Moving On Or Back To The Hotpad

november-16-2008-c-022The post after Bloom Day is always a little bit of a let down. So much effort is put into getting the best photos of the best blooms shone in the best light, sometimes preparing the next story to follow those flowers is intimidating. november-16-2008-c-021Finding yet more gardening ideas to convey as we sail into late fall and busy holiday times can be taxing.november-16-2008-c-018Drama in the garden is harder to come by with fewer flowers. We might resort to significant foliage shots to keep the reader interested.november-16-2008-c-020Truthfulness requires the source of the previous shots be revealed. Between the garage outcropping and the main house in the front is the rock covered wall of the addition joining the two structures. It is protected from winds on three sides and is paved as part of the driveway, even though no cars can drive there due to the circular bed that juts out into the drive. It is a seldom used walkway from the garage side door to the front door of the house. Last year the three taller blue pots were placed here for their safety and some aesthetic appeal. Coleus reigned in the containers this spring and summer. Replacing the frosted annuals are three Camellia sasanqua ‘Cleopatra’ shrubs for evergreen winter beauty. They will be planted under the tall pines next spring. Violas were the underplanting and  Alaska nastursiums have hung on with zeal if not many blooms.november-16-2008-c-005Getting to the meat of the story we begin with the replies made to the kind and sweet comments of the bloom day post and others. “Oh, you are so lucky to live where there are flowers all year” the gentle readers write. Unblushingly we reply “Oh yes, our climate is wonderful. We have all four seasons and can grow a great diversity of plants, from tulips and lilacs to Salvia greggi and muhly grass.” The scene has been set. Today is cold and blustery but we have been away from physical activity for three days and need to get outside. Bundling ourselves up from head to toe we begin with leaf duty. Looking up at the multi trunk silver maple growing close to the house it seems the majority of leaves have fallen. We have blown and vacumned leaves from the deck and pathways twice before. One more go around should do it for the season. There will be strays from neighboring trees, but the bulk have fallen. Getting the electric extension cords untangled and plugged in we begin first by blowing into a big pile, then switching to the vacumn bag attachment. Several garbage cans are filled with lovely chopped leaves. It begins to snow.november-16-2008-c-006Our fingers are numb and a cold wind is blowing along with the so called leaf hog. The cold causes post nasal drip and there is no tissue to stop the flow.  The leaves are wet and get sucked up in wads to the canvas bag. These maple leaves are small and even whole will break down rapidly into the prized leaf mould. The choppings are placed strategically in needy beds on the slope and the veggie garden.  The Financier has continued the block wall down to the strawberry patch.  Maybe next year the wall can be completed but the strawberries will all have to be dug and replanted.  I’m not ready to do that just yet.november-16-2008-c-007Looking beyond the veggie bed is the decaying remains of ferngully. The compost bin was built last Mother’s Day by the Gardoctor and Financier as a gift. Except it was in the middle of the path, not at the end of the path, where it was intended, right where the overlap of landscape fabric is visible in this photo. Too heavy to move, say the mens. Its corners are six by six posts left over from the arbor construction. The back and sliding front boards are leftover treads from the deck redo. It has been long enough for some of the compost to be useable. Let’s remove it and have a look. You can see the good stuff piled to the right of the path.  And see if we can move the bin by ourselves since everyone else went to work today. We lift one corner and it rises up into the air! It can be rolled! Kind of. Over and over it goes, trying not to damage the leyland cypress growing along the right hand side and the hydrangeas and rhododendrons on the left. It takes a while but it is now sitting in the desired location. And we know it can be moved again if need be. But after the adrenalin surge of satisfying superhuman strength subsides, there are various aches and pains along my spine. november-16-2008-c-008Yes, the challenge was met today. The wet leaves were taken care of despite wintry conditions and the compost bin was moved with no cajoling of or complaining by others. And we do have a wonderful pile of gardener’s gold. Just look at it. It crumbles through gloved hands with the correct consistency. Worth without equal.november-14-2008-macro-101Fall is racing into history, but there are still some leaves showing brilliant colors, like the three seedling maples from neightbors Mae and Mickey. And looky here! Seeds!

