One time… a car drove through my flower garden and parked in my living room.


I’ll preface this by saying I’m trying to make this sound more like a story than an excuse… but its kind of hard.

The fact is, it is an excuse.  If I were a different kind of person I might have kept gardening after a car drove through my flower garden, and into the living room… but the fact is I gave up.  On June 4th, 2011 a couple of drunk teenagers with a BB guns, joy riding in their parents Chevy Malibu were chased by the cops into our neighborhood… it ended in our living room.  The driver was arrested, but we were left with a massive hole in the side of our home and I guess now that I’m actually taking time to write about it… our hearts too.

inside view

The car parked in my living room.

outside view

The car parked on my garden.

We were very lucky that no one was hurt.  The big boys were at their Grandma’s house and none of the neighborhood kids happened to be playing on the corner (a RARE day!)  Our incredible friends and  neighbors came over immediately and spent hours helping us clean.  We weren’t the only ones amazed when the house was livable at the end of the night.  Here is a clip from the news if you want to see it.
After the former wall was removed and our house was successfully boarded up I did spend a couple days transferring the plants from my demolished garden into the backyard.  Here’s a photo:

Gardenia

the Salvage Garden.

The new spot in the backyard is now called “the salvage garden”, it made it through the summer heat and is now thriving.  But after seeing my little flower garden, my first attempt at gardening in our new home, my baby really… completely demolished and subsequently stomped on day after day by “constructors” (as Gadzuki called them).  I really did lose my steam.  I quit.

construction

The Contractors.

I continued doing the bare minimum and managed to keep the gardens in the backyard alive through the long summer, but didn’t touch the front.  After 3 months of construction, buying a new business with my husband and the kids back in school I was finally able to look at that little space again without feeling sad.  I’m no psychologist but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just the superficial loss of my flower garden that was the problem.  Maybe it was what all of those dead flowers represented.  The truth is It could have been me, more easily could have been my husband (who was sitting in the living room when the car hit) and the worst thing of all…  The most horrible thing a mother could ever think of;  it could have been my baby.  Gadzuki.  Who was sleeping on the couch, under that window, just minutes before THOSE kids, drove THAT car across my lawn, through my garden and into my living room.

Gib

veggies

We had veggies all summer.

In the end I guess it helped me put things in perspective… I was spending 8 hours a day gardening and blogging before the accident.  Afterwards my priorities shifted and all I wanted to do was spend time with my family.  I needed to keep Jesse & Gadzuki where I could see them, and as luck would have it I was able to all summer!
2 weeks after construction started we bought a guitar shop, http://www.cowtownguitars.com for those interested.  In a funny twist of fate I was able to keep them by my side and in my line of sight all summer long as we worked together in our new shop.

Gib & Me

Gadzuki & I at Cowtown over the summer.

So as we get ready to welcome 2012, I’d just like to say that I’m back (and I’ve got the leaves and dirt in my hair to prove it). Today I turned composts #’s 7 & 8, tore out tomatoes/eggplants and added some brown matter to the old beds. The next couple weeks we’ll be busy getting three new raised beds installed before spring and before long we’ll be starting seeds in the garage!  Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to share with you all of my trails and tribulations of the next growing season here at the Hotel Amoroso!

Happy New Year!

House

The House: AFTER

Next time: we’ll revisit the old compost pile and hopefully teach (and document) a friend as she starts her own!!


My flower garden gets a little attention!

One of my flower gardens from the front yard is featured in this weeks SEVEN Magazine.

my flower garden, my husband & me!

Click here to read the article and see a larger version of the photo.

On another note, I finally found a way to go outside without my allergies going crazy. Jesse and I went to Lowes and bought some of those painting masks. They look weird, but work!  The guys and I  (& Gadzuki) spent a couple hours cleaning up the yard from the party last weekend and planting.

Australian Fern

I put two Australian Ferns in some borrowed pots (thanks Dickie!) that the family got me for my birthday.  I’ve never seen them before and as much as I LOVE fern, I’m hoping its the solution for growing fern in our desert climate.  Putting them in pots is all part of my “find the perfect location” strategy.  My yard has a few different climates, full sun, part sun, part shade, total shade, humid/full sun…ect.  So I figure we’ll drag them around until we see what they like best.  I put them in part sun to start.

Ferns in pots

Also, I got a Plant World gift card for my birthday and its its BURNING a hole in my pocket.  Maybe I’ll take Gadzooks tomorrow after play school and post some photos of our favorite spots at the BEST nursery in Vegas. 


UPDATE – Veggies

Ugh!  Its been a long couple days here at the Hotel Amoroso.  The Olive trees have been in overdrive, producing all of that sweet gold (pollen) that makes the circle of life continue and me want to end my own (life).  Okay maybe I’m not THAT dramatic, but when the choice is between gardening with my eyes swelled shut or living the life of a shut in… only seeing my plants from the window, it feels like I could be.

My Birthday on Sunday was awesome.  We partied, bbq’d, drank and enjoyed life in the backyard.

As promised… here is an update on all things veggie!

TOMATOES:  They’re growing fast and most plants have small tomatoes on them.  Even the Roma, which was broken in half by the hound dog the week it was planted.  As you can tell from the photo below, the cherry tomatoes are taller than the great Gadzuki (and he’s only 2 years old).

4/26/11

3/6/11

Peppers, Zucchini & Cucumbers:  A lot has changed in just 17 days since I planted.  The Zucchini are already really big, the Cucumbers are climbing up and out of the planter and the Yellow Bell even has a small bell pepper!!

