No Room In The Bin


Even dried up, the flower stem of Aloe marlothii is decidedly bold. 

Bold I am not.  This is well known.  However I boldly had my Occasional Cleanup Guy remove three large clumps of Aloes from the front slope.  
Before:
 During
 More during:
After:
The lone bedraggled aloe surrounded by empty soil is cremnophytic Aloe hardyi, recovering from having been overwhelmed by Agave marmorata for several years.  I'll move it so it can hang over a wall, like Aloe pseudorubroviolacea does.  "Cremnophytic" means "cliff dwelling".  

Why remove the lavishly blooming clumps, especially 'Cynthia Gitty', so beloved by hummers?  I can't explain it any better than:  solitary rosettes are orderly and elegant.  Clustering, spreading rosettes, both Aloe and Agave, are visually chaotic as well as spacially aggressive--their offsetting had become a march to take over the slope.

So...there are several tree aloes in pots that could occupy a place on the slope:  A. vaombe, rupestris, africana, sabaea.  There are plenty of solitary orderly elegant 'Blue Glow's waiting for a  forever spot, and several Agave ovatifolia (also solitary, orderly, and elegant) as well.  
Sort of like this?
 When I first started planting Aloes and Agaves on the front slope, I feared there would never be enough of them to fill it up.  Wrong!  Enough to fill the slope, and enough to fill each green waste bin several times over.  

Since we've finally gotten some June-Gloom weather, I've been gardening nearly all day long, hoping to catch up before the heat arrives.   Sprawling Nepeta tuberosa, going summer-dormant, got cut to the ground.
No room in the bin for a couple of weeks:
 I also trimmed this side of the neighbor's hedge.  The clippings I left where they fell, where they can dry out for a week at least.  

No room in the bin:
Beauty shots to make up for the sight of the Aloe slaughter.  
'Lady Emma Hamilton'
This area this moment almost makes me think I know what I'm doing, garden wise.  It's taken so long. 
But then I look at the front slope.  Not there yet.  

Humming along
 Wasn't expecting any Iris rebloom.
 Six of 'Twilight Zone'
 Four of 'Victorian Lace'
 Trachelium open
 'The Ambridge Rose'
 That bold gold day lily again
'Munstead Wood', 'Love and Wishes'

 Salvia 'Love and Wishes'
 'Golden Celebration'
 Protea 'Sylvia' bud with blurred Leonotis background
 I'm composting as much garden waste as possible, and sheet-mulching too, in out-of-the-way areas.  The hedge trimmings will become sheet mulch on top of the layer of dried up sweet pea plants from this winter, which is the layer over the Salvia leucantha layer of last fall, now nearly vanished back into the earth. 

 Part of avoiding succulents that offset too generously is reducing green waste that ends up in the landfill and eventually becomes methane.  I'm working boldly towards a fully no-waste garden. 
Update:  helpful comment from Sue reminded me that putting out free plants for neighbors is a great thing to do.  I have done it in the past, but back in late March when I had other extra plants, I hesitated and decided against it because of the whole Covid-19 situation--would the virus spread from people handling plants?  It seems less likely now, so I tidied up some rosettes and put them out. Thanks, Sue!

Comments

  1. I agree with you on clumps of aloes or agaves eventually becoming unattractive. I love your idea of using taller aloes and solitary agaves. The result will be spectacular in a few years.

    I removed the dried flower stalks from a few aloes this morning, and they looked so cool I decided to save them for use as decoration.

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    1. The marlothii look like giant antlers, don't they? I thought of Hela (Cate Blanchett) in the last Thor movie. I have a couple of ferox stems in vases on my mantle. They last for years.

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  2. You might consider putting the nicer rosettes out at the end of the driveway with a "free" sign to get rid of some of the plants you are planning on disposing of. I always have plenty of takers when I do it, and I like the idea that perfectly fine plants get re-homed.

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    1. I have done it in the past--you inspired me to put some out there this morning, and updated the post with a photo. Great reminder, thanks! :)

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  3. I agree with you on the value of solitary agaves and aloes over the clumping forms, although I have quite a few stealthy agave pups I need to deal with - 'Jaws', colorata and mediopicta 'Alba' have all thrown out pups some distance from the parent plant and often cleverly concealed under nearby foliage. They're not exactly clumpers but I have to stay on top of them nonetheless. I've thinking of putting them in small pots for another neighborhood giveaway. As always, your garden offers lots of positive distractions.

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    1. Dug out a couple of 'Jaws' recently myself.

