Sunday, October 14, 2007

Home Improvements, Pt. 2

After living all summer with a grassless, defoliated backyard, we heard from our landscaper Joel that the weather was finally cool enough to plant new foliage. So we schlepped all the way out to the Theodore Payne Foundation, a 22-acre California native plant preserve and nursery in Sun Valley, to go plant-shopping. With Joel’s (and, thank goodness, Karen’s) help, we selected three varieties of salvia (i.e., sage), three types of Manzanita bushes, two succulents, and an assortment of plants that will eventually cover the ground and (fingers crossed!) bloom in festive colors come next spring.

Joel also picked out a small tree (cercis occidentallis—i.e., redbud), which produces tiny magenta flowers in the spring, a luscious gardenia bush (my favorite flower), and tall brown-and-green cannas for two of my many pots. The real centerpiece, however, is the magnificent octopus agave that we decided to include rather last minute. It is the most dramatic element of the entire project and gives me hope that the rest of the yard will soon be just as beautiful.

The gardeners showed up to plant everything on Wednesday — the day I teach, unfortunately, so I wasn’t able to appreciate their handiwork until the next morning. I was surprised to see what looked like a lanky man standing on the front porch, though, when I drove up that night. It turned out to be one of the cannas greeting me with its brilliant orange flowers.

To say that I’m now obsessed with my garden would be an understatement. Much like a mother hen with her chicks, I check my baby plants daily for any signs of progress and even slunk outside before dawn with a flashlight, Saturday morning, to make sure they had survived the rainstorm the night before. Most of the plants are very small, but should start looking like their own nature preserve within the year.

Stay tuned . . .


No comments: