Sunday, May 22, 2011

Garden in the Desert. It Is Possible.

"There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments." -- Janet Kilburn Phillips

You might remember that last year I was fighting the desert and the rocky yard, to get some green going in our surroundings, or to at least clean out the junk and the rocks.

Our blooming pear tree

After a year of digging up stones, I am happy to say … I am still digging up stones in our yard. But unlike the desperation I have felt last year, I feel sort of a sense of peace now: the rocks are there to stay. They were here first and they will be there forever, I have learned. It’s not just me, it’s everyone around us, apparently. Man against stone yield winning stone. That’s what the rocky (and otherwise beautiful) landscape of Utah is. We were here second, and if we want to eat, we need to learn to work around them. Just dig, "fluff" up the soil, remove the rocks and hope. Hope big!

Hibiscus plant in our front porch planters

Some things have taken root. Some things baked in the sun – like some herbs in some containers even, because of the scorching sun, and some flowers that were always perennials, as far as I could tell, in NC, died after the first frost in UT.

Back yard trees, bushes and veggie garden to the right

We have had our frustrations. And our lessons. But we built up courage this (second) year to plant a few things in our yard. We put in a fence, for more privacy, and we planted some trees, fruit trees, evergreen bushes, and even a veggie garden. It’s all started to take shape and it’s a beautiful oasis in the world around us, otherwise very yellow and … well, rocky!

Veggie garden: tomatoes, peppers, squash, herbs and onions

The picking of the plants, and the building of the garden felt so therapeutic! We shopped around for what grows around here and we narrowed it down to our budget, preferences and to "what stays green the longest" - if that's an official criterion. I have wanted a veggie garden, too, so we took some chances, and planted some of those, too – and we will just wait and see what happens.

Front yard feature bed: Japanese maple with juniper bush and hand picked Utah rocks

We did it together, sort of like our project for planting roots in a new ground! It was beautiful. I am really, really proud of it! We still have weeds around and no official “lawn”, but to us, it’s a world of difference! It’s green and the birds love it, and we have worms, and it all breathes relief and joy! I don't see sod or a sprinkler system in our near future, but I see letting the ground be, and seeing what it offers us. We also have tomatoes, and peppers and dill and squash and evergreen bushes and trees, too! A world of possibilities, now!

Bloom of the mountains - columbine, in our front porch planters

We have not had many sunny, warm days this spring. But in the few we “stole” from the calendar, we could plant, and dig, and fertilize, and prune, and pick plants and put them in. Together. Our new life , before our eyes. Seeded.

Happy birds, in our back yard trees, against the new fence

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