Thursday, August 12, 2010

Taming the Desert ?! Well, ...

Plants are an investment. I have learned that quick and early all the way back in first grade. Mom wanted to teach us how beans sprout. So, we put dried beans in cotton balls, watered them and waited to see what happened. Sure, then, it was just a water and time kind of investment, but extrapolating that experiment through planting various things during later years, I have learned a lot about growing plants. I have learned that you put time, money, effort into your yard, and something will come out, and another thing will not, and a whole different thing will come out only to die a few weeks later.

And for some sick reason, as filthy cheap as I usually am, I do spend cash on plants and soil! Now, sure, some folks out there (husband included) don’t get it to save their lives. I guess it’s just the (very hidden and small) mother in me or something that loves to nurture and care for “something”, and since God didn’t put the bio clock in me, for me, it’s tending to plants. I love to see healthy, beautiful flowers, trees and herbs, and just … any greenery around me that it’s the direct result of my efforts to keep them healthy. I love to work for it, sweat for it, and wait. Yeah, me, who also hates waiting, love to watch plants grow and bloom. Go figure!

You do remember, perhaps, that when I moved to “the desert”, back in May, I had to learn not only a new way to garden (because of the dry climate), but a new way to handle a very different kind of soil: a hard, rocky, sandy, dirty, debris filled soil … I was sure it’ll take me years to have just grass growing in it … Well, several months later, and trying not to pay attention to the husband’s (or the friends’ or the neighbors’) rolling of the eyes and serious doubts that I can in fact grow anything around us, I am happy to say the place looks a bit different. Not much, but to me, some.

Our small flower bed, in front of the house

We do have grass! Alas, we have grass AND weeds growing on this bald spot that used to be a dumping site for the neighborhood … And I did venture out to have one flower bed. A small and contained bed, manageable for now. We also have beautiful, custom made, wooden planters (my awesome husband’s contribution to my “yard project”), full of healthy, gorgeous, green plants, some desert loving, some lush. We have pots and planters around the home, and even a tomato plant, upside down, because I went crazy trying to find home grown tomatoes in this area, so I finally decided to plant my own, late and hot as it may be right now! Our dill and basil sort of fried out there in the sun, and so did the ice plants. But everything else looks pretty healthy, as you can see.

Detail on wooden planter (built by Aa. from scratch) with healthy greenery in it.

I think my favorite: frail and healthy (fast growing) ivy and cedar detail.

The still very frail and timid presence of these “live” things just makes me smile and makes me feel like I am finally at home.

We will get good soil, along with fertilizer, in the fall, but till then, our pots and planters have healthy dirt that will keep the very few things I have planted happy. I hope. And just like investment goes: you gain some and you lose some, but you can always count on learning a good lesson! And so, I am learning, day by day … the challenges and the beauty of having plants in the desert. And I am not done yet. This is merely the beginning …

Color, color and more color!

Can you smell it?! Probably my second favorite: lavender.

No, you don't need to flip it around: topsy-turvy tomato, or "the new kid".

Details from planter and flower bed, respectively: they call these "hen and chicks", but I call them "desert roses". They are sooo pretty!


Hana Carlton said...

Looks beautiful Alina!
Try some small spicy peppers, i observed in my garden that they are somehow sun/heat more tolerant than tomatoes (in this very peculiar summer)

A.W. said...

Thanks, Hana! I love any kind of peppers - that's a good idea ... ;-)