Pretty in Pink

Since apparently I have taken to posting once a week, and that once a week happens to fall on what I call Friday Eve which also happens to be Thrifting Thursday around these parts, I’ve decided to give Thrifting Thursday a break for a little while. It’s not going away forever, heck, you might even see it next week, but I want this blog to be more than just about thrifted goodness. Yeah, I could post more than once a week, and I always plan to, but then life and work come into the mix. Honestly, after staring at a computer all day at my 9-5 ,the last thing I want to do is look at another screen once I get home. Okay, I do look at the TV and that’s considered a screen, but you catch my drift.

So this week, let’s take a look at what’s going on in the backyard. Particularly, the magic that’s happening with my apricot tree.

pinkblossom1

Here she is mid-March, in all her pink blossom goodness.

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A little over watering has caused some shoots at the very top, I’m thinking they should probably be trimmed at some point. But for now they make for a dramatic shot reaching towards the sky.

apricotbuds

Here she is in early April, just about ready to show her summer green.

Iapricotleaves

I haven’t gotten out there to take a picture of her this month, but she’s in her full summer greens now.

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Which means the dogs can wrestle under the tree without worry of knocking off any pretty in pink blossoms.

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Clearance Plants

Here we are on day 2 of 31 Days of Getting it Done, and it appears that this 31 day challenge will really be a challenge considering it’s 11:30pm on day 2. Maybe I over estimated the hours I have in my day, between 8 hours of work, nearly 2 hours of dog time, and an 1 hour for dinner and dishes (I won’t lie, most days I let the dishes build up during the work week.) there doesn’t seem to be a lot of time left over to blog and do a project. But it’s only day 2, so I can’t throw the towel in yet!

Anywho, on this second day of Getting it Done, I had planned on talking about this great organizational project I had completed, but then the clearance carts in the Lowes garden center happened.

Yup, I managed to fit 4 large shrubs and three smaller ones in my trunk. Bubba (my husband) thought I’d never fit them all in there, but I showed him!

I ended up with:

Two of these, for 7.50 each. They will live in the backyard, and they’ll be pretty big guys once they grow up.

Two more of these, for 5.50 each. These flowery gals will live in the front yard.

Two of these, for 2.50 each. For the front yard.

And one of these, I didn’t read the label and thought this guy was another boxwood. Since, these get pretty big he will live in the backyard.

After unloading everyone it was time to get my dig on. Everything went well, until a few minutes into it, I hit a small road block.

Actually, it was a water line 3 inches below the surface. Why they put a waterline right smack in the middle of a flower bed and at such a shallow depth is beyond me. All I knew was that this posed a slight problem, and I had to change my layout slightly. And when I say change my layout, I mean digging all of my holes three inches closer to the outside edge of the flower bed.  Hopefully, the roots of the my new sticks won’t cause problems with this water line down the road. I guess only time will tell. But in the mean time, this is what the front yard is looking like now.

It’s still looking a little sad, I need to put in new mulch and would like to lay a little sod out there to green things up a bit. Living in the desert has given me a greater appreciation for green things, well maybe not the scary fuzzy green things that seem to lurk in the fridge. I see a fridge cleaning post in the near future.

Once I got the four shrubs planted, I was too pooped to start digging holes in the back for the Privets and the Holly. Plus, it was time for the season premiere of Once Upon a Time, is anyone else hooked on this show? Honestly, I can’t get enough of it.

Anywho, the last three shrubs have been sitting on my front porch for nearly 3 days now. Which has given me a little bit of time to do some research, I found that both Privets and Holly shrubs are toxic to dogs (!). Yeah, toxic.to.dogs. I have two dogs that consume just about everything that enters their yard. So, sadly, my beautiful ,new and cheap plants will not be going in the backyard. In fact, I’m considering returning them, if they are that toxic to my doggies, I’m not sure I want them in any of my yards. Although, after researching the Boxwoods a little more, (after they have been planted) I found they were also toxic to dogs. Actually, it turns out a lot of shrubs aren’t good for little dummy dogs who insist on taste testing everything.

So, I learned a valuable lesson, always research plants before buying them or in my case planting them. You never know what could be harmful to the little dummies you love.

