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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
Next time: we’ll revisit the old compost pile and hopefully teach (and document) a friend as she starts her own!!
So what if you have to scroll all the way to the bottom to read it… they OBVIOUSLY saved the best for last!
“Although no longer with Las Vegas Country Saloon, music promoter and Pigasus bassist Roxie Amoroso is now doing the unthinkable—garden-blogging! Don’t worry, she’s still putting on shows at several venues in the coming months. But now she’s also finding time to rediscover her green thumb. Ever wondered how to propagate ivy, do DIY floral design or water by osmosis? Visit RoxieGarden.com to figure it all out courtesy of Vegas’ punk-metal queen (as well as a wife and mother). When Roxie lands the cover of Fine Gardening magazine, you’ll hear it here first!”
First SEVEN, then the world!
This monstrosity used to live on my patio. We’ve lived here almost a year and just managed to move it a few weeks ago. I planted peppers, cucumbers & zucchini last weekend and it was truly starting to grow on me. But for our relationship to continue to mature, I had to do SOMETHING/ANYTHING about that hidious trailer park patio lattice.
So here’s how we spruced it up and what we used.
TOOLS: Drill, Screw driver, left over brown enamel paint, paint brush and two cans of spray paint for plastic.
Step #1: After originally trying to use the enamel paint to change the color of the lattice (and finding out the hard way that it washes right off with water). We went to Lowes and picked up some spray paint.
Step #3: My always helpful husband came out and spray painted the lattice for me. He’s a pro with a rattle can… I’ve always suspected he’s got some graffiti boy skills he just wont cop to.
Step #4: We decided to let the paint dry over night… so we took the kids to see HOP (great movie!)
Step #5: This afternoon we drilled the lattice back into place (leaving off the side panels because they were bowed out) and here is the final product:
I dont’ know… I kind of think it looked better back at Step #4. What do you think faithful readers? Should I leave it off? I can probably find another spot in the garden for the lattice. And I feel pretty good about fixing the planter up and re-using it vs. recycling or trashing it all together. Tell me your thoughts…
Next time: we move inside the house and tackle pothos!
Here’s WHY my garden grows…
I like to be dirty (truly dirty, real dirt on my hands, knees and feet.) I’ve always been this way, any member of my family will tell you. And my husband can even attest to the fact that when I couldn’t get my hands filthy with soil, I’d settle for the next best thing… cigarette ash and the filth that only comes from living in a van or warehouse with 5 of the grodiest dudes around.
In every apartment, punk house, warehouse (and there’s been a few) or quaint suburban home I’ve ever lived in, I’ve attempted a garden. Sometimes they’ve produced… sometimes they didn’t. But I’ve always had the same overwhelming sense of delight when I see the first Tomato on the vine or sprout poking through the caliche that I’m hoping will pass for soil one day.
When I was 18 I had a house on Eastwood Drive in Vegas… Not a nice place to call home. But I was hell bent on growing something… anything. So when I wasn’t riding my scooter back and forth to the rehearsal studio, I spent my days tearing out a Cypress tree and planting herbs under the front window. My lesson: When ALL ELSE FAILS – Arugula will survive.
At 19 I lived in a huge warehouse off of Presido & Highland. Another rehearsal space. After making friends with a guy down the street with a burgeoning Hydroponic shop and crossing paths daily with my would be husband (YES! Jesse). I gave a grow room a whirl. Woah. Fears of helicopters with infrared capabilities finding me out ended that potential career pretty quick. But not before I spent months with my nose in a book learning all that I could about propagation and light/dark phases.
The punk house off Eastern I rented at 20, had little more than a pathetic little cherry tomato plant in a plastic pot to garden… with a fake ID and a house full of gear, my attention was elsewhere. That poor plant lived on little more than sheer will and bi-monthly waterings… but at the end of it all. The day I moved out… I noticed one bright shiny cherry tomato!
Later that year I rented a room from my friend Rick… and after I put a pothos or spider plant in every room and windowsill available, I ventured outside. Straight to the front yard of course! As not to disturb Perry the burrowing hound in the backyard. One trip to Lowes and a full blazer later my lover arrived home from work to find me sporting a homemade bikini, on a lounge chair, in the dirt lot we called the lawn. Surrounded by plants not even out of the six packs and plastic yet… all carefully placed around a blue kiddie pool. I’m sure this was the moment he fell in Love.
Our first little Love Nest together as a couple was across from UMC in what we referred to as the “Servants Quarters” of the Scotch Eighties. We moved everything we had formerly in 1500 sq ft into 900. There were house plants everywhere and little glasses with cuttings on every available surface. On my 22nd birthday that year we told everyone we left town, went to Home Depot with $100 and planted our first garden together. Ugly and rudimentary, yes… but produce it DID! We had tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and more. Each piece of produce had tiny little wiener dog bites taken out of them.
