Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom – Does Your Garden Need Decluttering?

Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom


It’s almost “second winter” here in Texas, where the weather is so hot, and typically so dry, that nothing grows any more. It just tries to hold on through the hot months.

Before that happens, it’s time to declutter the garden. Now I know that not all of you have a garden. Do you have potted plants (inside or out)? A front stoop or entry way? Any bit of lawn that you’re responsible for?

The first thing we’re going to do is assess. This is best done from the vantage point of the street or sidewalk looking back at your garden or entry way. Are there toys, tools, boxes, political signs from by-gone elections or other junk that either 1) doesn’t belong or 2) needs to be straightened? Take care of it! Your neighbors will thank you – silently, if not out loud. Sweep the sidewalk and the porch or stoop. That looks better already!

It’s amazing to me how much junk – real junk – people sometimes store in their yards and especially on the side of their houses. Take an honest assessment of your situation. At a very minimum, make sure than anything that’s stored in the side yard isn’t trapping water and giving mosquitoes a place to breed.

However, you’re not going to stop at the very minimum, are you? Next, take a good hard look at what’s stored in your yard. Are these things you need, want, and will use? Should you sell, donate, or trash some (all) of these items? Often yard stuff is bulky, so you might not be able to dispose of it easily. Make a plan on how you will eliminate unnecessary items. Perhaps you’ll need to make a list of what you have to dispose of so if your community has a bulky trash pick up, you’ll know what you need to pull out to the curb.

And let’s not neglect our plants, while we’re in the garden. They will all look fresher if you deadhead them and remove the brown leaves or stalks. In many places, this is not a good time to prune: you don’t want to encourage your plants to grow (by pruning) if you’re going into a dormant season but removing what’s spent won’t hurt. Mulch makes even potted plants looks fresher, and it help to keep precious moisture in.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something that comes to mind when you ask this question ~  At what point in my life did this fit/suit me?

Today’s Declutter Item

I can assure you this item never suited me but it kept me warm on the ski fields and that was all that mattered. I think one of my children bought me it as a gift so I suppose it fits two categories for this week’s mini missions. There is a young women I work with at the thrift store who is crazy about baseball who will simply love this. So off it goes to its new home where it will be greatly appreciated.

Red Sox Beanie

Something to be grateful for today

A little bit of sunshine and a little bit of rain. Both come in handy for survival.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. It snowed the past couple of days. I can’t wait to have good enough weather to plant a garden! We have a tree that is almost dead. There was one branch that was green and the rest wasn’t. I kept thinking of Miracle Max on the Princess Bride trying to revive Wesley. But, maybe I need to just face it and realize that the tree isn’t going to produce cherries again and that we should just cut it down. It is easier to get rid of non living material things than things that are living or nearly dead.

  2. Snowed. Well, hummm, I hardly know what to say. It’s going to be 93 degrees here today.

    No matter what the temp, a dead tree is a dead tree and unless you’re keeping it on purpose as a snag (the fancy name for a dead tree which will become an animal / insect / fungus habitat), it needs to go.

  3. No snow here–ever. Just warm, hot and HOTTEST. We have a veritable jungle here and we can’t keep up. We didn’t realize this when we moved here. Plus, two years in we suddenly “inherited” more from the neighbors. We have 6 fruit trees, Bougainvillea, jasmine, honeysuckle, two rosemary bushes, grape vines, a huge pineapple palm, 8 rose bushes, 5 Texas sage, and some cactus. In our weather things grow fast. Even in the hottest part of the summer. It’s not easy to keep up with it but we can’t get rid of it either. One thing we have done is keep anything else out of the area. No lawn ornaments or things like that. I’m working on Mom to get her to agree to getting rid of some things.

    • What a garden you must have. Wow! But that is a lot of upkeep. I thought you lived in dry Arizona. I must be mistaken.

      • We do live in dry Arizona. All of this was planted before we bought the place. They put in an irrigation system that works well. Maybe too well. I’d like to get rid of all but the fruit trees and the roses. We can keep on top of that.

        • The Other Lynn

          I’ll come get some of it, Deb! Jasmine, honeysuckle… we have a bare backyard, and I would love to get some pretty stuff growing in it! I planted some rose bushes this year from my grandmother, and hope they will make it through this summer. And we beat you, Cindy… 99 as I write! However, I’m like Lynn, below, but going to ask if you’ve been talking with my husband, who is after me to get rid of the stuff that accumulates back there. Guess I’ll work on that this weekend!

