

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  2. Funny. There's always seems to be a mess somewhere. Thanks, I don't feel alone.

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  3. This makes me feel much better about my messes that are all over the garden. At least yours is organized and in one place.

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    1. Every garden has messes - some people just hide them better than others.

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  4. The topiary cat could definitely be a fun feature if you stuff it with new moss and can cover it with some of your great California succulents. I bet they would take easily. I just cleaned up an area of raccoon poop the other day, it's no fun. Does your husband have some woodworking chisels that he could use to hollow out the middle of the stump even more? Maybe you could fill it with soil and plant something big and prickly in it? Are Puyas hardy there? I still have at least one cardboard box from our move ten years ago that I haven't opened yet, out in my shed, so don't feel bad that you still have stuff from the previous owners.

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    1. I filled the stump with soil when I planted it earlier but, as with your experience in your gravel garden, it compacted all too quickly; however, maybe I can get my husband to enlarge the hole enough to wedge a large pot in there. The Yucca is prickly and I thought it would do the job but I think I need a much bigger plant. Maybe a vicious Opuntia. A Puya would work but I've never found a really large one locally and can only imagine what it would cost if I did.

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  5. You have my sympathy with that side yard of accumulated stuff. We are lucky to have access to the truck from Andrew's employer to make trips to the dump. And wow...that old composer looks like something from an early science fiction movie!

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    1. In theory, that tumbler is supposed to turn garden waste into compost gold within months but, even when I was diligent enough to turn it multiple times a week, that didn't happen. I'm hoping to set up at least a 2 bin conventional compost pile when this one goes into the dumpster.

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  6. IN our basement we have a stack of storm windows to put on our windows for winter. We've lived here for 25 years and never used them. But will my husband agree to get rid of them? Noooo. These areas are much more of a problem when two of you have to agree — esp. if only one of you has the muscles to do the job!

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    1. Exactly! I've been thinking of getting out a saw to try my hand at cutting that benderboard into garbage bin sized pieces but I've yet to get at it...

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  7. Those narrow spaces behind the garage do fill up, don't they? I just cleaned mine up and sorted the plastic pots but it's quickly falling into chaos again. I could join in for TTTT and show my ugly box hedges along the front sidewalk....on second thought, nevermind!

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    1. The local garden center used to take empty plastic pots but they don't do that any longer and even the local botanic garden's propagation group has expressed some pickiness about acceptable pots.

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  8. We have - blue shutters from the previous owners - being used to support storage across the rafters in the garage. OK. Ish.

    I don't have an out of sight space. Empty pots stored in the garage. The rest has to be ... tucked somewhere somehow not too offensive. I am battling with too many pots, and loathe to plant tiny bulbs, never to be seen again!

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    1. Too many clay and enamel pots is another problem for me, or at least it felt like a problem when I had to move 2/3rds of them to clear space for the tree trimmers to maneuver.

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  9. I love this 'honesty' meme - it is good for the soul! I call these areas 'works in progress.' ;) My spouse pressures me to reduce my pot collection, but as we keep buying new plants, it grows every season. I hate just throwing them away, preferring to recycle them but that requires a trip to a couple of nurseries that will accept them. That happens maybe once a year if I'm lucky.

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    1. Some of the plastic pots I've accumulated have codes allowing them to be included in the recycle bins picked up by our community's trash service and I always hang on to more than I need to possible reuse but there are still more that are hard to "re-home." Britain's Royal Statistical Society says 90.5% of all the plastic ever produced hasn't been recycled, which is frightening. I also read a blurb recently claiming that everyone who drinks bottled water is now consuming some amount of micro-plastics, which is even more frightening.

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  10. Well that compost tumbler looks to me like a very short iron lung. I wonder how old it is ? At least your behind the garage area stuff looks neatly arranged. I've got a beside the garage area which I'm sure I'll be sharing at some point.It always looks particularly bad in winter.

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    1. We've been here 8 years now, Kathy, but I've no idea if the man we bought our property from purchased the compost tumbler or if it was acquired by the owners prior to him. The interior has disintegrated even more badly than the exterior indicates.

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  11. We had new windows installed lately. We got rid of some old screens etc when they took away the old windows. They had been stored in the yard barn. Your space doesn't look too terrible. We all have a space of not too terrible I am sure. ha...

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    1. Good thinking on the screens. I've actually slowly cut away at the screens on those old screen doors behind the garage - I use it at the bottom of pots to hold the soil over the drainage hole. Recycling!

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    2. We used the remodel as an opportunity to get rid of some stuff via the contractor's dump truck (it was fine with him). Worked out well.

      Great meme, eh? Gardens all over the world are going to get a little more tidy.

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    3. My husband seems to think it'll be fine to piggyback on the contractor's demolition effort to get rid of some of our junk too. As I think we're paying the freight anyway, I assume they won't mind as long as we don't fill the bin up overnight.

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  12. I have a pile of pots in an unsightly corner too. And, although I periodically sort through them and return a bunch of them back to a couple of different nurseries, that pile never ever seem to actually shrink. Funny how that works, isn't it?

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    1. It'd be so easy if the plastic pot problem was a one-shot deal, wouldn't it?!

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