Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mom's Brown Thumb

Last year I was itching to start a vegetable garden. I would love to grow something that produces edibles. It should be easy in this mild, Southern California climate, right? One would think so. I even created a couple drawings in Photoshop in which I mapped out the whole backyard. I had high hopes of a few raised planters and great visions of tomatoes and spinach.

Being the practical thinker I am, however, I thought it might be best to try growing some less demanding things first to see if I was up to the challenge.

Our grass is all dead.

A couple weeks ago some ground squirrels ate the only wildflowers that hadn't died from winter's cold; spring's heavy rain; or recent, intermittent heat. They were tall, large, bright yellow ones that were the last to sprout, and they had about 10 flowers one day. The next day I went out and the whole plant was completely gone except for the stems which had been hacked up into 3 inch pieces and left on a mound of dirt.

Both our hibiscus plants went dormant through winter. One looks like it might give 1 or 2 flowers this year. The other is full of leaves, but no buds.

My favorite, the gardenia, didn't survive winter.

The pomegranate tree, which was planted by previous owners, always has lots of flowers, but the fruit never makes it past the size of an apricot. I pruned it last year, but that didn't seem to help. I probably did it wrong.

So far, the roses ( which I didn't plant either) have been the best success, but not because I have done anything for them. They must get their water from the neighbor's overflow. Oh, and the calla lily is thriving, but it is considered a "toxic weed and a pest" in Africa, so I probably don't deserve credit for that either.

Oh wait... I forgot the mandavilla! It's in full bloom!

On a side note, our neighbors have a peach tree on our property line in the front yard. Every year that thing fills up with fruit despite neglect. The fruit then falls to the ground, rots, and attracts flies. They have a big living room window that faces that tree, so I have never picked from it, for fear that they would not approve. As I type, it is full of peaches just waiting to drop. Tonight, after the sun sets, I am going to break protocol and harvest some of that fruit. Well, actually, I'll send Kennedy out for it.

After all, it's been a whole day since we had peach cobbler.

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