I asked Marty to drill drainage holes in this metal cart yesterday. Without drainage it was fairly useless, accumulating water and leaves and making a slimy brew of them all winter. When I returned home late in the afternoon, Marty was gone, the drainage holes had been drilled, and I was in a mood to tear into something. So I spent the next four hours or so ignoring phone calls, moving tables and chairs, transferring pots to the metal cart, repotting where needed, sweeping and raking until it was too dark to work.
This narrow eastern side of the house has always been problematic. Mostly hardscape, all awkward angles and fences, yet it’s by far the largest, friendliest space for people — if only I didn’t collect so damned many potted plants. And as it is the summer hangout, I need to be careful about cluttering it up. With spring around the corner, and knowing my weakness for pretty new plants, now is the time for a clean sweep and regaining some control.
About all that hardscape. Tempted as I am to hide that fence with plants, the space is really too narrow and too root-infested from the neighbor’s plantings. And I have to admit, with the rest of the garden so densely planted, this open area does provide some breathing room. The bricks are laid on sand up to the tree, where beyond is a patio of stained concrete. The leaded glass salvage windows are part of the dutch gate and fencing leading to the front garden. I’m hoping to replace everything soon with expanded-metal panels. Anything but wood again.
All winter-long I continually sweep the leaf litter into that little square surrounding the trunk of the Chinese fringe tree, then in spring I use most of the leaves for mulch elsewhere. The pile was twice as high up the trunk yesterday. Thankfully, the tree seems to have finally dropped its last leaf, another reason to take on a spring cleanup. This little square of leaf mulch is also a prime grub-digging spot for raccoons and possums, and they’re welcome to it. (At one time I actually contemplated planting under the fringe tree — see here.)
New spring rules: all small potted plants on the eastern patio must fit on the metal cart with wheels.
Now I feel ready to tackle those mail-ordered plants which should be arriving any day…