It was a good weekend. I got a lot of things accomplished. And not just things, but relatively big things. I got nearly everything on my to-do list accomplished, which is quite a rarity for me!
You may remember from yesterday’s exciting episode that I spent a good part of the day Saturday in the yard getting them spruced up for spring. Unfortunately, I did not get everything done yesterday, so I had to get back out there again this morning. Today’s tasks were not nearly as daunting as yesterday. I just had to rake and mow the side yard, which is really just a narrow strip that separates my house from the neighbor’s fence. But it has grass and it accumulates leaves and so it must be dealt with, too. So I did. I added more full lawn bags to the growing collection out in the alleyway.
Then I turned my gaze to the neglected Canna lily bed.
It is more of a patch, really. Two or three of them were planted near the back alley about ten years ago to hide an unsightly gas meter. That is when I found out that Canna lilies are a lot like Tribbles. They multiply and spread with amazing speed. They are extremely aggressive and will even crowd out St. Augustine grass, which is amazing because St. Augustine grass is about as aggressive a plant as you could ever hope to meet. At the border where the Canna lily bed meets the St. Augustine grass it is like the Clash of the Titans (botanical edition). And now I have a “field” of Canna lilies that is about ten feet by 12 feet.
Since the Canna lilies grow so thick, they trap fallen leaves very efficiently. And because they are so thick, I can’t get in there to rake among them while they are alive. And when winter finally kills everything from the ground up on the Canna lilies, their territory becomes a thick mat of leaves from nearby trees, Canna lily stalks, Canna lily leaves, and other assorted things that just sort of end up there (plastic bags, water bottles, bits of paper, etc.). But it is mostly organic matter.
So this morning I had about 120 square feet of a thick mat about 8 inches thick. It is not a simple matter to just rake the mat, because it is truly a mat. The Canna lily stalks, once dead, become as limp as ropes and as strong as soggy steel, and weave themselves into the mat insidiously. If you try to rake them, they just become entwined around the tines of the rake (even a garden rake), and the rake just become mired in the mat. So first I have to get out a stout pair of garden sheers and whack up every piece of stalk that I see. Then I have to rake a little more so I can find more stalks. Whack. Rake. Whack. Rake. Bag. Repeat until passed out from exhaustion.
So, between mowing/de-thatching the side yard and clearing out the Canna lily field, I added many more bags to my collection of yard waste. There were 25 bags to be precise, which is a new personal best for me! My previous record was 19 in a single weekend.
I might add that these bags are stuffed to the gills with highly compacted (and dense) organic material. That is to say, they’re quite heavy when full! So moving these things around as I filled them and then lugging them to the alleyway when they were full was quite a chore in itself.
But now the yards are done and I can turn my attentions to more routine yard tasks every week (mowing, edging, etc.)
Also, as an aside, Nature does not like it when one attempts to bring order from chaos, as I attempted to do with my yards this weekend. In the space of less than 24 hours after I’d raked and mowed my yards yesterday, Mother Nature literally blanketed the whole of my back yard with oak tree blossoms. Yes, oak trees have flowers. Or, more accurately, they have what are called catkins, or aments. These are the male portions of the flower (oak trees are monoecious, meaning they have both male and female flowers). But it is the catkins that fall with such abandon. They look like brown snowdrifts sometimes.
Here is a picture I took of a clump of them on my patio. This clump appeared literally overnight. And you can’t see it from this picture, but my entire backyard is now literally covered in these things.
Well, it is getting late and I have bored you enough for one post.
I feel I have had a very good weekend, because I got to work the word “catkin” into a post.