In the garden- Cleaning up our summer garden


Right now we are stepping out into a bit of a mess in our garden. August/September are brutal here in Phoenix Arizona, even the nurseries are low on plants. Nothing really survives that well in our temps during the summer. By the time September rolls around, if we are lucky enough to have cooler temps early in the mornings, we can work on cleaning up all the sad and dead plants out there.

All my succulents died, except for the cacti and aloe. Wait, I did loose one of my larger cactus plants which was a little shocking to me. Think I may have over watered some. Maybe I am not totally to blame on the succulents. Sam-burger Hamburger did use one on my nursery succulent boxes inside as a kitty box, so there is that. I know, gross huh?


I am not giving up on succulents though. Next week I will buy some to start over again. Gardening is my go to place when I need a little break from the chaos of life. My peace place.

This is why I have a garden. It is my quiet place to escape too. I think it is nice to share some of that peace with all of you as well. So why not make this a monthly thing. I am always out there in my garden anyway. “It’s a post” as my family always jokes about.

This is what we have been up to so far, now that the heat doesn’t hit us like a hot blow dryer. I can even open the house up to air it out. Don’t you just love the Fall. Usually we have to close everything up and keep it dark with air conditioning on all the time.

Like I just wrote above, some of my cactus are in a sorry state. I had to bring a bunch in because there is some hooked beak bird out there digging them all up and either eating the roots or something else around them.


My husband saved one of the babies a couple months ago when it fell in the pool and now they are digging up all my baby cacti and throwing them everywhere around our pool. You can guess what happen one night when I was walking out there barefoot after a swim…OCH!


Here is a little tip from an Arizona native…anyone getting tons of tiny invisible baby cacti thorns in the bottom of your feet, just cover the whole foot with school glue and let it dry then peel those tiny bits of annoying splinter pain away. Or even better…DON’T plant cacti near a pool.

What is up with those birds anyway, why are they eating baby cacti roots. I also saved a dove early one morning that somehow got stuck in our filter. When I took this photo it was half dried but still a little bit in shock. An hour later when I checked on it, it had finally dried completely and flew away. I kept checking on it just in case it went back into the pool.


Some of my spider plants made it this summer as well. I had to clean a lot of dead off of them and transplant them to larger pots.


We started taking clippings of house plants and adding them to mason jars full of water. We wait until they have roots to transplant to new pots.This is a frugal way of growing your own houseplants since gardening and houseplants have gone way up in prices.


I love buying plants, but I know how frustrating it is when you first start gardening and your plants die from lack of knowledge. YouTube has a lot of good advice on gardening for that.

One of our plants that does great in all temps is a plant that our neighbor calls Elephant food. This plant just thrives where we live . It’s a strong little plant.


I want plants in my garden, but everything was dying because we weren’t here that much to take care of it. We were always up north during the summer months. That’s when I decided to plant that Elephant food all over our garden. It worked, my garden actually had some green in it after the summer was over. If this is really elephant food, well we are ready for some pet elephants if anyone has any to spare. We even have a giant pool for them to play in. Not enough space though. Anyway, elephant food or whatever this plant is called, it’s a great plant for beginners.


Another thing I like to do is layer pots. I will put smaller pots into larger pots then add plants in both.


I look for little gnomes, animals, and decor to add to pots for some added color to the garden. I am always picking them up at second hand shops for tiny transplants. If you have a garden and you rub out of things to do, then just head outside to your garden, there are all kinds of projects just waiting for you to finish and take care of.


A lot of my cacti are overgrown so I took clippings off them to transplant to new pots. This pot here was a tin popcorn container my daughter brought home from work. My husband drilled holes in it and I decorated it with colorful twine and yarn. Clipping and trimming your plants encourages new growth.


On the other side of our back yard we keep our edible garden, that’s where my husband was cleaning up. Moving pots around, getting rid of the dead plants and transplanting some plants to larger pots. Our chickens love days like this because of all the little critters crawling around. They start pecking away at tiny little bugs that we can’t see.Everyone has their part when it’s time to clean and organize the garden.



There were tons of plants that were too big for their pots and the roots were chocking them out. Had to find bigger pots.Or in the case of this Aloe plant I just separated the aloe and put them in smaller pots around the garden.


My gardenia has some new growth, thought I lost that over the summer.


I was so busy replanting and cleaning up that I didn’t notice a visitor had hitched a ride on my arm. Once I felt something crawl up my arm I yelled out about giant spiders again. My husband on the other side of the yard heard me scream and asked me what was going on.  I laughed when I looked down and saw what it was.

I can tell you it wasn’t a spider, and even if it were, they are never giant, just in my head that is. It was a baby lizard I saved earlier in the week when Alley cat found it inside our home. I knew it was the same lizard because it’s itty bitty tail was gone.


