Jerry and I are avid gardeners. (Jerry, truthfully, is a frustrated farmer.) Sadly, that doesn’t mesh well with our lives forever on the move. We work insanely to get our gardens laid out and planted just the way we like and we then move before we ever see them mature. We planted 43 irises in Connecticut one autumn and then moved before seeing them come up in the spring. At that same house, we hauled in 6 cubic yards of soil and created raised hosta beds under a stand of 75-foot-tall Black Tupelo trees. The hosta beds were expected to take about four years to reach a respectable maturity. We moved a year later. Fortunately, after planting hundreds of daffodils to join the already hundreds of daffodils throughout the gardens, we stayed long enough to see those hundreds multiply into a thousand or more.
|A LITTLE BIT OF PARADISE IN SAN DIEGO.|
We dug up our 1/4-acre in San Diego, rented a gas-powered two-person auger to drill holes in the hard pan (also known as ouklip, the cement-like soil common just below the surface), so we could plant giant timber bamboo along one fence, hauled in dirt and gravel for the rest, created a mini xeriscape paradise for ourselves, and then moved after only two seasons. The growing season is long and our plants thrived, so we did manage to enjoy the fruits of our labors during that brief time. We drove by the house recently and were very proud of our work — the ground covers, miniature bottle brushes, purple hopseed bush hedge, the 15-foot-tall yucca out front, the two giant dracaenas flanking the entrance, and the now-50-foot-tall stand of bamboo out back. We hope the current owners appreciate what we created. Sadly, they trim most things to within an inch of their lives (a lollypop jungle); few natural shapes allowed in that garden.
We drove by our old hotel property in Palm Springs a few months ago. The landscaping we did there is finally lush, enormous and spectacular… 10 years later.
|LIKE LIVING IN A TREE HOUSE.|
Although we’ve been renting a small apartment here in Irvine for the last couple of years, we filled our balcony with plants — a 6-foot-tall ficus, wax-leaf privet, palm, philodendron, succulents of different stripes (well… varieties). Inside, a spectacular Ming aralia graced the dining room, a rare fern took over the bakers rack in the kitchen. Out on the balcony, the table and chairs, the outdoor carpet, and all the statuary (the dancing frogs, the alligator, the pig, the Mexican figures) have all been placed in new homes. The plants continue to thrive, blissfully ignorant of the fact that they could at any moment be tossed aside, passed on (we hope, to loving and more stable homes).
|THE MING ARALIA MINUTES BEFORE WE CARRIED IT AWAY.|
Sunday night, we brought those two remaining houseplants to a good friend not too far away. She has award-winning gardens. More importantly, she is loyal and steadfast. She will not desert them. Our neighbors took the wax-leaf privet. Their balcony is small, so that’s all they can manage. Besides, they told me they both have black thumbs when it comes to plants. The privet is hardy. Perhaps it will forgive us.
|THIS BEGAN 1-1/2 YEARS AGO IN A TINY POT AT ONE END OF THE SHELF.
IGNORANCE, APPARENTLY, WAS BLISS.
We can’t wait to get settled in Spain so we can start planting again.