December garden: cleaning and clearing

in #gardenjournal2019last year (edited)

We get most of our rain in late December and so for a few weeks, the place resembles a tropical jungle as the plants go mad. Notice the weed forest that needs clearing:


I got rid of that this morning

The other major job I tackled this month was clearing the Lantana from the front yard

The picture above was taken in winter and there has been a major infestation of these category 1 (may not be cultivated) invasive plants

Ever since I moved in here, I have tried to control the infestation by cutting the plants down to the roots a couple of times a year but they sprout straight back up and the only way to get rid of them is manual removal, a job I have been avoiding because they were growing in very stony ground. I decided to solve the problem permanently this month and an axe and an old screwdriver were my best weapons.


Old, established Lantana has an extremely hard woody rootstock and the rocks made it impossible to use normal digging tools. Lots of targeted digging and chopping and I managed to get them out by the roots - there were about 10 separate plants. My axe was totally ruined by the rocks and I had to redo the blade edge but I'm really pleased to have gotten these nuisance plants out.


Lantana wages chemical warfare against other plants by secreting growth inhibitors so it will be a while before I can cultivate this area. I intend to plant aloes and other succulents here but will need to wait until the Lantana compounds in the soil have been broken down by soil organisms.

On to other things: the rain has made the roses bloom madly


The eggplants have become well established and that's the first flower


I got a Red Star bromeliad, Cryptanthus Bivittatus from a place down the road where the people who were selling them know nothing about plants. This is what happens when you leave bromeliads in the sun all day:


Luckily these are tough plants and this is what a Red Star should look like. The only thing I did differently was to put it under a tree, so that it got morning sun only.

Cryptanthus Bivittatus.jpg

The other consequence of the rain: the snails come out of hibernation and they do love succulents


Now my time is spent checking the plants for damage and then hunting the culprit, who is usually skulking nearby. I have managed to reduce their numbers considerably: last year, I spent a LOT of time squashing snails. Going hunting every morning and evening, especially after rain was very gross but there are far fewer this year.

Another odd project:

b. disticha.jpg

Boophane disticha is a very beautiful indigenous plant and this bulb was given to me by someone who had forgotten it in a corner of his driveway for over a year. He thought it was dead and it was pretty shrivelled but these are extremely tough plants. I brought it home and dropped it in a bucket of rainwater overnight. The next day, I saw that the root nubs had swollen and seemed alive so I knew it had a chance. I stripped some of the outer scale leaves and put it into soil and a month later, the young leaf shoot can be seen emerging from the top. It may be years before this bulb ever blooms again but I am glad I was able to save it.

Finally Aeonium 'Kiwi', a monocarp that will die after flowering although Aeoniums live for a couple of years before they flower so I'll enjoy it in the meantime


A garden-fix for @simplymike. I hope it hits the spot. Details of the garden challenge can be found here:


I really like the stones too!
Yes, you have a lot of hard work, but then you will have a beautiful garden!
In Cyprus, Lantana is not considered an invasive plant.
It is sold in stores and my son Lantana really like.
Lantana is often planted along roads.

You are lucky. Perhaps your climate prevents it from becoming a serious pest

I think you're right.
In places where it grows, there are no large thickets.
And these flowers look beautiful!

nikv having fun in her yard, while most of the world has to deal with the cold... :"-)

I am grateful to be dealing with less extreme heat ;)

Beautiful plants that you have grown with literally titanic labor.
Your efforts were not in vain. The reward is your beautiful garden.

Thank you. It is a worthwhile task

It did, thanks :0)

That Red Star and the Aeonium 'Kiwi'look really amazing.

I didn't know slugs and snails like succulents to, to be honest.
Hunting them down during summer is one of my guilty pleasures, lol.

Looking at those (awesome) rocks, I can imagine that removing the Lantana must have been a hell of a job. Great that you managed to get it done.

Thanks again for joining. I really appreciate it :0)

My pleasure!

Snails LOVE succulents, my garden is an absolute magnet for them.

Yes, the Lantana took a couple of days to get out but I'm really pleased that it's done and the rocks can be appreciated in all their glory. People always laugh at me but it's a fact that I bought this house because of the rocks. It's a real privilege to live next to them.

I don't know a lot about succulents... for some reason, those are the kind of plants I have trouble keeping alive.

It depends very much on your climate, I think. My country is home to a majority of the succulents grown worldwide so they thrive here but struggle in cooler or more humid climates

Well done with the Lantana....really bad weed here too!!

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Yeah, it's terrible stuff

It's lovely to see your outdoors springing back to life.

Nice to see you around! I'm sure it's a good fix of greenery in your weather

Nice to see you! I had a green Christmas, just got home last night. Ottawa has about the same tiny bit of snow as when I left but we're expecting freezing rain now. That's always interesting...

Ugh! Cold rain is the worst

Not just cold, freezing. It falls as rain and freezes on contact. In our great ice storm, there were blades of glass encased in an inch of ice.

I still have no idea why mankind lives in such climates ;) Although it is clear that some people have always done so

The summers are beautiful? I think it's because we're born here and, at first, we know nothing different.

I think you are used to it, for sure

Those rocks behind the lantana are super cool! Aloe will look great there.
How long does it take to break down the lantana stuff and how will you know they are gone?

I have read that worms in the soil will break it down and I suppose the answer to that is: when I see other plants growing there. Hopefully next year this time will be enough

Fingers crossed!

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Vaya que tuviste mucho trabajo. Me gusta la estrella roja y su cambio de color, de sol a sombra. Las suculentas son preciosas. Un abrazo y deseo de felicidad en este 2020 amiga @nikv.

Wow you had a lot of work. I like the red star and its color change, from sun to shadow. The succulents are beautiful. A hug and desire for happiness in this 2020 friend @nikv.

Thank you. To me, working outside is still the most satisfying so although it is a lot, I enjoy it.

Hugs and best wishes for you also

Que bueno que lo disfrutes!! a mi me encanta estar en el vivero sembrando, trasplantando, preparando mis tierras, para abonar mis plantas. Hasta el punto, que me deshidrato, en algunas oportunidades, porque olvido parar y tomar líquido. Y el calor afuera es fuerte.

Good thing you enjoy it !! I love being in the nursery planting, transplanting, preparing my land, to fertilize my plants. To the point, I get dehydrated, on some occasions, because I forget to stop and drink liquid. And the heat outside is strong.

Yes, it's also too hot here, we can only work outside early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Don't forget the water!

Jajajaja. Es inevitable, siempre pasa.

LOL. It is inevitable, it always happens.

Not too familiar with plants, but the plant in the first pic looks like something I would have bought to put in my house. surprised you said you got rid of it. Unless you're meaning the vegetation behind it.

The first picture is of an aloe, with weeds in the background so yes, that's what I meant. I won't get rid of the aloes, either

Wow, Nice photos but i like your rose flowers photography so much.

Thank you

Nice article. thank you for your tips. I can also add some information about how to fight against fleas that can live in your garden and can terrorize your pets as well as you. Check some advice about how to fight them at

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