I don’t know why it decided to hang out with me. Little lizard is lucky it was Alley cat that it ran into and not our ginger cat Sam burger Hamburger, that cat is full of fire. He never feels guilty about anything. He is probably laying in my son’s bed right now, thinking about the treat he left me in my succulent box weeks ago.


I can picture him now laying in that bed not knowing that earlier in the week we had a baby lizard in our home. Yeah, who’s laughing now Sammy. Sammy would have taken that baby and hidden it somewhere or given to my son early in the morning right when he wakes up. Sammy’s all cat and he gives my son and husband so much happiness…he is a fun one , that ginger cat of ours.

I looked down at the little lizard and said out loud “Yeah, your lucky it wasn’t Sammy that met up with you” then I told it to scat, go find somewhere safe to hang out. So sweet, just looking up at me. Might have scared it though because I did swipe it off my arm when I first saw it. I don’t smack thank God, that would have been terrible. This little guy is a baby. I moved him once again, this time to the grass and trees where he will be safer I hope. Wouldn’t you know it though, that lizard was back under my gazebo a couple hours later. I moved that tiny thing way, way, way to the other side of the yard. Maybe it has a twin, missing tail and all.


This early morning garden clean up took hours. It started heating up to 100 degree temps by 11 am. I headed inside once it became uncomfortable.We still have so much to do. Baby steps as they say, lots and lots of baby steps. Hope you are all out enjoying these Fall days too.

Next post for In the garden will be a DIY project. I have some fun little scarecrows to share with you all. We have lots of corn stalks and I thought how fun it would be to make some more Scarecrows.I already made a couple up north.


And then there is this, my aloe garden. The kids made this cinder block Aloe garden for me years ago for Mother’s day. I was thinking of stenciling something pretty to the blocks. Just something else to add to my list. Happy gardening everyone.


Copyright 2019 Our Little Red House  ©

39 Comments Add yours

  1. JZ says:

    Succulents are hard to keep alive! I’ve struggled with those too.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am slowly learning how to deal with succulents, they are so cute. They have gone up in price now that they are popular little plants. Oh, and I love what you are doing with your bedroom, that is coming along nicely. I still need to redo my bedroom. It’s needs a whole new make over for sure.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. JZ says:

        Succulents are cute indeed! We’ll figure it out eventually! I thought we killed one, but replanted the little bit that was left and it thrives this summer!

        I can’t wait to see what you do with your bedroom!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I love that when that happens. Sometimes I think a plant of mine is dead, dead and sure enough it starts to slowly come back to life one tiny leaf at a time. I think I am going to brighten everything up some in my bedroom with bright colors and sunlight. It is really dark right now. Your bedroom is really cheerful.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Liz says:

    Enjoy more cooler times in your garden.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Liz, you too. I hope you find a pretty place to just sit and take it all in and relax. Nature is the perfect medicine when we all need to de-stress.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Liz says:

        I have a favourite local park and nature reserve to go to. I miss my own garden.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I bet your old garden was really nice. It is good that you have a part to visit now.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Liz says:

        My last garden was a yard. For a short time I made it beautiful with pots and planters. But my previous before that one, I do miss. I had a circle lawn with borders all the way around filled with shrubs and flowers. I’d sit out on the patio.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Flowers are the best. They make everything so pretty.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Liz says:

        They do.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. simplywendi says:

    love all your beautiful plants plus kitty and chickens! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you Wendi. My family calls the chickens Dinosaurs. They can be really funny sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ruth says:

    You are just now opening widows while we are closing them and turning the heat up. I agree there is always something to do in the garden. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We are on different sides of the states. so weird how that works. I have family in Arkansas and Oklahoma that always write to me about the weather over in their areas . They get ice and snow…and tornadoes. They are originally from Arizona but moved to Arkansas when they were children. Here in Phoenix we don’t get much when it comes to extreme weather conditions, just heat in the summer. I can’t wait to see snow up north though. I love your farm, it is gorgeous, so much life too. Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Dandelion B says:

    all the cati I brought indoors sadly died here too.
    love how you stack the pots, haha our boy cat brings me “dead things” all day long, as he is an indoor cat that means little baby toys we got for him and my tree ornaments!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My son’s cat took off with one of my little Swedish gnomes I made the other day. I told my son to be on the look out for a tiny gnome with a red hat. We still haven’t found it. Sammy was dancing around the other night, just as happy as could be and I was wondering why he was so happy. Then I went into the other room and found my basket of gnomes on the floor with one in the middle of the room. I put them away up high and noticed the best gnome out of the bunch was missing. I decided to felt Sammy some play mice, hopefully he will leave my other stuff alone if he has new toys. That is sad about your cacti, that always is such a bummer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dandelion B says:

        Haha when i was felting my dud ball fell to the ground..cooper shredded it. No felt toys for this guy

        Liked by 2 people

  7. So sad, you will have to make another. I pets just love that wool I guess. My cats have so much fun with my yarn balls.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the little piggy tower planter!