Summer Time

Summer time has got to be my most favorite time of year, along with spring, and fall. Honestly, I could do without winter, the short days of winter, and scraping ice off the windshield on cold mornings when I’m already late for work, and  all the extra layers you have to wear to keep from freezing ones bum off. Yeah, I could live without all of that, but those warmer seasons are bliss for me.  I love the warm weather, especially baking in my car after being in a frigid office all day, the long evenings spent sipping iced tea in the backyard, just perfection. Lately, I’ve been watching our apricot tree spit out fruit like a baseball player spits out to-baccy, not a pretty picture? Well, lets just say our apricot tree is being very productive this summer.

I’ve picked two of those so far, I know it’s not too impressive to some folks but it’s a big deal to this little desertrat.

Do you know how many Silvery Minnows we killed using up their water from the  to get these suckers to grow?

Aside from growing apricots, we’re also growing some water conscience yarrow.

And some Holly Hock weeds, well, they aren’t weeds but they grow like weeds in that they never grow where you want them too. But I’ll take it, they bring color to my barren yard.

I’m not really sure what this little green bush is called, his tag blew away over the winter. I currently have him growing in a pot until he’s big enough to not be rolled on, run over, or eaten by my brat dogs.

Oh yeah, and you may remember my grass fiasco from last year, which can be reviewed here, here, here, and here. Well, the drama continues this year. Although, I must say I am pretty impressed with how things have rebounded this spring. Maybe my grass drama is coming to a close. If only I could keep stinking brat dogs from digging ankle breaking holes in the middle of the yard. Let’s just say I don’t say many nice words when walking across the yard in the dark. I owe you a more complete post on the yard and the grass situation, and how we’ve tried to conserve more water and therefore save more Silvery Minnows that reside in the Rio Grande.

But for the time being, a shot I got of  a bare spot in the grass this year. Looking back at some of the grass posts from last year, makes me feel a little better about the state of things this year. But I am still battling the  stupid brat dogs who keep wrestling over my baby grass so I keep re-seeding in the hope that something will survive.

I complain about falling in dog holes, fighting with destructive wrestling dogs, and worry about the plight of the Silvery Minnow, but all in all, I really do enjoy our yard. And I love that it’s summer time so I can while away my evenings tinkering with grass, avoiding the canyons that my dog-brats have carved into my beloved backyard, and just enjoy the fact that I don’t have to scrape ice off my windshield the next day.

Fortress of Solitude

Just like Superman, I now have my fortress of solitude! Yep, that’s right the wall is complete! Granted, one wall is a row of block higher than I had expected, but that just gives me that much more privacy. Which is quite lovely considering we had zero privacy to start with. Here’s a little reminder of what the old wall looked like before construction began.

Notice the ugly chain link that was serving as a trellis? That would soon be going away.

Here you can see loose bricks.

And more loose brick…

This is my leaning tower of terror. See, how the wall curves slightly? That’s caused from an old tree that had grown right next to the wall, and had been chopped down many years ago. It’s stump had been left, leaving pressure on the old block wall, causing a weakness. But the stump had been there so long, it was pretty much rotted away and came out of the sand pretty easily.

Here you can see how low the wall actually was, we could look all the way down the street into all of our neighbors backyards. In some spots the wall was 3ft high, in others it was 4 ft. The perfect height for neighborhood kids to look over and watch you water your weeds. I’ll miss the kids, they really were sweet. But, I love the privacy!

The morning work was to begin, they pulled up, unloaded, and started tearing down the old tittering wall right away.

Our old  bricks were so crumbly it didn’t take much to get it demo’ed.

Did I mention the amount of supplies needed to get this job done? This only shows half of the stuff they actually used, since most of it was still on the truck. Dummy me, I didn’t get a shot of the truck with all the brick and toys.

Remember that old chain link trellis? Yeah, I was happy to see that go down. I may or may not have done a happy dance.

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get my fortress completed in the two days we had hoped. Apparently, the old bricks they had planned on reusing were too crumbly to be used again. They had to buy more bricks, and put in more reinforcement.