From there I found myself at “The Club House” for the next three years… and while you might think being the only semi-responsible member of a band full of maniacs would keep me pretty busy… I did find time to care for my plants. An especially funny story was when the guy next door came over to tell us the place was haunted, we left and returned a couple hours later to find one of my pothos in a terra-cotta pot burnt to a crisp and smoldering where it stood! No smoke, No company, No lighters, matches or candles around. Freaky right? Well Jesse let me think it was “the Ghost” for about a year and a half before he finally cop’d to sticking a freshly lit Nag Champa in the soil right before we left the building. Mystery Solved! And not a minute too soon.
When I was 25 we moved into a suburban neighborhood with a yard, started planning our wedding and all of a sudden found ourselves full time parenting a couple of kids. THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY DEGREES. Well working the soil has a way of helping ease frustrations… by spring I had removed rocks, brush and turned an 11’x 5′ area by hand. I did the same thing each spring for the next 3 years… including the year I did it 6 months pregnant. Refusing help and an offer to rent a rototiller. The fruits of my labor never tasted so good.
And in 2010 we bought our first home. After 10 years together with all these rag tag plants and gardens we find ourselves in the house of our dreams starting fresh.
And that’s why I do it… because I’m still trying to get it right.
Today I decided to “Prune” the garden if you will…
At home floral design! I started with a small ceramic red rectangle vase I got at the Salvation Army a few weeks ago ($2.00). Filled it with water and a touch of lemon lime soda (my grandmothers trick for extending the life of your flowers… you can also use a little sugar).
I added: Pittosporum and Ivy from the back yard.
Then added Daisies & Snapdragons from the front yard.
And last I added Ranunculus, Delphinium, Moxie and a couple Marigolds from the bird bath garden.
Can’t wait until the Roses start blooming…
Or How to propagate Ivy.
This project was one I started for Hank and Tony at the Poplar Center for Cultural Excellence. They want to spruce that bitchin’ bachelor pad up… and green things are always a good way to go.
Step 1. Choose a healthy plant. Survival of the fittest people… we only want to clone the plants that are the strongest, prettiest and most likely to succeed. (not to get all Hitler on you…) and Cut sections that are 6-8 inches long.
Step 2. Some people swear by commercial rooting hormone powders. I’ve tried them before, back in my teens when I spent a lot of time in a Hydroponic shop on Western & Oakey. No longer my thing. If its yours, dip the tip of your cutting as quickly as possible. These days I throw caution to the wind and do it Old School – snip off any of the leaves in the area you’re going to submerge (or they will get squishy and rot) then put them in water right away.
Step 3. How much water? Well currently I’m using a couple gallon Milk jugs cut in half, filled up about 5 or 6 inches with water.
Step 4. Wait and wait and then add more water. Oh, and they like a sunny spot. Indirect sunlight if you can. This time I’ve placed mine in the garage under My Sweet Husbands florescent light and they LOVE it!
Step 6. Depending on whether you’ll be keeping them indoors or out, choose your location or pot. Fill your container or amend the soil with 1 part soil, 1 part moss, one part sand and PLANT!!
Step 7. To help your new plant grow nice and full, pinch off the ends of each new vine. Also, spray often with a fine mist if indoors… they’ll thank you for it!
Other Interesting Ivy facts (A.K.A. if you’re planting outside… you’ve been warned):
– in the NASA clean air study, they showed that Ivy removed formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the air.
– “First year it sleeps, seconds year it creeps, third year it leaps” was a cute quote I found regarding Ivy.
– From the National Park Service: “English ivy is a vigorous growing vine that impacts all levels of disturbed and undisturbed forested areas, growing both as a ground cover and a climbing vine. As the ivy climbs in search of increased light, it engulfs and kills branches by blocking light from reaching the host tree’s leaves. Branch dieback proceeds from the lower to upper branches, often leaving the tree with just a small green “broccoli head.” The host tree eventually succumbs entirely from this insidious and steady weakening. In addition, the added weight of the vines makes infested trees much more susceptible to blow-over during high rain and wind events and heavy snowfalls. Trees heavily draped with ivy can be hazardous if near roads, walkways, homes and other peopled areas. On the ground, English ivy forms dense and extensive monocultures that exclude native plants. English ivy also serves as a reservoir for Bacterial Leaf Scorch (Xylella fastidiosa), a plant pathogen that is harmful to elms, oaks, maples and other native plants.”
Next: we’re going to take a journey through my yard… checking in on all of the gardens.