Heart of gold.

The Shade Garden

The Shade Garden

Like Neil Young himself, I too was searching for a heart of gold. Well… I knew where to find one, it was the financier I was looking for. Found it!

I was rewarded for all of my hard work at the shop with a nice little budget to start re-planting the shade gardens on the NW side of our house. You might remember last year as I tried all kinds of things that ultimately failed (radishes, carrots, spinach) all from seed, all failures. Turned out all we needed was some reliable irrigation and that came in the form of my new gardener Hermino. He’s terrific. Like the little baby jesus delivered me an Angel of Horticulture… but more on Hermino later.

Today, Gadzuki & I went to Plant World to get some things that would be suitable for a partially shady area, wouldn’t mind the encroaching oleanders and could stair step down in 3 tiers. Oh yeah, and it would have to be considerate of the last thing my husband said to me before he left for work… “Don’t cover up the lights.”

Two toddler sized shoes in the turtle pond later, we had what we had come for. The same kid that helped us out to the car with our vegetables yesterday loaded us up and as I was fastening my kid in the carseat I heard him say “Have a great day, Beautiful”. WHAT? I’m almost positive I looked around for another person in the parking lot that he might have been talking to. Now normally I would just take this as a compliment, say if it came from the 60 year old man that had just run my debit card… but for some reason, out of the mouth of a twenty something kid, I’m inclined to roll my eyes and laugh. I know I should just be gracious and go on my merry way… but for what ever reason I can’t. Twenty year old boys are silly, and the idea that this one thought he could flirt with me is some how offensive… I mean, doesn’t he know who my husband is? Ha! (I JOKE!!) Really, they should be used to dealing with celebrities… Nick Cage was there yesterday when we arrived. (Still Joking!! Not about the Nick Cage thing, he was really there… I’m joking about my poor husbands celebrity status.)

Anyway…

Here’s what we got:

1. A Hearts of Gold Redbud tree. (I’ve been pining over this tree for over a year)
2. 2 Blushing Susie Black-Eyed Susan Vines (because they remind me of my mothers garden)
3. 6 Vinca Major (periwinkle)
4. 1 flat of “baby tears” (ground cover)

And here are some before and afters:

Before

Before

.

After

After

As you can see… this section of the yard needs a lot of work still, but its nice to know one small chunk is done.

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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. 


The re-education of Roxie Amoroso.

Today I got schooled… and loved every minute of it.

We hit the ground running, picking up Lopez and heading out to Broad Acres swap meet.  Where I scored a sweet pitch fork ($4.00)… and heard a fantastic story about an urban youth holding another fellow up by the neck with the afore mentioned implement of death.  Plus, a lovely gift for Gilby.  Lopez picked up a Muno shirt, SCORE!

Leslie Doyle

Image courtesy of sweettomatotestgarden.com

I was pleased when we were heading back to the Hotel Amoroso with enough time to spare for me to finally catch one of the weekly workshops that Plant World offers on gardening.  Todays theme: Leslie Doyle – The Tomato Lady.  The hour I spent listening was awfully educational and embarrassingly humbling.   The experience was free and I’ll go over all of the notes I took in tomorrows blog.  Until then, you can visit her website the Sweet Tomato Test Garden.

After a quick trip to the dollar store where I picked up some fertilizer, flower seeds & peat cups for seedlings cheap ($4.00)!  Oh, and Tamales I bought out of a ladies trunk in the parking lot for tonight’s dinner, we reconvened a the house.

With the usual suspects just happening by, we had an impromptu Mexican Fiesta and everybody stuck around until I announced I was finally putting on the documentary DIRT!

Dirt

Dirt! the Movie

I’ve been talking so much about.  Please watch this movie.  Even if you’re not a gardener, even if you’re not an environmentalist and most of all it you’ve lived your whole life in a city.

Its a simple reminder that if we’re all doing the best we can, we can accomplish a lot.

Thats it for tonight.  Its the weekend, and I love my family too much to stare at this screen much longer.  Hope you’ve planted well this weekend.  I ironically do LESS gardening on the weekend than I do during the normal week.

Tomorrow: we’ll go over some of the tricks that Leslie Doyle has up her sleeve when it comes to planting in Las Vegas.