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28 Responses to Moving On Or Back To The Hotpad

  1. Jan says:

    Looks like you two got a lot accomplished in one day. We don’t have the leaves yet, but we do have the pine needles. Unlike leaves they can stay on the grass and not damage it. We will be doing our first raking in about a week when I have time off from work for Thanksgiving. Love your big compost bin. I have two smaller ones that are always filled.

    Always Growing

    Hi Jan, thanks so much, but it was just me, not two of us, even if I had the strength of two in moving the compost bin! I usually say *we* when I really mean *me*! It is the royal we, you see! HA I love the pine needles too, but usually pick them up off of our small bit of lawn to use elsewhere. The paths at the far end of the property are lined with the needles since they fall on them anyway. I do love the size of that compost bin too.

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You busy little beaver. Doesn’t it feel good to get out there even in the cold of fall and get something accomplished in the garden?? I love to work in the garden when you have to keep busy to keep warm. I used to tell my kids they weren’t working hard enough if they were cold. tee hee… well, it worked for a few years.

    Hi Lisa, you are exactly spot on with the stay busy to keep warm mantra. One of the things that I like about working outside in winter is not getting too hot and sweating so, and no insects too. If I don’t get outside and do something fairly strenuous, my body gets stiff and moody. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Marnie says:

    I still have a lot of leaves to deal with. Was outside mowing over them on the Saturday with the snow drifting down all around me;) I compost most of mine onsite by mulching heavily now and letting them rot among the hostas, perrienals and on the veggie beds.

    Hi Marnie, it seems we garden bloggers are a pioneering bunch, not afraid of cold or snow to be outside working. I have done both ways, cleaning them up from the beds and mulching other needier beds with the chopped leaves and leave them in situ. I do have to remove them from the paths or there would be accidents! New this year we are leaving the standing spent perennial stalks AND the leaves. It is pretty out there. Thanks for visiting.

  4. linda says:

    Good morning Frances, I hope your superhuman efforts yesterday haven’t left you hobbled today!

    I helped unload a semi-full of Christmas trees at the nursery yesterday. My back was achy afterwords, and I was a little worried about how it’d feel today. Thankfully it’s fine now, but my arms. . . not so much! I think I’ll still manage another layer of shredded leaves and another load of compost today for the veggie bed anyway.

    Hi Linda, thanks for the well wishes. I am rarely ache free, so it is normal today after that work. Sounds like you are the same. We must keep active! HA My arms are for sure the weakest part of my anatomy, remember to use your legs! I am impressed with your durability. 🙂

  5. Gail says:

    Frances, Hello dear! So we both had leaves are on minds yesterday…we just handled then a bit differently! It was so beautiful and after 3 days of rain…the parks were calling us! The leaves are calling me today…they will stay on the beds but get raked from the paths onto the beds! I will mulch many to add to leave mulch pile. BTW, the violas are lovely and I think the camellia will be a good addition to the garden…I am thinking of creating a small area for some hardy gardenias I heard about. I would love to have that scent wafting about! Plus a little more evergreen would be nice….the acid soil is a problem! Gail

    Hi Gail, thanks for taking us on that walk this morning. I needed that stretching. I had a neighbor in Texas who grew the gardenia next to her house in a shady somewhat damp spot, the conditions they prefer, and that soil could not have been more alkaline. We had to add gypsum pellets to grow roses even. Have fun with the leaves.

  6. Dave says:

    You had a busy day outdoors! Even though it was cold I wish I could have been out working in the yard. We had our kitchen faucet break and needed to replace it. At least we can use the kitchen again!

