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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Red Mulch, a Black Snake, and a Brown Bird

On Saturday we ordered a big ol' dump truck full of red mulch for my shade garden because I had the idea pop into my head that red mulch would look good down there.  I just assumed it would be naturally reddish, say like cedar or whatever.  I don't know my mulch.  Or at least I didn't.  I know a whole lot more now after a couple of hours with my good buddy, Google, Saturday night. 

I did not know there was a such thing as dyed mulch... Had no clue whatsoever until I started spreading that stuff and realized it was turning my gloves, my shoes and anything else it touched red. But it was pretty and although I may have started to second guess myself a time or two, Charlie loved the look and anyway, what's done is done. There's no undoing a dump truck full of mulch especially after it's been spread. 

Nonetheless, I could not help myself so I turned to Google and seems there are varying opinions about dyed mulch and there are quite a few out there who loathe it with an undying passion, some who say it is unsafe and even others who say it's horrible for your plants.  Well, the best I can conclude (from my little two hour online research session) is that it is not unsafe anymore though it may have been prior to 2004 and that it may or may not be the best option for your soil and plants.  

Oh well.  I suppose only time will tell but after all the hard work I've put into that area that was nothing more than a great big hot mess before I started, I don't plan to let it go down without a helluva fight. 

In other news, I was hacking away at pruning a very overgrown Japanese Maple yesterday when I heard the Darlings barking to beat the band at the other end of the yard at the corner of the house and the fence.  Dracen was down there with them and came to tell me that they were barking at the birds who live in the holly tree. I found it a little hard to believe that they were that riled up over some birds though the birds were doing an awful lot of fussing over something.  
And when Brisco Big Boy began pawing ferociously at the dirt and biting the fence I knew there was more to this story. So I got down there on his level and was greeted by a coiled, hissing black snake on the other side of the fence at which point I jerked him and Charlene Li'l Bit right up and hauled their little wiener butts into the house, much to their chagrin because they love nothing better than a good excuse to fight a battle in defense of their territory.
Dracen and I were both stressing over what to do next because while I didn't want to kill a black snake, I didn't want it getting up there and eating the Brown Thrasher's babies either.  But as it turned out, I didn't need to do anything because those badass little birds pecked and bitched at it until it could take no more and according to Dracen (because I eventually went back to "pruning" while he stood watch), they chased him right on out of the yard and into the woods where I sincerely hope he stays, indefinitely... 

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  1. Never knew that gardening could be so exciting! The results of all your hard work are just beautiful!


  2. I think the red mulch looks really nice, but that black snake? Not so much!
    We've used dyed mulch for years and our plants are fine.

  3. I say thumbs up on the red. It definitely pops back there with all the green and the white rocks. The garden looks great.

    I'm kinda fond of the snakes so I think you are blessed to have them. Seems you might use a different word.

  4. I love the red mulch...makes everything POP! That reminds me...we need to mulch our beds. UGH! Ooh...not a fan of snakes, at all! However, I've been told that black snakes are good to have around. Keeps the pests, such as rats and mice, away.

  5. I told FireMan I wanted dark mulch for our front landscaping and he came home with BLACK dyed mulch. It looks pretty good, but it most definitely bled onto my hands, shoes, socks, pants, etc. as we were spreading it. And while it does look nice, I think the natural dark mulch looks better. IMO.

    BTW - your shade garden looks great! You've actually got me thinking about an area of our yard that is in the shade, and thus has more brown spots than grass. Perhaps a shade garden would do that area well...

  6. The red mulch looks pretty. I hate snakes. We had an encounter with one this weekend with it being under my porch. Glad the birds chased the snake off. I hate it when they eat the baby birds. We had one climb onto our rafters on the porch one time to get to a nest.

  7. Your yard looks really nice with the new mulch. I hope that black snake stays away too!

  8. I did the red mulch one year here. I love it against the dark browns of the trees.

    Mulching is on our list for this weekend... but in dark brown. Because Tony hated the red. :)

  9. i don't know too much about mulch...but it does add that extra punch of colour and I love how it looks.
    We chose to use stones since it matched more with our home.
    And I died when I found a spider in my garden. A snake? I don't even know what I'd do.

  10. I agree, the red mulch makes everything "pop". But that picture of the snake is amazing...