Saturday, June 28, 2008
Gardening with an Un-Gardener!
I started gardening when I was about 19 years old. I remember digging out a circle about 8 feet in diameter and starting in the center, working my way out using concentric circles put seeds in the soil. It was my pride and joy! Those were the days when gardening was simple. Mostly the portulaca was the one plant to survive my little circle.
Here on the left is a path in the back part of our property with all the plants which lived here before we came, mixed in with some species I planted, either native or adapted.
I try to use plants which provide food, or shelter to the small wildlife which are displaced when they build the Walgreens and CVS stores on every corner. What's up with that, anyway? Why DO we need one of those on every corner? The other monster of displacement is Walmart. It's "their" goal to have a Walmart every two miles. Well, around here, mission almost accomplished. Then there's the Lowes/Home Depot "mine is bigger than yours" ideas.
As a result of this we have allowed our gardens to become a certified World Wildlife Foundation Backyard Habitat as well as the harder to get Texas Parks and Wildlife Backyard Habitat. Native plants must make up at least half of the plant list, but I have over half.
This year the garden is transitioning into a garden where I do not water on a regular basis. I will still water my trees because they are more valuable than the house!
This is our lap pool. It's only 50 feet long, but perfectly sized for me to swim laps and have a nice hot tub. Everything is surrounded by plants. Sometimes we go in the pool and use it as a hideout and watch the birds, and other little things living in the garden.
When we moved into this house I brought my entire garden with me from our previous house! That took up the largest covered trailer from U-Haul. Literally hundreds of plants. The previous garden was in Dallas, now in Central Texas. I'm fortunate to have very deep soil as we're half way down on a hill. The top of the hill has rocky outcrops and very thin soil, so I am very fortunate.
This pile is required for animals to have shelter. Currently, that I know of, four very young opossums live in this pile. We've had many animals living in this mess! Animals love natural piles like this. In addition to the opossums, there are mice, rats, Carolina wrens, and there has been an armadillo, but he must have moved somewhere in the front of the property. I see his little nuzzle paths in the mulch in the front garden. No harm comes to the garden other than the movement of mulch. So I move it back in place. I allow for this and it brings me great joy that wild animals like living here.
Here's what the yard looked like when we bought the house. There was on mesquite tree in the back where the brush pile is. You can't see it in this photo but it is directly left of the pool and about 30 feet away. I designed the pool so we had planter boxes to either side and a space near the steps of the pool where we could put in a small pond. At first the pond only attracted toads, but now we have bullfrogs too. I have no idea how they got here. We do live near an active creek, but it's about 2,000 feet away.
This photo shows the end of the pool with the hot tub and to the right of the square hot tub is a built in area for the pond. This photo was taken about two months after we bought the house. As you can see, there are homes in the background. I'm happy to report I can no longer see them. I've planted desert willows, vitex, palo verde, Texas mimosa, redbuds and the tree which shades the brush pile is a paulownia. In four years it is almost 30 feet tall. I'll post more photo's in the days to come.
See any neighboring houses to the left? I surrounded the pool with a natural screen. To the left of the pool seen here is where I let it go wild and where the critters have free reign.
Here you see a better photo of the
finished pond enclosure. It's hard to believe how sparse the property was eight years ago.
Here's another view of the back with the patio in view. The
shade cloth is replaced with a one piece greenhouse which fits
over the same frame I put the shade cloth onto.
I'll post more as time goes by and the garden grows. I will put just a few more photos at the bottom of the page which are plants of my passion.
Brugmansia suavolens 'Peaches and Cream'
This Brugmansia is actually a clear yellow and looks to be a 'Charles Grimaldi.' It was given to me so I am not sure of the exact identification.
Thanks for the visit! See you in the garden.
P.S. I know this page is messed up and I'll figure it out eventually!