But on the bright side, the dogs liked having new things to sniff over the weekend.

Here’s what the wall looked like after two days of their hard work, and my annoying picture taking.

My plants got a trimming too, I hope the poor little things come back. They were already half dead before my yard became a construction zone.

After keeping the dogs away from cement, that apparently smelled too good to resist, Monday finally rolled around. The poor guys worked another full day, but finally, after 5 full days yard-less, and 3 days of a yard full of brick layers, the fortress was complete.

The doggies love their new lookie-loo holes. The neighbors, probably not so much.

Did you notice the wall seems to have helped with trash being blown in from the street? Well, probably not, since you don’t live here, and don’t see it in person. But believe me, it’s really helped. We’ve had a few windy days since completion, and I’ve had a lot fewer McD’s wrappers tangled within my Rosemary. There was so much trash blown in on these windy New Mexican days, that I just couldn’t keep up with it. I typically pick up trash once a week, when it really needs to be picked up everyday. Apparently the “trashiness” of my yard did not go unnoticed, one of the wall guys politely mentioned that he had hoped all of their trash had been picked up, because they were unsure what trash was already there. Talk about an embarrassing moment. I foresee much yard work in the near future.

Speaking of yard work, last Sunday I went to Wally World with my lovely mother (not the fanciest way to celebrate Mother’s Day, but it suits us), and the good folks over at W-world had all potted plants marked half off! It’s like the little plant fairy’s knew we were coming. And they knew it was a deal my mom and I just couldn’t resist. Certainly a perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day with my gardening loving momma.

Three shopping carts full of plants later, 1 cart for my dear mother, and 2 for me. I ended up with 3 Spanish Brooms, 4 Snowball Bushes, and one green bush that I can’t remember the name of. Plus, several annuals that will go in pots in the front.

Yeah, we may have gone a little overboard, but boy was it fun.  And yes, I am the crazy lady that brings her fancy camera with her to Wal-Mart. You wouldn’t believe the odd looks I got while taking the photo above.

Well, off my fortress of solitude, to untangle wrappers out of my plants!

I need an Armadillo

Yay! We have grass! It’s not much to write home about, but it’s green! Which means a lot when you live in a water conservative desert city.

And not only do we have green grass, but the apricot tree is sort of coming back.

Never mind the dead branches in the middle, those are Annie Dog’s signature. (She likes to jump into the plants and trees when we aren’t watching.)

Speaking of dogs, the grass would be greener and more plentiful if it could actually be watered. Annie and her assistant Goldie, tend to enjoy chewing on hoses, and rendering them useless until being meticulously repaired by Bubba.

Here are the most recent victims…

Hopefully these poor unfortunate souls can be repaired and re-used in the front.

I know you can’t count them, but there are FIVE hoses there. Five hoses that watered the once pretty yard. Five hoses that only lasted a couple of weeks, sometimes a couple of days, due to the rotten beastlys that I have chosen to share my yard with.

Numerous methods of curtailing the hose chewing have been attempted. We have used a quick connect, to remove the hose entirely from the yard, hence, removing any temptations from Annie’s habitat.This didn’t work, because it curtailed our watering habits since the hose needed to be brought in from outside the yard and connected to the faucet. Then,  we used a hose reel. This worked pretty well, as the hose lived inside a box, which effectively concealed and protected it from our canines. However, the tangled mess that became our hose was too hard to deal with. Frustration ensues…So to end the frustration, I am currently looking at some different watering options, but that’s a whole different post.

The hoses and sprinklers are not the only things getting injured around here. Friday while Bubba was trying to repair yet another chewed up hose, he cut through the hose and through his finger.EEK!

Three hours at the urgent care and six stitches later he was good to go.

Maybe it’s time to invest in one of these…

Via

I love the pooch they have on their site…

Via

That look of utter disgust is just hiliarious. That’s the look I want my doggies to make the next time they try to chew through an expensive hose. Of course, I don’t want them to get hurt, I just want to discourage the hose chewing and plant-eating a bit.

By the way, does anyone want two “free” dogs?

