Saturday, April 27, 2013

Roses and Worms

All of my rose bushes are in bloom. Here are just some of my favorites.

I like to feed my roses each spring with the dirt from my compost bin that is mainly made from vegetable and fruit food scraps. That bin is loaded with earthworms.

The earthworms love eating those food scraps. There must be thousands of worms munching away turning all the food scraps into healthy dirt just in that bin.

I have two compost bins, one for the food scraps and another for the yard cuttings and other yard waste. The one for the yard cuttings has less worms decomposing the waste right now. Once I start adding the fruit trees waste to that bin, the worms multiple quickly and the cuttings and fruit start to decompose more quickly.  Both bins provide me with excellent healthy soil for my plants. Worms are excellent creatures to have as a silent garden worker.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Never did I expect these tulips to survive ten years of total neglect and drought conditions. Not only have they bloomed each year, but they have slowly increase in numbers. I even dug into the soil to plant this fig tree last year, and other plants are now encroaching them. Surrounding the fig and tulips are sweet marjoram, oregano, and catnip. The fig tree grew that way last year. I will have to train it to grow more upright.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rabbit Ears

The bracts of the Spanish lavender resemble rabbit ears. I have two species of lavender that I grow in my garden, Spanish and English. The Spanish lavender is the first to bloom each year. The Spanish lavender isn't as fragrant as the English, but it is still very pretty.

A close-up of the rabbit ears.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I love the smell of wisteria in bloom. I inherited this plant when I purchased my home. The previous owner has numerous wisterias planted alone the fence. This plant was the only plant that was well established and thriving; so, I kept it. Back then, little did I know that wisteria are drought tolerant. Out of all my plants in the backyard, this one receives little attention from me or water; and yet, it still rewards me with beautiful blossoms and fragrances each spring.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Lawn Is Gone!

Yes, its gone! It's been gone since 2008. I simple got tired of mowing, fertilizing, dethatching, and watering the lawn. I really didn't (and still don't) see the point of spending hours working on a lawn to keep it green and free of weeds. A green lawn requires a tremendous amount of water. I live in an area that is a semi-desert climate in the summer; no water means the plants dry out quickly. Water prices were increasing (and still are), and I wasn't about to waste money and water by trying to keep a lawn green.

My massive project to create a drought tolerant yard started with me researching for possible ways of inexpensively converting a lawn into a flower garden for birds, butterflies, honeybees, and other insects to visit -and for me to enjoy.

I discovered that it could easily be done cheaply, and that I could do all the work myself. I read numerous articles from the internet of other folks' projects and read an extremely informative book, Lasagna Gardening.  I then set out collecting piles of newspapers and inquiring on free mulch from tree trimming services.

Early fall 2008, I mowed the lawn super short, almost to the dirt. I then piled wet newspapers and cardboard on top to smother that mess of a lawn. I was out to make sure not a blade of grass survived. I had a tree service dump a truck load of mulch onto my driveway. I had a massive pile of free mulch. I'm sure the neighbors were thinking that I had lost it and that I would never ever remove that huge pile. I busily worked for a week. The areas that I knew were going to be planted with rose bushes next spring were layered with a mound of good gardening soil before the newspapers and mulch were layered on top.

While winter's wet weather magically work the ground, I rested and eagerly awaited for spring by reading up on drought tolerant plants. By early spring 2009, almost all of the grass had turned to dirt, my garden was ready for some rose plants. The ground was almost ready, but not all the newspaper and cardboard had disintegrated. Even though some paper was still decomposing and smothering grass that first summer, I still planted drought tolerant plants in the areas that I had designated for flowers that first year.

The second fall, 2009, I planted some plugs of ground cover, dymondia margaretae aka silver carpet. And by the end of the second summer 2010, the ground cover which had filled in had the appearance of a lawn.

A lawn that I never have to mow!