Sunday, November 23, 2014

Damn those leaves!

Don’t get me wrong, I love trees and I know that falling leaves come with the territory. But while I like autumn, I don’t enjoy dealing with this:

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The photos above and below were taken standing in our neighbor’s driveway, looking towards our house. So while technically these leaves are on her property, they’re just waiting for the wind to carry them onto ours.

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These large leaves come from our neighbor’s sycamore…

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…but there are plenty of other trees on our street that contribute. Our house is the first on our court, but it seems that everybody’s leaves always end up at our place. And we’re only halfway through the leaf season!

I don’t mind leaves gathering at the base of a tree, like the Bearss lime at the foot of our driveway…

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Bearss limes collecting at the base of the tree. Time to collect them!

…but I don’t want them to bury my succulents. That could lead to rot, and eventually the death of the plant. So while I’m behind on picking up the limes that have fallen from the tree (limes turn yellow when left on the tree, and eventually drop), I make a point of picking the leaves out of the crown of my succulents. It’s a Sisyphean task, but it gets me out into the yard.

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Agave sobria × Manfreda variegata

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Agave sobria × Manfreda variegata

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Yucca rostrata

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Yucca rostrata makes it hard to pick the leaves out of the crown

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Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’ with a fresh crop of California poppy seedlings

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Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’

I do enjoy the leaf-free look of my Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’. It’s perennially one of my top three agaves, but after a rain it looks even more radiant than usual.

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Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’

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Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’

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Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’

Some more succulents freshly liberated from the leaves that had settled on top of them:

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Aloe capitata var. quartziticola

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Aloe capitata var. quartziticola

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Aloe ‘Hellskloof Bells’, a hybrid between Aloe distans × Aloe pearsonii created by Brian Kemble, the curator of the Ruth Bancroft Garden. I can’t wait for mine to get large enough to flower.

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Aloe brevifolia

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Agave guiengola ‘Crème Brûlée’

Unfortunately, right after you’re done removing the leaves, new ones land in the same place.

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Agave colorata

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Aloe stricta

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Drosanthemum micans

This has nothing to do with the subject of this post, but in case you’ve been wondering how the blooming Agave desmettiana ‘Variegata’ next to the front door is doing, here’s a quick photo:

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Agave desmettiana ‘Variegata’

Progress has been slowed, or possibly even halted, by the cooler weather. I’m not sure if the flowers will open now or if they’ll wait until spring.

15 comments:

  1. That's a lot of leaves to deal so I fully understand your sentiments! Funny enough I was just thinking earlier whether to carry on removing some of the leaves on the crown or just wait awhile till most of the deciduous ones have fallen. Each crown has a saturation point of leaf litter. Although left too long it might encourage rot. Oh well, those long handled forceps are proving handy...

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    1. I have long-handled forceps and tweezers now. My wife and kids think I look ridiculous tweezering leaves out my succulents, LOL.

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  2. You don't compost? I'd be over at the neighbor's raking them all up.

    Your "Joe" looks gorgeous--you got rain?!?

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    1. Yard's too small for a compost pile. We have a drum but it can only hold so much (our own trees produce more than enough).

      Yep, we got some rain in the last few days, but not much. Maybe 1/4 inch in total.

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  3. I could have written "So while technically these leaves are on her property, they’re just waiting for the wind to carry them onto ours"...it's the story of my existence in the fall. The neighbors dogwood drops it's leaves for weeks and weeks and most of the leaves end up in my spiky plants where they will certainly cause rot if I let them stay. So I FEEL YOUR PAIN!

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    1. Only like-minded spiky plant addicts can understand our pain :-)

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  4. We're redoing our front yard to decrease water use, and my first inclination was to plant succulents, but I thought better of it. The ash trees to the north of us drop their leaves in November and December, and blow straight into our yard. Then our own Koelreuteria elegans drops it's leaves and pods all January. The thought of three solid months of painful picking leaves out of spiky innards is too much of a deterrent to doing what I'd love to do, have my own miniature Huntington gardens to cultivate. If I was younger, I'd do it anyway, but with age has come wisdom (and lack of energy, lol) Sue

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    1. Your front yard would be so perfect for succulents. Aloes and agaves would thrive. But I know what you mean about having to deal with leaves for three months out of the year. Aloes shouldn't be too bad. Their rosettes don't trap leaves the way some agaves do.

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  5. I'm not as diligent as you. Resigned to the litter, you might say. You get a big A for effort!

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    1. Let's put it this way: I always start out with great intentions. At some point I throw my hands up in the air and just accept things the way they are. But hopefully I will have kept the leaves at bay until that happens.

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  6. It's so strange seeing your garden all wet...

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    1. Strange for me too! And another storm front is about to come in.

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  7. Also, you should just hire a service that comes and runs a trio of leaf blowers for an hour or more, then thankfully puts them away... but fires up the somehow even louder vacuum on the truck to suck those things all up. I've lost track of the time but it seems like another hour of that at least. Horrible.

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    1. Don't get me started. It seems like everybody in our neighborhood has a yard service. The noise from the leaf blowers drives me nuts. But here they just blow them into the street, in loosely formed piles, for the city to pick up on Mondays.

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  8. As you know I don't have trees. But the neighbor's trees leave a god awful mess after it rains. This year Stan mowed them up. But I still have a lot to take out of the planters. Arg

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