Sneaking in some cleanup

The weather the last few days has been unseasonably warm, and with a temperature around 65ºF and a line of storms moving into the area, I thought I should do something about this mess behind the house:

I waited until March to clean up back here last year and wrote that I didn't know why I waited so long as this is the part of my yard I look at the most during the winter. So this year I wanted to get it presentable much earlier.


You may be asking why I didn't just clean it up before winter. That's not really practical, as there would be leaves blowing back here until late November probably, and I'm not a "let's clean up the same part of the yard multiple times" type of gardener.

But why didn't I move all of the pots out of the way? Honestly, there was just too much to do getting all of the bamboos protected for the winter, and moving the tropicals into the garage. That early cold spell we had really rearranged my end-of-season schedule. So I left a lot of non-critical tasks for "later", and it's finally later. Without this warm weather, "later" probably would have been March again.

I do wonder why I kept a lot of this stuff, like this broken clay pot:

Oh, yeah -- I want to use it on its side in one of the planting beds and have a plant spilling out of it:

I've seen that done in a magazine article (or was it a TV show?) and it's a great way to re-purpose an otherwise useless pot. So I'll keep the broken pot, but move it and the rest of the empty pots somewhere less conspicuous.

With all of the pots out of the way I'll just rake up all of the debris. It's pretty thick:

What a disgrace! I've gotten used to it this way, walking over it daily. I didn't realize how bad it was until I did my post about 2006 and saw how nice it looked when it was new.

The mess rakes up pretty easily even though it's sopping wet:

I threw some dead annuals and potting soil on this pile too. An old beat up snow shovel I recently found when cleaning the garage is perfect for scooping this into a trashcan so I can carry it back to the compost pile.

So all raked up, but still not looking as nice as it should:

I'm going to have to get out the hose to wash these stones down. I don't like using water to sweep up, but with everything so wet already I don't have much choice. It's weird being able to do this at this time of year too. So a little blast of water and it looks a whole lot better:

Now on to the other mess over here:

There are a lot of leaves back in the corner, and the bird feeder always gets a nice carpet of compost under it after a few months:

I'll actually use my spade on this stuff, as it's almost like soil. After a couple of trashcan loads and a wash-down with the hose, this area is clean too:

Nice! Getting this chore done makes me feel a lot better, and getting it done before winter is even half over makes me feel even better. Thank you warm weather!

Note: the storm system that came through an hour after I finished this was a nasty one, spawning several tornadoes in the area. It's also going to get down into the mid-20's F tonight -- so our little taste of spring is over. (Remember that I usually write these posts in the evening, and post them in the morning.)

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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (January 1, 2011 at 12:42 PM)  

Great job! If you ever run out of things to do, you're welcome here any time :-).

anne  – (January 1, 2011 at 4:03 PM)  

I wrote yesterday in my blog about the warmer temperatures too but we didn't have a heatwave at 65 like you! I like those unexpected warm days where I can take care of yard cleanup like raking or cutting down certain perennials. I usually clean up gradually so it's not so overwhelming. Tomorrow will be in the 40's (warm for here) so I'm going to pick up the branches that blew onto the snow and stack it on the kindling pile (before the football game at 1)

Alan  – (January 1, 2011 at 4:20 PM)  

Gradual is the best way to clean up and get ready for spring I think. Trying to do it all in a weekend or two when it starts warming up is just too much.

Today I was actually eyeing the dead annual vines that I still haven't pulled down, but then I went outside -- 25ºF is not exactly "clean up the garden" weather, at least for me.

anne  – (January 1, 2011 at 4:53 PM)  

I couldn't agree more - 25F is more like get some hot chocolate and enjoy the scenery from inside kind of weather!

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