          • Hi The Other Lynn – I have just converted Farenheight to Celcius (this is the whole metric/emperial thing again) and that 99 degrees F works out to 37.2 degrees C here, I am in 11 degrees celcius which works out to 56.6 degrees in F. Yep you’re certainly got some heat going there.

          • Other Lynn, come get it. I’d love to give it away. We have some Lantana too.

  4. Cindy…that’s not fair! How did you read my mind?

    Our back porch is pretty generously sized for a condo. The weeds are pretty out of control and we’ve given up on those but we have a rusted grill, some old messed up toys and charcoal that got rained down on so many times it’s probably not good any more. It’s really time to get out there and clean it out AND my husband has said that if I can get out there, he would hang a clothesline for me.

    Sooo I guess I should do that soon. *sigh*

    • I must say, that sounds like a pretty quick project to me with a great reward at the end, so get it done Lynn!

      • Yeahhh it does, doesn’t it? Haha. I better do it before it gets hot here. (I don’t know if you remember, but I live in Houston.)

  5. We have the smallest of small gardens, but it really needs attention. I must corral the troops (aka husband) for a joint effort soon.

  6. We don’t have a garden, but oh, can I relate to the problems of getting rid of living plants. We have two big plants which would suit a balcony or garden – but unfortunately our current place has neither, so they sit in the kitchen and the living room. I don’t know anyone who wants them though. 🙁

  7. The gardens looking great Cindy. Mine certainly needs decluttering at the moment ,not of stuff, of weeds. The rain is back though and I am having enough trouble decluttering the vegetable scraps from the fridge to the compost pile because I can’t get out there without getting wet. Oh well, better that than drought.

  8. Well, we’re going into Winter here, had a frost this morning, and I am a fan of minimum maintenance gardens – mainly because I kill plants, so the fewer and the hardier, the better for all concerned.

    As I was backing out of the driveway I noticed up the side of the house a cardboard box and a broken plastic bucket. The wind seems to come directly in line with our house and we end up with a lot of leaves, bits of newspaper and light debris after high winds. Both gone to recycling.

  9. When I gave up smoking I thought, I will devote my time to plants and the garden. I collected so many plants and put them in pots, I was in plant heaven. They grew, they blossomed and it was raining frequently so I did not need to water them. I was like the old lady in the shoe, I had so many plants I did not know what to do. My yard did not resemble the Palace at Versace (?) it was cluttered and looked a mess.
    I have chosen my favorites and I am slowly culling the rest to friends. I have moved some plants inside and a friend who has a plant hire business told me she waters her plants with Seasol. I love looking at the plants inside the house.
    As for junk in the yard Cindy, it is the issue of disposal that causes its accumulation and the “ownership”. I would happily Freecycle those pavers down the side of the house, but the husband has an attachment to them… The car oil bottles in driveway , used to remind everyone to check oil in ute. Ute is gone so bottles can go too! Thanks for focusing on the yard , will head out there now and see what can be achieved. Cheers

  10. Oh Dear,
    My garden is kinda non-existent at the moment thanks to the burst water pipe from the For Sale Sign, add to that the fact that the Water Authority churned up my beautiful lawn, but I had already dead-headed the rosebushes and all my pot plants are in order. I keep them well looked after, some of my back deck pot plants have been showered in glass from the table explosion so that’s really the only job I have gardenwise till the waterpipe is no longer an issue.

    I love looking at well maintained gardens no matter if they are huge or just pots, it makes all the difference visually if you can see lovely plants growing instead of weeds, junk and rubbish.

    Great post Cindy, enjoy your lovely summer weather, here in Perth we will be having 25deg celcius with lovely sunshine and a nice light breeze. We are bracing ourselves for the rapid change which will occur very soon!!! Brrrrr!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Dizzy – you do realise that 25 degrees is considered summer here in NZ?

      • Hi Moni- yeah we are a spoilt here in WA. I love our weather patterns! I was chatting with my Aunty and telling her about the sunny days and she laughed and said it sounds really hot!! In the UK I know a lot of them consider 25 hot enough for the beach!

        You’re welcome to come visit me and enjoy the sunshine 🙂 Once it starts raining the temp is rather warm compared to the rain lashing down.

