Tag Archives: beginner gardening

A Start

A couple of days ago I went to Potted, a store in Atwater  Village I am now obsessed with. I was feeling despair at the enormity of my task, and, although I knew it wouldn’t buy me much, had a hundred dollar housewarming check from my in-laws that I wanted to spend. (They’re from Michigan, where that kind of money will basically buy you a new house.) I purchased the following, for $93.37:

One bag of cactus potting soil

Two large handmade clay pots (at 50% off)

One plastic runner from Mad Mats

With these I did this:

A Promising Entryway

I populated each pot with a clipping from our old home. It seemed fitting, to me, to start the garden with “something old and something new.” I suppose you could argue that there is something borrowed, too, as the agave pup was swiped from a field near our old residence. The Jade clipping came from our old patio — we left the plant itself behind. Because who gives a rat’s ass about jade plants, right?

Jade plant -- lame, but at least I know I can't kill it.

Agave. Or is it? I have no bloody idea.

(By the way, would one of you kind readers please tell me if I’m supposed to capitalize the names of plants? The grammar nazi in me is extremely disgusted at this ambiguity, and I’d rather hear it from you than look it up on line. Thanks.)

Anyway, it ain’t much, but it’s a start. As I walk up the steps and view my simple handiwork I can almost hear the paperwhites muttering “There’s a new sheriff in town. She’s clearly a hack.”

It’s true. There is. And I am. Sigh. As much as I want to be doing anything OTHER than being a fucking yard girl, though, this is what the deities have planned for me right now.

As long as I keep blogging about it maybe I’ll actually keep doing it. One terrace, one stump, one thorny bastard tree at a time.

Overview: Left Terraces, Front.

Left Terraces Overview

It starts with good intentions, devolves rapidly into confusion and ends in skin-ripping pain. The front left terraces are much like my first marriage.

If they have a theme it is: thorns. But even that implies more order than is actually here.

The bottom terrace  is composed of our old friends the “paper towels” (paper whites, for those louts who haven’t read the previous posts), various and sundry weeds, and a bastard offspring of the rose bush that was actually planted on the next terrace up.

We Move in Closer, and sigh.

The second terrace is entirely devoted to the aforementioned rose bush, a mediocre sample of the breed if I ever saw one. If this variety has a name it must be “lackluster.” It’s a hardy little feller, though, and seems determined to send its shoots — complete with spent buds — to the moon.

Rose Bush. Clearly related to George W.

What little “gardening” I have done so far I have done here, just whacking this thing back. I dislike roses on principle. They are dull, plebeian things, consuming an abundance of drink and wearing tacky ballgowns, like senseless little prom queens. (Sorry if I offend. It won’t be the last time. )

Anyway. Moving up to the top level we enter the aforementioned “Cape Fear.” Named so both for the ugliness of its visage and the extreme aggressiveness of its chief tenant.

Cape Fear, with "The Tree of Pain" in background

But before we meet him, please take a moment to enjoy the entire mise en scene. The one, scraggly, motheaten geranium. The requisite paperwhites. A nameless weed. A smattering of rose petals. In the far corner a potted jade plant lying discarded on its side, waiting for the horticultural version of a Good Samaritan (good luck).

And then there’s the Tree. Ten feet high or so, it is apparently a rare Japanese Lemon Tree. Very valuable. Very desirable. The fruit so fine, by all accounts, we will weep when we eat it. Which, upon closer inspection, I deem to be an excellent prediction. For the Tree of Pain is adorned — nay, littered — with the longest, sharpest thorns you have ever seen. More vicious spikes I have not encountered outside of a gladiatorium (How do YOU know I’ve never been to one?)

Tree of Pain, genus Daggerus Vicious Maximus.

Agh! And it looks so innocent from far away! Picking lemons from it, let alone pruning it, will be a veritable sea of agony. But we’ll probably never know, because this tree is high on my hit list. For one, it sits on our dearly-paid-for sewer line, for two, it is thirsty. And for three it’s utterly banal in appearance. So it must come down. Eventually.

But for now TOP stands sentinel over our bedroom window, baring its long green fangs and daring anyone to risk full-body lacerations whilst attempting to break in. For that, at least, I am grateful. High-tech home security systems, you are ONE thing we may not have to spend money on right now.

Next post: The Back “Yard,” or, Will the Real Hell Hole please Step Forward?