I love plants–especially flowers and fruit trees. I appreciate beautifully planned landscaping, but I also wonder at wild forests and meadows of flowers that grow without direction or nurturing. A person might not be able to tell how much I love plants by looking at my yard. This is because I lack the time to care for an elaborate garden. I don’t even have time to care for a few pretty pots. It’s just like interior design. Few people know that I am interested in that because our house has half-painted walls and no pictures up. But that’s because I have limited time and resources and I choose to focus my time and resources in caring for the immediate needs of my family. I suppose you could argue that my house and yard would look nicer if I spent less time writing blog posts, but I would win that argument. My blog posts are written when I’m sitting at swim practice or other kid activities that take me away from home.
One of the perks of our new house is that the previous owners loved flowers and plants too. Though the yard was quite overgrown in some areas and under watered in others, the planning that went into making our yard beautiful is obvious.
I was so happy when this rose bush finally bloomed. There are three other rose bushes there that aren’t looking too healthy. I think the javelina and rabbits are munching on them. I’m still trying to learn the name of the bush in the background. It’s an evergreen that blooms with pale pink flowers in the spring. Anybody have any ideas?
I spent a few minutes last week laying in the hammock in the backyard with the kids. I love the gnarled black branches of the mesquite trees. Our yard is bordered with large oleander bushes. Many of them died our first summer because I didn’t know their watering zone was off. These are hardy plants, though, so some survived. I know they’re poisonous, but I still love the color variety they bring to the yard–even if they’re in desperate need of trimming. Andrew brought some blooms in last week for me to enjoy in the house. As long as none of us ingests them, we will be OK. We have a hedge of bushes on the back side of our pool. They surprised me by producing small green fruit last fall. I did a lot of internet searches in the hopes of naming the fruit and finding out if it was poisonous or edible. I just couldn’t figure it out, so I ate one. Dumb, I know, especially with a yard full of oleanders, but i didn’t die or even get sick! And the fruit was tasty! This is what it looks like, and this is what I thought it was:
So, I thought, cool–we have feijoa bushes. And then I noticed these flowers on the bushes a week ago.Google told me these are guava flowers. Hmmmm. So I asked Google to tell me the difference between feijoa and guava. Guess what…they’re the same thing. Feijoa is also called “pineapple guava.” I know not everybody who reads this will appreciate my discovery, but I think it’s cool that I have guava bushes in my backyard. It feels so tropical!
I also have lovely bougainvillea bushes. They’re actually a tropical plant too even though they’re popular in the desert. Winter ripped off a branch and brought them to me last week.I am so happy we have a yard that we can enjoy. Even the horseshoe pit has come in handy as a sand box. Check out that sunset!Sometimes, though, we have problems with our plants. Besides the work of keeping them trimmed and cared for (which is work I do like, but don’t necessarily have time for) sometimes they cause problems.
I have learned the names of most of the cactus in our yard, but this one was a mystery to me until Brooklyn crashed her bike into it and forced me to take another look. Brooklyn taught herself how to ride a two-wheeler a couple of weeks ago. She felt confident enough in her skills to follow Makayla and Winter on a walk. They weren’t even gone 5 minutes when Brooklyn returned crying and covered in spines–large and small.
Not all cactuses are particularly painful, but cholla is the worst of the bunch. Brooklyn had crashed into a Christmas cholla, named for its bright red winter fruit. The large spines from a cholla are not nearly as painful as the small spines. The small spines are like tiny hairs or slivers–almost like what you see on your shirt after a haircut. Though the small spines look like harmless hairs, they are very painful because they are barbed and you can get as much as fifty in the palm of your hand by just touching a cholla. Brooklyn’s hands, arms, legs, and stomach were covered in small painful spines. It was horrible! People say to use duct tap to remove the spines, but that only took care of about half. They were too fine to stick to the tape and had embedded into her skin. We threw her clothes away and tweezed and taped like crazy for about an hour. Then I sent her to the hot tub to soak.
You can bet she was a lot more careful on her bike after that!
I planted some pretty flowers in pots on my front porch. One morning, I woke up to this:
Javelina. I don’t like them. They’re ugly, smelly, and they eat my plants.
After a few weeks, I planted more flowers, and a few days later there was an even bigger mess. Right now my pots have one or two flowers that have survived the blind beasts. I have since done a little research. If any of my family is reading this an needs ideas for Mother’s Day . . . . buy me new javelina-resistant flowers for my pots. I’d like to try cosmos or vinca because I like their bright colors. In fact, I’d also like some replacement plants for some other areas in our yard: 3 or 4 salvia bushes, 3 or 4 purple lantana. Or let me go to the nursery by myself to pick out some plants. It’s really hard to go plant shopping with little children.
The prickly pear are blooming. Yellow isn’t my favorite flower color, but it’s kind of pretty. I prefer reds, pinks, and purples. Orange is OK too.
This next picture has nothing to do with plants, but it does have to do with the outdoors. Sometimes the kids leave the slider in the game room open and we end up with wildlife in the house. So far, it has only been spiders and lizards. I did kill a scorpion by the back door once last year. I sure hope a snake never finds it’s way in. Oh, and thank you for asking how the puppy training is going. It’s going.
I have a great story about how Winter saved my life this morning. I told it to Emily and she was cracking up with my facial expressions and hand gestures. Unfortunately, you can’t see that on a blog post. So here’s the short, boring version–Winter was barking like a maniac with her hackles raised on our walk today. We walk the same route every day for training purposes, so I couldn’t figure out why the horses we were passing were making her jumpy. She was barking and backing away from the side of the road. I was embarrassed, so I picked her up and carried her far from the horses before putting her down. On the way home, as we prepared to pass the horses, there was another neighborhood dog barking at something in the same place. As I got close, the older couple warned us, “Look out guys! There’s a rattlesnake!” It turned out, Winter wasn’t freaking out about the horses at all. Just on the side of the road where we had been walking was a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Good job, Winter!