Tail Spins

The past few weeks Bubba and I have been shoveling, scraping, occasionally cursing, and wishing we’d had enough funds to higher our own guy. No we haven’t put a hit on anyone and buried them in the backyard, but we have torn out the old xeriscape, weed membrane and all.

Here’s our progress thus far…

{Notice the little aussie shep enjoying the newly un-earthed and muddy dirt that lay under the old plastic weed membrane and pea gravel.}

Here’s what we started out with…

It doesn’t look so bad in the pictures, but it really is that bad. The dirt and dust get trapped in dog fur and carried into the house. Yuckie…so there is definitely a need for some sort of ground cover. You can find more of my ideas for the yard and some before pictures here.

As you can see, we’ve got a lot of work to do. Only half the yard has been stripped of it’s gravel. And that half hasn’t been tilled under and seeded yet. And I am still researching pet friendly and desert friendly plants to put in the flower beds.

But in between all the work and the planning, there is plenty of fun being had.  For instance, Bubba and the doggies have been going on “spins”…

More??

I don’t think so buddy…

Of course both dogs get a spin

But personally I think Annie likes the hug more…

Aww…

P.S. Bubba would like it noted that in the sequence of Goldie being spun, it may appear she was dropped after her spin. But to the contrary she was gently placed on the ground, he was simply asking her if she would enjoy another “spin” around the yard. Thank you, and good day!

The “Yard”

Remember in this post, I had mentioned that Bubba and I are planning our belated wedding party this summer. It will be held in our backyard, which currently looks like this…

Scary, I know!! My poor plants have been “Annie-fied”, and our landscape gravel that served as ground cover has been run across, wrestled on, and nested in so much, it is no more.

The backyard is now a giant sand box with spindly sticks that used to be beautiful plantings.

And we’ve got the  cinderblock walls of different heights and very close neighbors to contend with. Here’s the taller of all the walls, as well as a shot of the neighbors roofs (rooves?)

Here’s a better example of the different fencing levels. See in the corner, we’ve got the one side that is 7ft while the other is 4ft. There are even portions of the wall that are 3ft! I guess a some of our neighbors are more interested in getting to know us than others.

I know cinderblock walls aren’t pretty, but they do provide much needed privacy. So, I am choosing function over aesthetics this time around. The Bubba and I are getting bids from local fencing companies to achieve a more level fence in the back.  You know what they say, “Good fences, make good neighbors.”

Not that my neighbors are bad, but it would be nice to have some level of privacy in the backyard. Ya never know when I might want to do some nude gardening.

 

Anywho, moving on…Bubba and I are hoping to rip out  the nearly non-existant gravel with underlying “weed barrier” and attempt to plant grass. I say attempt, because here in the Southwest we are all on some pretty tight water restrictions. Plus, the soil is pretty sandy, I’m not sure if seed will even be able to root in the stuff. It will take come extensive conditioning to make the dirt grass friendly.

We’ve considered a few options…

1. Sod, this turned out to be entirely too much of an investment for us at the moment. Especially since I fear that any type of green grown cover will either burn in the sun or get trampled on by our sweet puppies.

2. Hydro-seeding which is essentially a spray on lawn that is typically seen on commercial sites and in highway medians. It is desirable to some because it’s cheaper than sod and grows faster than seed.There are some residential hydro-seeding contarctors in our area. So, I may give them a call. However, I fear they may chuckle when they see what a postage stamp yard we have.

3. Seed, this is desirable because of affordability. I could  buy 2 lbs of the stuff for ten buck-a-roos at the local garden center. But…(yes there are lots of but’s in this post), seed is very labor intensive and I am not entirely sure we’d have grass by the time the party rolls around.

There, three very good very viable options. It’s just a matter of deciding how much money and time the Bubba and I are willing to spend on a yard that may or may not hold up to poochies. Oh, that’s another thing, everything that gets planted out back will need to be resiliant enough to hold up to two very active dogs.

Oi Vey! I think I need to lay down!!

What do flowers pray for?

