Though I am still a rather ignorant gardener, I have quite a personal relationship with every growing thing in my yard. My mother has chided me from time to time not to take a death of a plant so personally and that is helpful. I think perhaps feeling so personal about my plants gets me into trouble and stops me from taking risks that will help me learn more.
But to tell the truth, I do find my way a lot of fun and am loathe to change anytime soon. Perhaps I will feel less personally attached to my plants when I am more attached to the outcome of my garden. For right now, the plants are still just really interesting to me and I concentrate more on their survival because I do things wrong so often.
I consider our entire backyard our garden with lots of little points of interest for different purposes. From the back of the house the backyard is a rectangle with the long sides parallel to the house. We have a little balcony (very small, so more like a balcon-ette) connected to the master bedroom that shades the exit into the garden. In front of the shade of the balcon-ette is a nice brick patio for the kids to play on trikes and run around. To the left of the balcon-ette there is an area for barbecuing, and to the right there is a patio table for enjoying said barbecue. In front of the barbecuing area there is a sand box. Behind the patio table is the raised bed rose garden and to the right of the patio table there is the jasmine garden. In front of the jasmine garden a bit there is the pomegranate tree. Then, bordering the back corners of our backyard, we have a quarter circle raised bed cactus garden to the right and a square raised bed with pergola mommy’s paradise vegetable garden to the left. Pictures below!
The rose garden behind the patio table (next to the house), jasmine garden to the right of patio table (next to the wall).
Pomegranate tree between jasmine garden and cactus garden, cactus garden in the right corner.
Mommy’s paradise vegetable garden and sand box, the left side of the yard.
The rose garden was the first garden I tended when we moved into the home. It is also the only thing in the backyard that survived us moving in (mostly).
When we moved in, the backyard consisted of some sort of citrus tree in the back left corner, some sort of short leafy shade tree in the back right corner, a huge patch of mostly dead grass in the middle and the rose garden. The mostly dead grass in the middle was NOT our fault.
See, in Tucson, if you do not have an irrigation system in place and you do not take a hose and water your plants EVERY DAY, most of them die, particularly grass. As there was no irrigation system, the grass was pretty far gone when we moved in. Oh well. Didn’t feel like buying a mower for 10 square feet of grass anyway.
The citrus tree was next though I really tried. When I remembered I would go out and water the citrus tree. I really wanted to know what kind of tree it was! But I never found out. It lost its leaves a few months later in the middle of winter and never regrew them. Sad sad sad. Apparently though, watering a tree means you give them a BIG drink of water, such as 40 gallons at a prescribed frequency, like once a week. Standing with a hose for 30 seconds to wet down the ground is NOT going to give you 40 gallons of water.
The weird leafy shade tree was next. I didn’t really like it so I never watered it. That was very passive aggressive of me. It was too close to the back wall and it didn’t look like it would produce anything I could eat so I didn’t see its point. But it did not die on its own, we took it out when we decided to put in the cactus garden. Chop chop.
So it was a miracle that the roses survived at all. Originally there were two bushes, one with pink roses and one with white roses. I watered them like the citrus tree, when I remembered. They both lasted about two years. The second year though the white rose bush got really mad at me and up and died. I think this was about the time I had my son, my first baby, so I remembered to water even less frequently than usual. In fact, I can’t tell you when it died as I don’t think I went out into the backyard for a few months there.
But, I thought the pink one was next but LO! It got CRAFTY!
All of the sudden RED roses started coming up to bloom. And these roses looked completely different than the pink ones, with a different scent. When my mother visited, she explained that many commercial rose bushes are grafted on to a “hearty” rose at the roots to make them less likely to die at the hands of irresponsible plant owners like myself. So, when the fancy pink rose started to die, the hearty red rose put up leaves and blooms.
When I started to straighten up and water responsibly, the pink roses came back. I love them! But the red ones are also here to stay. Yay! So I have two different roses blooming from the same bush. I searched my photos and I don’t have any yet. I will take some soon and update this post. It is pretty far out.
In the place of the white rose bush, I’ve put up a blue birdbath with seashells and I put in low flowers from time to time, usually with the seasons, as I still don’t have the knack for flower gardening. However, at least I am a responsible irrigator now.
Right now, there are some yellow desert flowers that look like daisies which are happy, a lavender bush with no purple flowers anymore and a little green bushy sprouty plant that used to have pretty white flowers that all fell off a week after I planted them. Hmmm. But they are still alive and cheer me up when I water them in the morning.
Next post: The Cactus Death Garden