    Your Elephant food looks like what we call purslane.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Robin, that plant is starting to become my favorite right now. It is keeping my garden green that’s for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Tanya Kohl says:

    Such a fun post! I enjoyed the story about the lizard. 🙂❤

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you Tanya, hope all is well in your part of the world. Love all those beautiful walks you share with us all. We are crawling with babies lizards all over our garden right now and they are so cute. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love the glue for cactus splinters tip! Also love your chickens! Wish we lived in a place where we could have our own. Your garden sounds like the perfect place to unwind!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, it is a very peaceful place. We just got some more baby chicks the other day, they are so cute. It’s nice having fresh eggs but they are messy little creatures. There is always some mess to clean up back there.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Must be something with Ginger cats. My brother has a ginger cat- about 30 lbs and hilarious. He has such a interesting personality. The lizard reminds me of the lizard in a British crime show I watch – Death in Paradise. They have a lizard that keeps showing up at the detectives house and it’s kind of a running joke, even when they change detectives.

    I’m not a plant person, so I this post might not interest me but you made it interesting, plus it was fun learning about plants in another state and about the weather this time of year for Arizona.

    I’m not sure if I have mentioned this before or not but my daughter watches this vlog on YouTube about a goat farm in Arizona so we learn a little bit about the weather there from that show. I didn’t think I’d be interested in learning about goats either but hey … the lady makes her vlog interesting too! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know, there must be something about those cats. I believe they are full of fire. I was working on Christmas gnomes the other week and my son’s ginger cat found my basket and was dancing around the kitchen very happy so I knew he was up to something. Sure enough, the basket was knocked over and I was missing a gnome with a red hat. The best one out of the bunch…Sammy has taste I guess. I still haven’t found that gnome. That cat is hiding it somewhere. Sammy always searches out the color red. If anything red is out he will more then likely steal it. I decided to make some toys just for him and hopefully I will find that little gnome.

      That show your daughter watches sound like something I would like. I was watching a family here from Arizona that put a huge swimming pond in their back yard and they had goats. I can’t remember their site. I will have to ask my husband because he follows them. They have goats that run around their pool pond. It is a beautiful pond right in the middle of their back yard. They just jump in and swim with fish.

      They have to be careful with sunblock and harsh soaps because they have to keep everything natural in the pond, so they can’t have any of these chemicals on them when they swim.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s the same show – Weed Em And Weep!

        That’s so funny about the gnomes! I hope you find the one with the red hat.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Me too, I really liked it.


      3. That should be Weed Em and Reap

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Funny, you also have a way with words too. Great photos and writing go hand in hand.


      5. Lol. The show is called Weed ‘Em and Reap and I slipped up and said it was “weep”. Well, you know what I meant! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yeah, it’s funny. I am always putting my foot in my mouth and making mistakes all the time, everyone knows that’s just me. Sometimes those mistakes are meant to be, to lighten us all up sometimes.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Michelle says:

    My mom has the worst luck with succulents, too. She gave me a tiny one earlier this year in the spring. I put it in a bigger pot and left it on my back porch, pretty much neglected it all summer. Even with no rain it grew into a fairly large plant! So my advice for succulents: just neglect them. 🤣🤣 Your lizard story is too funny! I love Samburger Hamburger!! 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So funny Michelle, I will have to try ignoring them. I still need to buy some, hopefully this week that will happen. Weird how some plants are not good with a little loving TLC. We are crawling with baby lizards here in the city and even up north. They are so cute to me but our chickens and cats are not big fans of them. Samburger Hamburger is in kitty jail right now (not really) but I am upset that he hid one of my Christmas Swedish gnomes I just made. I will eventually found it I hope. I am now making him little felt mice. I hope they keep him away from my arts and crafts.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. I like deserts and may decide to get out of California and live in Nevada or Arizona one of these days. It’s interesting to read your posts about the gardening experience in Phoenix.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I do love gardening but it can be difficult in a desert. California is beautiful, just gorgeous. When ever my family and I would visit I just loved how different everything is and you guys have the ocean and sand and beaches…so pretty. It would be nice to combine the two. There are places in Mexico like that. My husband has been but I have never been to those areas before. It is nice weather here though. I am a desert girl but I love the ocean too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a California native and have remained here for over 65 years now, but it’s become a very expensive state to live in.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I have cousins who live over there and an aunt an uncle too. My uncle says that it is getting bad with prices and taxes. I haven’t been in at least ten years. I miss my California visits. My uncle and aunt come here to Arizona once a year to visit now.

        Liked by 2 people

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