So today I rectify this lapse! It was a *gorgeous* weekend, and since I couldn't do anything word-wise until I heard back from the BT, I spent this entire weekend weeding and tweaking the yard.
In truth, due to heavy schedule demands elsewhere, I had kinda sorta let detailed yard maintenance fall to the wayside over the past nine months. How bad did it get? This shot of the firesticks nursery will give you some idea:
I know! HOW CAN I EVEN HOLD MY HEAD UP IN PUBLIC I MEAN REALLY?! It had gotten so bad that when I started working on it all this weekend, several neighbors came over to say "O you're weeding! We're so glad." BOY was my face red, though you couldn't tell due to the melanin and all.
(For the record, cleared the weeds from the firesticks nursery out on Sunday.)
Gotta start back in the winter, during the rains. One of the plans for 2010 was getting the side strip in shape, definitively clearing out all of the crab grass, making it impossible for Shane's Evil Brother to destroy my deer grass, and turning that section of the yard into drought-tolerant Pretty.
In order to do that I needed rain to soften the ground. Our soil is good, but it's largely heavy clay. I needed a significant period of rain to loosen the ground enough to strip crabgrass from an area 4-feet wide by 25-feet long. I was begging the Universe for massive amounts of rain while feeling guilty for doing so because Big Rain meant the people hit by the fires would be fucked up with mudslides. So when these stormclouds started to gather to the north...
...I cheered. I did! I am a horrible, selfish person.
Waited about two hours once the rain started to fall, then I went out there with my big shovel, adventure hat, blue urban cargo pants and a T-shirt, IWW shoes and set to digging up crabgrass. Once the crabgrass was dug out I replanted some of the firesticks culled from the Motherplant, added a brick border at the sidewalk, and transplanted three cuttings from the Redneck Mother Aloe. It took four hours. Here's what it looked like when I was done:
To no one's surprise, the next day I came down with a really bad cold.
And then I went into a long period of neglect-fueled-by-demands-elsewhere, until this weekend. I'm not gonna show you the pre-pictures due to embarrassment. That one up top is enough. Seriously, how bad was it? Some of my container plants had weeds growing in the pots! Weeds in this strip rampaged higher than the firesticks! No wonder I got the "we" comment from the neighbors.
Anywho, though Shane's Evil Brother had cut down my Mother Clump of deer grass last year because he is a complete and total fucking idiot and also we have been Battling with each other for a couple few years now, I had been cultivating smaller clumps of the deer grass in an area he could not get to. (He thinks deer grass, a native plant, is a weed, because he is a complete and total fucking idiot.) These clumps are smaller than the Mother and I had no intent of moving them originally, but now was the time to dig them up and transplant them to the side strip:
If the plan works, those tiny slivers of deer grass will bush out lovely. Then I can break them and add clumps in between the rest of the firesticks along the strip. If they don't die, in a couple of years it will be gorgeous!
Now, in both of those pictures you can see three aloes. Those were snips from the RMA that went in over the winter. They didn't take. In general I give any transplanted item three weeks to get over the Sulking and start with the Growing. You never know what's going to take strong...at least I don't. These three snips decided to Up And Die instead of Grow. So I took them out and replaced them with a snip of a stronger part of the RMA, flanked with two bits from the rescued from a construction site in downtown LA purple succulent nursery:
We'll monitor how that turns out. All of my fingers are crossed!
The purple succulent nursery is among my Pride And Joys. When I took these things from the construction site down the street from the old office, they were dying. I had four droopy cabbage heads that I put in pots and pampered. They responded so well that eventually I had to put some in the ground and some in a much bigger pot!
These things ran so riot once in the care of somebody who paid attention to them that I ended up with more than I have room for! I routinely pluck stems from the "nursery" and give them away. The "nursery" is the pot in the second picture. Those are the ones I transplant or give away. Every time I give away one of these or the firesticks the CFE gets pissed off because he (rightly) points out that I could sell them for good money instead. He doesn't get it. He's also the only person I know to have killed a Philodendron - which, like firesticks, Do Not Die even if you pretty much ignore them or actively attempt to kill them - so I ignore his bitching. My Mom gets it. She's proud of my gardening and my default setting of Passing On.
Longtime readers will recognize that the purples in the ground in the first picture occupy the space where I had planted the Brown-Eyed Susans, which are tied with the Matilija poppy as my my fave flower. But eventually I could no longer justify the amount of water required to keep the Susans rolling. We who garden in SoCal should think about the Big Picture. We are under drought conditions, and have been for several years. Due to global warming, that situation is not going to improve. We cannot justify wasting water on pretty things that are not edible. We *must* be water-wise. We can be water-wise and still create beauty.
I very much miss my cheery Brown-Eyed Susans, but I am enormously happy with the rescued purple succulents. The landlord also loves them. I've transplanted two pots of them over to his side of the house once it occurred to me that he was kind of jealous that they were only on my side of the house. Like me, he particularly likes it when they bloom.
However, my Neglect over these nine months sort of affected the purple cabbage. There's another purple drought-tolerant plant I'm trying to cultivate enough of to turn into ground cover on the far side of the house. (I kinda like purple things.) I can't remember what this thing is called, but I grew tons of it when I lived in Florida and in Palm Springs. The base plant is a pretty purple, and come breeding time it sends out delightful tiny pink flowers. The batch I'm trying to cultivate now comes from a fellow renter neighbor across the street who let me take clippings. "I've never met my landlord," she said. "I don't need his permission. I live here. Take what you want."
For some reason I'm having trouble getting these things to grow as well as in the past. Of the six pots of clippings I took 2.5 years ago, only one has survived, and it's been kind of wuss. This weekend I discovered that one of the plants in the purple succulent nursery has rooted itself inside the surviving pot of the other purple thing! It went all renegade!
I have no idea what I'm going to do about this development.
Meanwhile, one of the cuttings from the Redneck Mother Aloe that I transplanted to the front four years ago continues to Go To Town. When I put her in she had just the five center fingers. She has clearly been busting moves since then!
She is surrounded by the silver falls, and you can see one of the safe area deer grass clumps to the left. Pic taken after weeding.
Weeding rescued one of the four terra cotta stone guys I buried in the space way back when this project started:
Cuddle Kitty decided to maybe sort of actually step outside of the house on Sunday. As usual, this is as far as he got. (The outside world scares him.) That weed next to him? It was so bad that I actually had weeds coming through cracks on the porch!
I aim to do better with keeping up with weeding maintenance this year.
Facebook is not my thing for a whole bunch of reasons only other Black Helicopter People would care about, but I acknowledge that it can be a powerful, effective tool for those who use it for organizing. The WTF With The Whitewashed Airbender folks have been using it as one facet of their multi-platform effort to draw attention to their cause for at least two years. But now, as the release date draws ever nearer, Facebook has decided that this awareness effort is "hateful, threatening or obscene"? For what, talking about this issue? And this from Facebook, which has lots of groups which are actually "hateful, threatening or obscene" (and protected by the First Amendment) all over its site?
I suspect a Hollywood Goliath somewhere behind this corp move. "Follow the money" is one of the most true statements ever made on Earth.