Monday, September 18, 2017

Another Dang Opportunity

When we recently had to remove a mature Arizona Ash from our back yard, we went from a shade garden to one passionately caressed by the hot reach of the Death Star.  A couple of plants curled up and died before they could adjust, but the resilience and flexibility of most truly surprised me.  They've merely gotten a bad sunburn and the new foliage seems to be growing in tolerant of the increased sun.  Having plants that are native or well adapted to our area must give them a healthy resilience in extremes.

It wasn't just the plants that needed time to adjust.  Mourning the loss of the tree and considering the changes ahead were a bit overwhelming to me, and I'll admit to being fairly grumpy for about a week.  Finally I could see it as just another dang opportunity.  Here's a peek at the good news that grew out of the bad.

As you may know, my garden is all about supporting pollinators.  A variety of bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and fairly benign wasps honor my efforts by making regular visits.  Any plan for coping with changes in the garden had to start with plants that would serve pollinators as food, housing, or as a host for their offspring.  

After a little research, the desert willow 'Son of Bubba' became the focal point for a new bed.  Bees love it, and its wispy growth means it doesn't block the view in my small yard.  As a matter of fact, it's almost invisible in the photo above where it's planted about 3 feet to the right of the end of the path.  Here's a closer look before the ash's stump was ground up:


For its new companions, I chose snake plant (Dyschoriste linearis), red Salvia greggii, Skeleton-leaf goldeneye (Viguiera stenoloba), bulbine (Bulbine frutescens), 'Ham and Eggs' lantana (Lantana camara 'Ham and Eggs'), 'Provence' lavender (Lavandula x intermedia 'Provence'), and Hesperaloe parviflora 'Brakelights'.  All new plants were purchased from trusted local nurseries able to verify they've been grown without neonics or pesticides, so my insect visitors aren't simply attracted to plants that would kill them.  This new area is already alive with hummingbirds and a variety of bees and butterflies.  That's the only seal of approval needed!

Finally it also seemed the right time to replace the bricks that have served as a temporary border for a constantly shifting edge.  It's taken years to convince my sweetie that our home's resale value might not actually suffer from the removal of turf, so each year our flower beds would quietly encroach a little more.  We'll keep small areas of green to help slow the movement of storm water across our lot, never fertilizing or fussing over it; and you can see what we're calling The Great Lawn at the end of the path and new bed.  It's actually slightly bowl shaped so it fills with water that soaks into the soil within a few hours.

So once again my garden reminds me change can be challenging, but that it's comforting and exciting to create the next chapter in my garden's growth.  

All material © 2017 by Vicki Blachman for Playin' Outside. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. 

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