      No wonder 'Blue Glow' is my favorite--offsets are extremely rare. Well, that, and beautiful.

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  4. Oh, I'm quite sure you know what you're doing. I have that challenge with entirely different plants than you do. I usually try to replant them in a different spot, but sometimes that doesn't work. I need to get involved in a plant swap. (Your roses--in particular, Lady Emma--are incredible!)

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    1. Plant swaps, another good idea. That's for the future when the whole Covid thing is past us (hopefully it becomes the past). I participated in one last year and got rid of a lot, and happily brought no plants home.

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  5. Enjoyed reading the post, and smitten by the little humming bird.

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    1. Thank you, happy you liked it.

      Not all the hummers are able to sit on the edge of the bird bath--the millimeter of moving water is enough to push them off. That one was strong enough,.

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  6. Definitely a bold move. Look forward to seeing the area after replanting. Curios about your green waste bins. Do they not compost all of this waste?

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    1. The state has mandated that all waste companies have to start composting all green waste, but it has not been fully implemented yet. That will vastly reduce the methane production of landfills. At the moment, the waste companies are still allowed to use the green waste as the top cover for the trash loads, which is what they are doing in my area. Green waste disposal is projected to cost a lot more in the near future because of compost system construction, so besides reducing throwing out green waste because of the methane issue, it will also save money.

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    2. Save money by not throwing out green waste, that is.

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  7. Our bins are constantly overflowing, even after requesting an additional one, and it is frustrating to get them filled early on (our pick-up is every 2 weeks - aarrgghh). I do wish I had a chipper/shredder but I have no idea where I could store it. What kind of hedge does your neighbor have? Do you keep it trimmed or is it a group effort?

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    1. One of my tricks is to let the trimmings dry out a while before binning them. You can fit a lot more into the bin, and it's lighter, too. However your area is a lot more rainy than here--it works best in hot dry summer weather, which we sometimes get year round.

      That hedge is Viburnum tinus 'Spring Bouquet'. The neighbor's mow-blow crew cuts their side and the top. I cut my side. I can't quite reach the very edge on my side to make a clean edge...not quite tall enough, sigh!

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    2. I've often wondered if there is a business opportunity in offering a shred-your-garden-waste-into-mulch-for-you service with a "real" shredder. I would certainly hire that done--no shredder to store, and one powerful enough to do a good job.

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  8. Sorry, there's no way I'm buying the idea that you don't know what you're doing! I often think about the amount of materials we've hauled onto this plot of land, from the gravel to the plants. Then I think about how much has left, each week in the yard waste bin, or when we had the guys take out the privet hedge and build the fence. I wonder which is more?

    Can't wait to see your new slope after you get it planted, and then of course updates along the way!

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    1. Probably more going out, because growth! Undoubtedly the case here.

      So much of the garden was accidental. I went around the garden causing accidents. And had one or two while I was at it.

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  9. I like the idea of accidental gardening mainly because this is mostly how I garden. ha... Your slope will look very neat and tidy when you are finished with it. That is one large hedge to have to trim. Can't imagine that much aloe in one place. Lucky neighbors getting some free starts.

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    1. Hopefully the changes to the slope will be an improvement. We'll see!

      I did get quite tired towards the end of that hedge. Still have to collect the clippings.

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  10. Sorry to see 'Cynthia Giddy' depart your garden too. Both aloes and agaves have solitary growers, but what solitary aloe has the flower power of CG in summer? I know roses generate a lot of waste at pruning time too so there's no getting around filling the bins, but I will say that thinning aloes is heavy work because of the weight of the rosettes. I think you've hit on a plan for the slope that will satisfy your aesthetic and waste concerns.

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    1. I've got a lone Giddy still, now sending up a flower stem, and saved/planted one other. I realize now its a matter of keeping the offsets in check. The rosettes are big and bulky and very heavy. They must have 5 gallons of water each in them.

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  11. A little bit I envy you opening up some new space to plant. Today I trimmed my succulent pelargonium. Wandering around optimistically with the bits I realised the leaves smell delicious. But I cannot find a sunny corner for them.

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    1. So much new space I'm taken aback.

      Any places a pot will work? Seems a shame to waste such a beautiful scent.

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  12. Your roses are amazing. I understand the impulse to tear out most of a dominating aggressive plant and give a space new character with different plants.

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    1. The 4"+ of rain we got in April did it for the roses.

      In retrospect I waited too long on the Aloes. Should have kept them in check. Now I know!

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