    Hi Dave, that is too bad about your kitchen faucet, for many reasons! Hope you got a cool new one, they really make some attractive ones now. But they are sometimes pricey. I love to work outside in the cold weather, much better than cleaning the house. HA We don’t have to worry about sweating and insects. I love the cold cheeks but warm insides from good old physical labor.

  7. Frances, I could feel that cold right while you were working! You did accomplish so much. Your cobalt blue pots are beautiful!

    It was in the 20’s here this morning. Fortunately, our passive solar front porch has a nice toasty spot that is already 70 degrees! I keep a planter of coleus there beside the loveseat to see how long they’ll survive!

    Hi Cameron, thanks, it did feel good to get those leaves taken care of. How wonderful that porch sounds. Seventy degrees would be perfect, for plants and humans.

  8. Rose says:

    I always knew you were a Superwoman, Frances:) That’s my attitude, too–when Husband says it can’t be done, I try to do it myself anyway. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t done any raking yet; all your “gardener’s gold” makes me realize I had better get busy!
    Love those blue pots–that is my favorite accent color in the garden.

    Hi Rose, thanks for that vote of confidence. I use to be a lot more super than I am now. I just haven’t adjusted to the reality yet. What is it they say, only as old, or young, as you feel? Well you and I like a challenge anyway, don’t we? 🙂 Those leaves of yours will wait for you, and might even shivel up a bit to be less work. I love that blue color too, I used to collect cobalt glassware and have a nice collection though most of it is in the cupboard as I am into a more minimal look at the mo! HA

  9. tina says:

    I feel that post nasal drip too, but not from the cold, from a cold! Passed on from Mr. Fix-it. Sigh. You could show that stone wall and blue planters all day Frances and I’d love it.

    Hi Tina, I knew you were sick and hope you can get back to normal go go go soon. That sounds like more than a cold to lay you up like that. Have you gotten a flu shot? Semi is sick and after visiting her this weekend I immersed myself in hand sanitizer! So glad you like the blue planters. I think they are more showy in the front again the rocks too than in back with the other colored planters. Do you think I need to add more? HA

  10. Barbarapc says:

    All that work and a lovely long post too! That maple key is amazing.

    I Barbara, thanks. It was time to sit in the lazyboy for a while after all that work too. I would never have seen that maple seed without the camera in hand searching for things to capture. I am going to plant it in a pot.

  11. Meems says:

    Frances, I am chuckling all the way through this post. My friends sometimes ask me (off comment) why do you say “we” in your posts? They know it is “I” doing the gardening around here. But doesn’t it just sound better than a whole bunch of “I’s”? But like you… it is “I” who would do whatever I could to get that compost bin in the correct spot when no one was around just to silence the nay sayers. I do hope you haven’t strained your back.

    I do love the look of the naked tree you featurred but the leaves are a chore. The trade off being the black gold when they break down.

    Your bloom post does have some colorful blooms and the blue pots will brighten the landscape all year long!
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

    Hi Meems, thanks, I was wondering if I needed to go back and make it more explicit that it was just me working outside. You have nailed the reasoning behind moving the compost bin myself. The mens were not that happy at the thought of doing it, I have mentioned it to them before, so I just showed them. Now we’re all happy. The leaves are work to chop up but that is our only large tree and it gives cooling shade in the summer too. I do love having that leaf mould to spread about, it does wonders for our red clay.

  12. Meems says:

    featured… not featurred (ah, the fast fingers)… gee that comment was full of “I’s” 🙂

    Hi Meems, you and Gail are so funny. I didn’t even notice the typos. I am terrible about making them myself on comments especially, always racing along the keyboard and not rechecking before clicking the post key. I love your comment including all the *I*s. 🙂

  13. Gail says:

    Frances, I need to have my coffee before I comment! I can’t believe all the mistakes…oh well….I still love the photos of the sweet flowers and am inspired to deal with my compost!
    Have a lovely day in your very fair(e) garden…gail

    Hi Gail, it is sometimes a good idea to let the coffee kick in before attempting to type. I didn’t even notice the typos, the ideas came across loud and clear. That compost is such a treasure, I am like Midas with it.