4/26/11

4/9/11

Small Bell

Eggplant, Onion & Garlic:  Not a lot has changed… I’m almost wondering if the area might be too shady?

4/26/11

4/3/11

Carrots:  They’re getting bigger everyday, but still not large enough to even get a baby carrot.

4/26/11

4/3/11

Radishes:  The foliage is getting very large on these… unfortunately almost half our crop was wiped out by the birds.  I can’t wait to harvest these and plant another round before it gets too hot.  This time I think I’ll try a bird net over the top.

4/26/11

4/3/11

Next:  I’m excited to show you how good the compost looks after just a month and a half!  


This is where I go in my dreams…

the offensive tree

The trees are making us sick.  I’ve been told by a friend that it should pass in a couple weeks.  I hope so.  The culprits are the Oleander & Olive trees and they are all over our property.  Next year we’ll get the injections that stop the Olives from producing… until then, we suffer.

So from the luxury of my air conditioned bedroom, While Gib & I watch cartoons… here is a site we like to go to.  He likes pointing out all that he sees (like a web version of an I spy book) and something about the “Wee Gardens” takes me back to when I was little and played with my Maple Town figures in the wild & crazy backyard we had in Paradise, California.

Here’s the link: http://www.weegarden.com

Hopefully we’ll be back in the garden tomorrow for the holiday, but then again… everyday is Earth Day around here.


Part #3 – My very own Copa Cabana

This is Vegas… Right?

I feel like I’m entitled… and don’t worry, I’ve heard the whole “you’ve got an overwhelming sense of entitlement” thing before.  Usually it was from my Dad when I’d ask for something “crazy” like summer camp.  More recently when I ask my husband for something “crazy”… like a cabana in the backyard.

This time though… Jesse decided to endorse my craziness and gave me a green light on the project.  He helped with the grass (as you saw in Part #2) and gave me the money to buy the succulents for the little garden behind the diving board (as you saw in Part #1).  But the gazebo… that was all me!  I made enough money at the Gears show I threw at Boomers a couple weeks ago, combined with some money I had to buy it cash.  Just had to talk the guy with one on craigslist.com down to $175 from $250.

48 hours after negotiations began (I think I mentioned before that its one of my skills) he said I could pick it up.  After an exhausting trip to North Town with Gadzuki, complete with bad GPS directions and a potty training “close call”… The sweet Albertsons brand gazebo was MINE!!

The hard part was waiting for Jesse squared to install it (Jess & Jesse Junior).  But it was well worth the wait.  Oh, did I forget to mention that?  Its been a very long wait…

Almost 5 years ago when we got married, we wanted to honeymoon in Acapulco (and visit the real Copa!)  Kids and money got in the way… and stayed in the way.  We never did take our honeymoon… but a long summer in my own Copa Cabana, with the love of my life, in our dream house makes Acapulco sound as important as summer camp does to me now… 20 years later.

Total Cost:
Gazebo – $175.00
Succulents – $29.28
Sod –  $38.00
GRAND TOTAL = $242.28

Next we’ll take a walk back through the garden… Update on all things veggie & compost!

A couple more photos:

Click to make it bigger

Click to make it bigger.

 


Part #2 – Natures Flooring!

In the beginning

My yard is large.  I’m not sure what the square footage is, but after looking at many a suburban home in our quest for the perfect house, I know its not average.  On top of its size, its dead.  Or it was, rather.

One year into the search, we found the house of our dreams.  The good news?  It was it was in our price range.  The bad news?   The only reason:  It was a foreclosure and over a year of vacancy had turned a once beautiful landscape into a pitiful Vegas wasteland.

Even though we’ve been steady fixing, cleaning and planting since we moved in last August, this was the first area we decided to focus on entirely.  The “Cabana” I call it!  I wanted it for my birthday (April 24th), and my husband being the tolerant man he is, agreed to get involved.

First things first, the empty planter (yesterdays post “Part #1 – Geophytes for fun!) and the miserable little chuck of dead lawn had to be dealt with.  So here’s how we finally got grass, man…

BEFORE:

 Part #2 – Natures Flooring!


Star Nursery has the Sod for $0.45/sq ft.  One time when Jess and I were young and dumb we snagged roughly the same amount from a place by our rehearsal space… we brought it home and laid it in the backyard in the middle of the night.  We really felt like we scored, surely it was worth a lot of money.  Only rich people SOD their yards… the rest of us struggle with seed and and manure and birds and disappointment.

Well we were 9 years later we learned we were WRONG.  After a grand total investment of $38 the jeep was filled with green lush grass… even if it was only enough for a 9 x 9 area.  Oh and consequently, that sod we planted in the dead of night died.  Kharmas a bitch.

And this is how you can plant sod too:

Step #1:  Make your kids help.  Give them shovels, rakes, hoes (ha! we’re a little close to the strip for that!) and turn them loose.  They broke up and removed all of the dead grass.  Being careful of the sprinkler (its worth its weight in gold in this remote section of the yard) and added some of it to my new compost pile.

Step #2:  Fertilize the soil

Step #3:   Lay it down like your laying out quilting squares… or at least thats what it looked like to me.

Step #4: Gently cut the sections of grass to fit in your area with a steak knife.  Yep, I saw it with my own eyes.  That was the fanciest tool they used in the whole process.

Step #5:  Water, drench, drown, submerge, soak, shower, douse, bathe, ect… basically any word that describes keeping it as wet as possible for as long as possible.  Or at least two weeks.

Oh, and lastly… TRY to keep your two year old from riding his “motorcycle” on it.

Tomorrow: we take a look at what finally became my own little piece of paradise in our backyard.

Also check out the updated photo on Part #1