[gardening] Flowering sempervivium

One of the hens in my hen-and-chick rock garden is flowering this year:

Flowering sempervivium

Which indicates that it's going to die this year. 

The rock garden is getting a little weedy. I'd like to go through with a little rake and aerate the soil, maybe add some more sand/cactus soil/pebbles. I'd like to, but something is keeping me away. A huge snake. I know there are some people who have a real fear of snakes- so I'm not posting the actual pictures here. Here are links if you do want to look: 

This is the first one I saw. I almost stepped on it while I was out taking pictures and I saw a huge black thing suddenly slithering away. I jumped so high, I landed on the front porch 20 feet away. I went inside and practically crawled under Dollar. He came back outside with me so that I could take the pictures. 

Snakes scare me and I think this is just a learned reaction that I adopted from my grandfather who hated snakes like it was no one's business but his own. And my mom, who screams bloody murder whenever she sees one. I'm obviously startled when I stumble upon one, but then I can calm myself down enough to take pictures.

Here is the second one I saw. This time I was walking with Dollar. We were coming up over the bank when I heard a little rustling in the grass. I thought- "What's that?" I took another step and saw it slither up onto the mulch. My reaction is always and will forever be. I grabbed Dollar's hand and crushed all the bones in it into powder. Then I calmed myself and flanked it to take a picture. 

At the end of the day, they're just non-poisonous garter snakes. And I think they're beneficial for gardens, right? Honestly, I'm more pissed at the woodchucks eating all my young plants. Maybe the snakes will keep the woodchucks away? 

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