Will work for mulch

Back in the day when I was younger and fresher I used to do yard cleanups and odd jobs on the side for a little extra spending money.  It doesn’t make much sense, but I still hold on to a job or two,  ask myself why, and then drag myself out on a damp morning for a day of hard labor.  Long hours working in someone else’s garden gives you plenty of time to think, and the conclusion I’ve come to is that I do it for the mulch.  I don’t get nearly enough chopped leaves around here and my thin topsoil greedily eats up every leaf I dump on or turn into it.

garden put to bed for the winter

Colchicum and vegetable beds tucked in nicely under a layer of whatever the mower sucked up off the lawn. Pity the poor seed grown chrysanthemum which spent all summer waiting to be transplanted out of its tiny pot. Amazing it lived, let alone bloomed.

I do the cleanup and take home a couple bags of weeds for compost and chopped leaves for mulch.  It’s not easy coming to terms with the idea I’m a mulch whore but when I’m home and showered and looking at my haul I feel a little less cheap.

chopped leaves lawnmower

A bonanza of chopped leaves for the garden. If I had more I’d start a leaf mould pile, instead I use them all up as garden mulch.

I snuck into my brother in law’s yard last weekend and mowed up his back yard.  It was only fair since most of his leaves are off the trees which suck the life out of the North side of my yard.  I don’t think he even noticed, and the daffodil beds thank him.  My fingers are also crossed for the neighbor across the street and the chance that he dumps his mower bags out in the woods rather than into unmarked trash bags.  That would be quite the haul 🙂

dahlia tanjoh

The last of the dahlias still dodging winter. The plants look more than ready to give up but the blooms are still coming.

We have a freeze coming this weekend which should finish off the last of the tender plants.  Normally October 10th is what I think of as our first frost date, so sneaking through into the first of November is a treat, even though most of the annuals seem more than ready to give up.

red leaved castor bean seedheads

The formerly lush red leaved castor bean is all ripening seedheads now. Take a little care when handling these, they’re the source of the poison ricin.

I’m ready to do the final cleanup.  After a freeze the dahlias and cannas will be dug and the roots thrown into the garage.  Then with the exception of late bulb sales I’ll be taking a bit of a rest for the holidays.  Time for bird feeding and snow watching 🙂

late season self sown chrysanthemum

One of my last bloomers of the season, this selfsown chrysanthemum looks nice paired with the red of yet another dogwood seedling and the yellow of fall hosta leaves.

So I think this season is just about a wrap!  Bulb planting counts as work for next season -which makes cutting back and removing the frozen annuals the last chore of the 2014 season.  Most people look forward to a winter rest, but not me.  I’m already antsy for late winter’s cyclamen and snowdrops!!