Grappling with greenery … and apples

Philodendron on right. Aloe vera on left.

IT’S OVERCAST this mid-morning and 64 degrees on the upstairs terraza.

Abel the Yardman is coming later to cut the grass, so I decided to do some overdue plant trimming in advance. Out I went at 9 a.m., my tummy full of bagel and cream cheese.

The first victim of my clipping shears was the philodendron Xanadu, which grows here to mammoth proportions. Secondly, I attacked the aloe vera which, similarly, buffs up like mad.

I stacked the philodendron cuttings on the floor of the Garden Patio to be chopped up later and dumped into a very big bag. The aloe vera will be tossed into a ravine out back where I have Abel the Yardman throw green garbage.

Philodendron cuttings await fate on Garden Patio floor.

What about apples? The grumpy neighbors on the side opposite the sex motel have an apple tree abutting our property wall. Little thought was given to placement when they planted it years ago. Now it’s big and leans over our wall insouciantly and dumps apples into the grass in summertime.

How nice, you may think. Actually no. When I find them, they invariably have been gnawed by unknown beasts, leaving them fit for naught good.

I pick them up and throw them away.

But enough of this. I now must water the potted plants on the downstairs veranda. They are thirsty and don’t care that I’m writing this.

Life goes on below the Rio Bravo.

12 thoughts on “Grappling with greenery … and apples

  1. So glad I have goats living behind me and cows in another lot. They get all the trimmings and peels of fruits and veggies. So nice to have animals welcome me even if it is just treats they want. I have those philodendrons also and they produce a fruit like pineapple. A kid in the pueblo use to come up and get them as some eat them. I give them to the goats as I would apples. I sometimes forget to water the plants that are under cover during the rainy season but they always pop back.


    1. Peggy: Alas, I have no goats or cows to eat my green trash, so it gets tossed into the ravine down the street just behind Abel the Gardener’s place. He lives on the other side of the sex motel. I always get him to toss it because he has dogs down there that do not like me and want to eat me. I cannot imagine why, my being so gracious and lovable.

      My philodendron does not produce a fruit like pineapple, so we have something different. It does produce some big pod thing, but it doesn’t look like anything I’d want to put in my mouth. Actually, it looks like something from a horror movie.


  2. Wow, that philodendron is massive! They are actually parasite plants that will grow on the tree trunks in Central America. We have one that we have to protect every winter in the ground and it struggles to come back. Never gonna get any size.


    1. Carole: I had always thought that philodendrons were smallish, but I guess that depends on where you plant it. This one is still growing. Friends downtown have one that’s so big it’s supported with steel chains.


  3. I really enjoy reading your blog, and your description of your easy life south of the border. I’m curious, why aloe trimmings get dumped and the philodendron trimmings get chopped up? I expected you were going to leave them for Abel to run over with the lawnmower. By the way, what do you use to chop the leaves?


    1. Phil: Thanks for the positive feedback. To answer your question, I dump the aloe vera out back because it’s quite heavy. I chop up the philodendron stalks and leaves because they are far lighter. I then toss them into a huge, plastic, garden bag, and take them to what passes for a dumpster in these parts. I use a hand hedge trimmer. If the aloe vera was less heavy and less adorned with spikes, I’d treat it the same. Large aloe vera is a nasty customer.


      1. Years ago I had a chipper I bought from Montgomery Ward that was like a rotary lawn mower with blades spinning around, feed shoot, and output shoot where a bag was tied on. I would feed my oleander trimmings through it, and it would end up a very heavy mulch. Reduced bulk to maybe 10%, but had to watch it or barrels would be too heavy and city would not accept them.


        1. Phil: That would be a handy tool, and our garbage men don’t care how heavy something is, especially if you tip them generously as I always do. They love to see me coming.


  4. For all your hard labor today, you will rest tomorrow on one of your lazy Sundays as you wrote about not too long ago.


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