  14. Phillip says:

    That’s what we were dealing with yesterday. Our entire driveway and lawn was covered in a thick blanket of them. Now everything is neat and clean. It gives us a great feeling of accomplishment and then I’m wondering how long it will be before the remaining leaves fall. I love those blue pots!

    Hi Phillip, thanks. I think it is best to handle the leaves in small batches rather than wait, not so time consuming then. It usually takes three batches to get ours out of the paths and decks. I actually enjoy it though, in spite of the weather. It is so satisfying after you are done. Don’t you think I might need another tall blue pot, or two? 🙂

  15. Randy says:

    Gosh I feel kind of guilty! It seems everyone was so busy doing things this weekend. It’s official! Time for me to get motivated again.

    Hi Randy, if you feel like you need to get out there and work, then it is officially time to do it! Tired but satisfied is a great feeling afterwards too.

  16. DP says:

    Those blue pots are something else. I love that one with all the little “arms” sticking out for more things to be planted in.

    Hi DP, thanks, I do love those pots. The one you mention is called a strawberry jar, for planting strawberries in the little arms. I have never done that, but might now since I have some strawberry plants!

  17. walk2write says:

    Love that picture of the maple seed hanging by a thread. It speaks volumes about how fragile our spines are. Take care of that back, Frances. I know what you mean about wanting to do things yourself and not raise a ruckus among the menfolk, but please be careful!

    Hi W2W, thanks. I love it too. The leaves in the background were just pure scarlet too. My back is fine today, I have a rice filled bag that I heat in the microwave that both warms me and helps any achey parts too. I do try and not do anything that would hurt me, I have already done that and it will never heal it seems. Thanks for your concern.

  18. gittan says:

    That’s what I was doing last week. Behind the garage we have a Walnut-tree and those leaves I have to remove. They wont break down in the compost and I can’t let them bee on the graas. So it’t just to grab the rake and then put them in sack and drive away with them to the local recyclestation. All the other leaves I use to run over with the lawn mower. Reading about how you moved the compost made me thing about when we moved our greenhouse. Some things just have to be done =)

    Hi Gittan, thanks for dropping by. I hope you are feeing better and do love your greenhouse! Those pesky walnut trees are a nuisance here also. The squirrels dig up the whole yard burying the nuts then trying to find them again later on. I have netting over the pond to keep them out of there also. We have many of those tree surrounding us and the squirrels keep planting even more!

  19. skeeter says:

    The first two pictures are wonderful! It is so difficult to sort out pics for a bloom blog when you snap so many like us. lol. Why does it take a woman to prove to a man that something can be moved? I think in my house it is more him not wanting to be bothered with such things. I can hear him now, if you wanted it there, then you should have said so when I made you the dang thing. Then I just calmly start to move it myself then guilt sets in and he helps me… Ah, the joys of marriage… tee hee… Have a good day and enjoy the mulch…

    Hi Skeeter, thanks. You are so right about those husbands. I was really surprised when I tried to lift the compost bin and it moved. Seems like I had tried that once before and it did not budge at all. Must have had the right angle or something. It was funny to see it plopping along the path. Once I got it moving there was not control at all and I just stood back and hoped it didn’t do too much damage to the shrubs. It didn’t, luckily. The Financier and Gardoctor had different ideas of where I wanted the bin to be, why didn’t they ask me to make sure. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that day that it was in the wrong spot but did mention that it would have to be moved later and you should have seen the look on their faces. Not good. But funny anyway. 🙂

  20. Jan says:

    I’m in Tennessee, too, Frances, but my gardening is not in the same league as yours. But your photos make me dream.

    Hi jan, so nice to see another Tennessean! Thanks for stopping by and welcome. I have been gardening in this location for eight years, but have been gardening for over thirty years. These things take time and lots of work, but we love it.