        My hubby is heading to a mine near Port Hedland and they are having their cold weather there, it ranges between 27-30 deg C. Now that made laugh!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Hi Dizzy – I have a friend who went to work in Port Hedland and the temperatures are insane!

    • SO sorry that the sign pierced your water pipe. What a pain! Glad your garden is in good condition. Since your house is for sale, that can only help.

  11. I own 3 potted plants. (I had four, but I killed one). one is a bushy thing with huge leaves, grows, but only to one side, another one is a little palm and then I got a chili plant from a friend. and this chili is growing… like really growing a lot!! And if I counted right, there will be 13 fruits hanging soon. yay. first time ever I succeed in gardening, I am a bit proud…
    I got a little herb garden installed by my neighbour a couple of weeks ago, because he was so sad to see my little collection of pot plants and offered me his gardening tools. so now I have a huge windowbox, with basil, parsley, lemon balm and oregano. (coriander and thyme didnt survive) I am super excited. so I dont need to declutter, I could clean my windows and the outside windowboard. thanks for the reminder, I will do that now.

  12. Oh, no garden here (though the totally bare balcony could use a good cleaning …). But at least that gives me time for indoor decluttering. I feel ferocious these days. Egg boiler (hand me down from mother)? Salad spinner (detachable, so the bowl could be used for the serving of the salad)? My latest additions to the different “out”-piles (to the thriftshop, to sell …). These weren’t totally useless and I kind of understand how they could escape me again and again but they don’t really “pay their rent” in usefulness either in my limited kitchen storage space. And when it maybe one day comes to buying a kitchen (in a new place) I definitely don’t want to buy expensive cupboards to store things I don’t REALLY need.

    • egg-boiler are just really useless, because you can easily take the pot for that. my mum gave me a really cute small one, which fits exactly 4 eggs, (or three portions of rice). But I am longing for a salad spinner the last weeks. I always wash the leaves per hand (and if I feel like it I go outside and spin the salad in the tea towel – but thats just too much effort). and it drives me nuts that I cant just take the spinner and make it quick. maybe I should keep my eyes open.

      • Maybe I should just mail you mine (if you cover the postage)? (it’s this one:

        • that would be a possibility. its rather small, right? which would be great, because I really dont have much space. and it looks like it could replace this really impractical white plastic bowl of mine, I wouldnt mind that… 🙂

          colleen would you be so kind and send us our email adresses? I dont feel like publishing my contact-info here.

      • Yes Lena – I agree – egg boiler – waste of space but salad spinner very worthwhile – I’ve had mine for a few years but wish I’d had it when all the children were still at home.

    • I bought a salad spinner once when my husband was taking salad to work everyday for his lunch. Once that stopped it became useless to me and the space it took up was immense. Not to mention the fact that it had to be hand washed. So even when it was useful the effort it saved in draining the lettuce was soon used up washing the thing. As for an egg boiler, I don’t think technology is necessary for that a simple saucepan will do. Mind you I don’t boil many eggs either.

      • every other month or so, I boil some and my “cute small pot” is doing its job just as good as any egg boiler would.
        I dont have hand wash as negative criteria, as I have to hand wash everything. If I would own a dishwasher, however, this would change immediately.

  13. 3 large bin liner bags of plant cuttings just about to be taken to the green waste dump on our way elsewhere – very pleased with myself. Garden tied up. We don’t actively grow anything – it is a case of survival of the fittest – if something can survive the lack of watering/care and slugs and snails, and looks green and nice it stays 🙂

    I could do with redesigning our front garden to no maintenance required to look pleasnt for everyone else: 16ft x 3-4 ft paved area that is a complete sun trap.

    • You and I have the same sort of garden Katharine.
      Mine grows Basil, Mint, Camellias, strawberry plants, a palm, a yukka plant, a mock orange bush, some sort of ground cover, a chilli plant, some sort of grass thing, a couple of lilies, a rosemary bush and some ferns I acquired from the footpath up the street. Oh! and sometime cherry tomatoes. They all seem to thrive nicely on neglect. If I get some strawberries before the slugs do it is a bonus.

      • I call that style of gardening “Darwin gardening” (i.e. survival of the fittest), which is pretty much how I manage my garden. It’s all native plants, so they all should be “fit” for this climate, but some are not as tough as others.