This evening I noticed my sunflowers have come to a point where their heads are too heavy for their little stems to hold them up, so they droop. But to me, they look like they are enjoying a prayerful moment with heads bowed. It got me to wondering what flowers pray for. Do they pray for the same things that we pray for? Do they pray for help in those dark times? Do they praise God in those bright and happy times? Or do they pray for more flower appropriate things like rain and less bugs? Do they hope for the day that they will be plucked and used in a beautiful arrangement? Much like we hope that God will pluck us and use us in one of His arrangements.  Or  do they find hope and peace like we  find in the Lord, when our heads seem too heavy for our stems to hold us up.

This reminds me of a verse that was a favorite of my fathers it’s got nothing to do with flowers specifically, but I find it appropriate for times when it seems that we cannot hold our heavy sunflower heads up by ourselves:

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

So, just like these little sunflowers wait upon the Lord and show complete and utter dependence on God, we should do the same when life seems to make our heads too heavy for our little stems to hold us up.

July Flowers

Last night, the sweetie and I got to work on the front flower bed. If you remember, a couple months back I planted some seeds in the front, I talked about that here. Well, my poor little seedlings didn’t stand a chance against the birds, the wind, and the heat. Hardly, any of them came up, and the ones that did come up, came up in a huge clump of green weeds flowers in the middle of my flower bed. I’m not even gonna talk about the poor baby flowers under the tree. I guess the soil under my majestic Pinion tree still isn’t up to par. So, maybe this year I will baby the soil a bit more with some good ol’ cow poop and the “good dirt” that comes in a bag. Then maybe next year I can have some color in that corner of the yard.

Well, since the seeds didn’t come up I gave in and bought some plants to place in my barren flower beds. Saturday my mom came over and we had a blast going through all of the plants in the garden section of Home Depot.

O.K. we may have gone a little overboard, but aren’t all those colors just fabulous!! I hope they look that fabulous after a couple of weeks in my yard.

Most of the plants I picked up were prennials, meaning that theoretically, they should come back year after year.

So here’s what I ended up with:

Moonshine Yarrow, it’s supposed to be very hardy, and I’ve seen several other yards around town with globs of them.

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Some Black Eyed Susans, because who doesn’t like a Black Eyed Susan, unless you’re Susan.

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And some Yellow Tickseed. No, there are not ticks on them, contrary to what the sweetie thought when I brought them home. They are called tickseed, because their sprouts almost look like ticks. But aren’t they cute?

And some Yellow Daisy’s, because everyone likes Daisy’s right?

Here are some more pictures of what we planted:

I have a few more to plant tonight, so I’ll be adding more photos later. Hopefully my July flowers will turn out much better than my May flower experience.

May Flowers

So, I don’t have May flowers quite yet. But maybe I will have June, July, August, or maybe even September flowers. Yesterday evening I finally made it out to the front yard to spread my seed…heh heh… Hopefully soon, I will have some of these…

And some of these…

And I can’t forget these…

And lots and lots of these…

However, my yard looks a bit barren at the moment. This is what the front yard looked like last night after I cleared away the trash and weeds. Some of my flowers from last year are coming back up this year. YAY! I love it when  something green (other than weeds) comes up on its own! Anything green is a big deal in the desert. So here’s the front flower bed with the few lil green things that decided to grow. Alongwith the river rock that was put in the “landscape” the front yard.

And my BEAUTIFUL Pinon tree, unfortunately, when the previous owners had the front yard landscaped with river rock, they also put down PLASTIC weed barrier. Which is great if you are trying to keep a barrier between you and the weeds, but bad when you are trying to grow a pretty tree.  Here is my tree after I scraped most of the river rock and plastic weed barrier away from the base to let her roots get some much needed air and water. Now my pretty tree can BREATHE! I just know she wiggled her toes when the last of the plastic barrier was removed.

Here is my sweetie watering the newly freed tree from her plastic prison…

Hopefully in a few weeks I will have some sweet baby flowers popping up. But in the mean time, I will supply some inspirational gardens.

ooh…

Aaah…

Quite yummy aren’t they? Makes me a bit jealous that I live in the desert where we often  resort to something like this…

Luckily though, not ALL low water plants and flowers are prickly, like these colorful lil’ fellas…

I just love summer, and can’t wait for my pretty flowers to grow up and make things bright and cheerful. Stay tuned for more garden shots in a couple of months.