  21. I love your blue pots. In fact, I have one that looks exactly like the middle one.
    Your leaf-pickup adventures sound remarkably like my soil moving adventures this past weekend. I had winter gloves on under my work gloves, but my finger still got numb.

    Hi MMD, thanks. If you have that same blue pot then you know that it is the only one of the three that is plastic! A good buy on sale at Target. I could not resist the color and thought it looked real. Keeping fingers warm is the hardest part about working outside in the cold. I change gloves frequently then.

  22. Philip says:

    I love the blue glazed pots…and thar rock wall! That is like a textural sculpture.
    Your industry this weekend reminds me I have garden things to attend to!

    Hi Philip, thanks. The rock wall really adds to the front facade of the house. You might be interested to know that the middle pot is plastic, from Target. A good fake, wouldn’t you agree?

  23. Cinj says:

    Oh, I can feel the back pain from here. Or is that from me trying to put that exercise gym together by myself? I plan on building a compost bin from the left over shed siding, but I guess that project will have to wait until next spring.

    Those pots are gorgeous. I’d like to find a nice big strawberry pot like that. I’ve seen smaller ones, but that one looks nice and spacious.

    Hi Cinj, thanks so much for stopping by. Those put it together yourself things are awful. I do hope you can manage to figure it out, they make it tough. It is nice to have the larger size strawberry pot, the smaller ones dry out so fast it is hard to keep things alive. The side openings are like little pots too, not just slits so that helps with the moisture retention. Hang in there with the gym and other things going on with you. I have been sending the best thoughts your way.

  24. joey says:

    A beautiful, bittersweet tale you weave, dear Frances (we are hobbling a bit over here ourselves). You always leave us with a wonderful message … the seed … a sign of hope and another spring.

    Hi Joey, thanks for always leaving thoughtful and sweet comments. I do appreciate you.

  25. Lythrum says:

    I try to remember how lucky we are to have plants that grow year around here in the heat and humidity that is a Southern summer. I love the violas, they are beautiful. Some of my very favorite flowers, they are so cheerful.

    Hi Lythrum, thanks. We are very lucky to not have the severe winters of other regions. I think you are warmer still from the flowers you still have in bloom. Thanks for stopping by.

  26. Racquel says:

    Looks like you had a productive Sunday in the garden including muscling that compost bin into the appropriate spot. That’s a nice sized bin!

    Hi Racquel, thanks, it was a satisfying day to complete several needed tasks. I like the term muscling, although that assumes that I have some muscles, HA Those six by six posts are heavy! 🙂 Sounds like you got a lot done as well. Way to go.

  27. The bright blue pots look stunning in front of the rock wall, really love that stone wall.
    The satisfaction you feel when the big jobs are done is what keeps me motivated. That composted material will fuel the next round of growth.

    Hi Shade, thanks. We do love that wall too. And all the leftover stone has been used in back to build many rock walls on the slope too along with beefing up the pond. The cobalt color goes with everything. Don’t you think I might need a couple more of those tall pots? 🙂

  28. Philip says:

    I love that the middle one is plastic from Target!That is so awesome. These jars with their stong pigments remind me of the Jars at The Majorelle garden that once belonged to Yves St. leurant in Morocco. I have a series of succulents in pots on the front Porch. I am inspired by your blue pots to color my terra cotta ones with stong color such as this blue. Maybe a trip to Target!

    Hi Philip, thanks. When I was shopping with daughter Semi at that store, there was a row of pots on sale at the end of summer on a shelf near the toy section we always check out for her son. That blue one called my name and when I lifted it up and found it was plastic I screamed out “It’s plastic”! I love that swirl too. You cannot tell it is a different material from the other two. Hope it can take the freeze and thaw cycle that our winters offer. Those Jars sound heavenly and blue is very Moroccan. I have found the cheapo craft paint sold in squirt bottles works great on my concrete projects. I use lots of layers then seal it with water based polyurethane then. The succulents would look very elegant in blue. 🙂

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