I grew up in the center of Philadelphia. If you want to see wildlife, you had to go to the park. I have never given much thought to flowers or gardening. I had a few houses with lawns. I did not like the lawns very much. It took effort to get the grass to grow. It took more effort to keep it maintained. I was happy when I sold my riding mower when I was moving out of Michigan to a small house in California.
When I was in Michigan, I paid about $100 per month to have the lawn fertilized. I am also a closet environmentalist. I was never too sure about dumping all of those chemicals on the lawn with sandy soil and a high water table. I vowed to never do that again. When I moved to Alameda, I found a house with a couple of trees and a rock garden. I knew I found the perfect place.
Alameda is a suburb city of San Francisco. I live in a suburb section of Alameda. We have drive ways, garages and front yards. My front yard had rocks and a couple of trees. One of the trees was a pine tree. Not knowing about trees and gardens, I did not know that pine trees in Alameda required watering. The poor tree did not survive one California summer with me at the helm. It turned brown and died. You can see the remains of the stump in the middle of the white rock garden. Looking at the picture of my rock garden with a tree stump, you can see a lot of green. Let me tell you something about life, it goes on. If you leave a rock garden unprotected in Alameda, weeds will take over!
The plant on the left with the yellow flowers was given to me by my brother about 10 years ago. It sat in a pot for about 5 years when I decided to plant it up front. I guess it grew a good root base in that pot because it grew up over the windows in a few months. I looked at the wild thing and wondered what I was going to do with the thing. I was walking through a shopping center in Alameda called South Shore when I saw the same bushy flower thing all neat and pretty. I asked my younger son, who was about 8, why the shopping center had such nice flowers and ours were all wild. He had no answer for me. A few months later, we went to Sea World in San Diego and saw they had a small army of people trimming the bushes, plants and flowers. That got me thinking about trimming the flowers in my yard.
When I first started trimming the flowers, it broke my heart to cut a flower off the plant. I got over it and things got a lot better. I still don’t have the hang of the trimming thing. Part of the reason is that I don’t feel like devoting enough time to really getting good at it. If you look a the yellow flower thing on the left hand side of the picture, you can tell that it is a bit wild. That is fine with me because it is part of the learning and it was a present that I kept alive for over 10 years. The bush in front of the flower thing is the same type of plant that I have been trimming. I like the way it is turning out.
My word count is getting up there so I will end with this paragraph. Note the white pipe along the wall next to the yellow plant. That is my sprinkler system. I will bury it after I get the coverage I want. It is really hard to get good coverage without watering the side walk. I will have to dig under the walk way or cut it and run a separate line to that section. I keep trying different things attempting to get the coverage I want.
Next time, I will talk about why there is so much green in my rock gardens.