A Good Garden May Have Some Weeds

Well, our garden has lots of weeds.  LOTS.  When we became homeowners we thought, “Surely all it takes to have a nice yard is regular mowing and plenty of water.”  HA!  We’ve had many failed experiments with too much/too little water, not enough sunlight, the wrong kind of fertilizer, etc.  Very few things survived our first few years of gardening, except of course the weeds.  You can imagine our surprise and excitement as we slowly managed to turn parts of our yard into the lovely garden we originally imagined.  Of course, we still have a long way to go.  But every once in a while it’s nice to take a breath and enjoy our small triumphs.

First off, we added four moon cacti to the sage underneath our direction sign from this post.  After three weeks, they are still thriving and we’re making plans for more succulents to add color in this spot.

Moon CactusSpeaking of, we’ve started a succulent garden along one of the back walls of our house.  Several of the smaller ones have all ready died off, but about 75% of the plants are still surviving (some even thriving!).  Here’s hoping we continue to find what works for a low water, low maintenance flower bed.

Succulent Garden 1Two years ago we discovered Vincas.  As long as they have enough water and well draining soil, these little beauties will bloom and grow for about five months.  Several of our plants from last year even reseeded themselves and popped up again this spring.  We love the color they provide in our front flower bed, and the fact that they can withstand the 110+ degree heat in the summertime.

Vinca GardenOur Crape Myrtles are the pride of our backyard.  When they’re in full bloom, each tree turns completely pink, red, or purple.  They also bring plenty of bees to our yard, which helps out the rest of our flowers.  Despite many mishaps–most recently a sprinkler malfunction that left them without water for over two weeks–they are hardy and beautiful every spring.

Crepe MyrtlesAnd finally, our biggest surprise yet.  Two years ago our local hardware store was selling tree saplings, so on a whim we decided to try out an apple tree.  The fact that it managed to survive it’s first two years in our yard was all ready a triumph, but this morning we discovered it managed to produce a single apple.  Our first homegrown apple!  How cool is that?!?!  Ok, we might be a little more excited than one lonely apple warrants, but who knows?  Maybe next year we could be looking at apples (plural!).  So we’ll let this one mature and taste test it later this summer.  Hopefully we’ll have good things to report.  🙂

Our first apple!


One response to “A Good Garden May Have Some Weeds

  1. join local garden club or attend events (newspaper garden section) CNPS.org CRFG.org

    Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia, hybrids nowadays) are tough once good sized.

    Apples are also.

    Loquat for early May fruit.
    Consider very early or late peach/nectarine, plum. Consider european plums (“prune plums”). In CA these are a forgotten sturdy fruit tree.
    Kumquat, if you like them.

    Anything else that’s expensive and-or that tastes mediocre when sold underripe in produce sections.

    Try pomegranate, unless you don’t like them.
    Give a grape a lot of space. Try muscats varieties for flavor (store bought muscats are too underripe to compare, though)
    Try jujube (zizyphus) fruit, then consider planting. They tend to send up occasional root suckers, also form is not spreading, so you will collect much fruit from ground (as far as i know, since i haven’t grown jujube myself)

    those 4 cacti are grafted.
    the magenta succulent cover looks like aptenia. can go rather dry under deciduous tree. provides a little cushion for dropping peaches, apricots, etc.

    tough plants for heat:
    plumbago? (not sure of frost other than i ssme they bounce back in the spring)
    full size native salvias, lavender and rosemary if on raised area or in soil coarser than clay. http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/allstars_detail_pop.aspx?id=66

    “plain old” geraniums (pelargonium)

    large vines.
    look into distictis, tecomaria, macfadyena, cissus antarctica, wisteria.

    arbutus unedo
    some acaias

    cistus with drainage (mound or not too clay-ey)

    oenethera berlandieri, but plant in a “swale” or “hole” and it may still creep uncontrollably (so confine in sidwewalk strip)
    euphorbia characias
    aloe striatula
    senecio “dusty miller”

    freesia, sparaxis.
    amaryllis belladonna (true amaryllis)

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