Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Succulent Housekeeping

The majority of succulents here live in pots- those that are planted out in the garden are sedums and semperviviums , both of which tolerate the winter nightime temps in the 20's and seem to get along with frequent rain,  wet soil and occasional standing water. The containers are arranged under a poor-mans pergola affair sporting a mature Rosa banksia lutea which, in spite of her gargantuan size requireing draconian pruning twice a year, is treasured for the nicely dappled shade on the west exposure of the house.  There are lots of flowers on Lady Banks, and those flowers have many little tiny petals. The petals fade and fall and come to rest in the myriad crevices furnished by Agaves, Echeverias and Senecios among others. This starts to look pretty crappy along about April. Sticking my hand into Agave 'Blue Glow' to pick out banksia  debris is downright hazardous-I get enough wounds during rose pruning season. So, once Lady Banks has exhausted herself I perform the annual succulent vacuum, courtesy of my trusty mini Shop Vac. I try not to use power equipment in my small garden. I have a push mower for the tiny bit of lawn that remains solely for the pleasure of the feline gardeners. I have an electric weed-eater that I use a couple times a year on said lawn, and a geriatric electric blower hanging in the rafters of the garage that hasn't been plugged in since sometime in the 90's. I've become exceedingly grumpy about the  constant noise of gasoline powered machines over the weekends in my neighborhood .I blogged about it briefly way back here. Some even have the gaul to mow, blow, and hedge trim at cocktail hour..c'mon, who wants to stroll around the garden with a nice glass of Chardonnay or a gin and tonic on a summer evening and listen to that ? Ok, back on topic. I allow myself this annual shop-vac fest in the interest of puncture wound prevention and the all important succulent ambiance.











..after the beauty treatment ..Don't they look all spiffed up ?



Uh oh, I missed a spot.

10 comments:

  1. I think this makes perfect sense, and I share your aversion to power tools and the noise. A broom, reel mower, half moon edger all wonderful and also provide a little exercise to boot. But nothing beats a little vacuum when needed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Half-moon edger..now there is something I could really use--one of those tools that seems to be off the radar ! Sometimes a gardener just needs to buy something that isn't a plant.

      Delete
  2. Sometimes you have to drag in the big guns :). I'm on the verge of buying a small power washer to clean the fouintains (a tedious task with wire brushes) and an electric leaf blower to get debris out of my river rock and gravel areas. Maybe I should try the shop vac first. I figured it would suck up the rocks too but maybe not.

    On Sunday when we were enjoying drinks and dessert on Monique and Les's deck the neighbors on both sides were mowing with riding mowers. It was really obnoxious. I believe war has now been declared...lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue you should also look into a product called Fountec which is a fountain algecide that is organic/chlorine free. There is a company called Worx that makes a cordless battery operated blower too.

      One of those neighbor dudes of Les an Moniques was mowing when we were there last August too ! At least the lawns are dinky in my neighborhood..

      Delete
  3. Oh, I'm so bringing in the big guns/power vac when the jacarandas are done at the end of June. I'm starting to believe that's how I killed an agave off -- by constantly trying to spray blossoms away. No more water this time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't dare use water here Denise, I've had way to many waterlog deaths over the winter..

      Delete
  4. A very clever solution to the problem of cleaning the faded flowers from your succulents. I'd have a hard time leaving it until all the flowers were done and would probably do that chore weekly... I'm a bit of an ocd girl after all,.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The neighbors in the back have their mow/blow guy blow off all the bare ground, the lawn, every square inch on Monday afternoons. He's at it for an hour. Not only the noise, the hydrocarbon stench. Then the neighbors blast Rush Limbaugh. I hate Monday afternoons.

    I use a cup of 30% (industrial strength) hydrogen peroxide every couple of weeks to keep my fountain clean and crystal clear. It breaks down into water and oxygen, about as environmentally friendly as one can get...

    ReplyDelete