Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m in love again with the backyard. I love this space. It’s wild, peaceful, quirky. Yet, in the last year, I’ve let the back yard has go WILD. Not quite September 2004 wild, but nearly.  I’ve given the trees in the backyard FOUR full growing seasons to show me what they’ve got. The lemon tree produced the past two years (ONCE a year, not twice, as it should) and the orange tree is holding its own. However, the heritage rose has been out of control and the ornamental tree in the corner has done NOTHING for four years.

I”m going to re-do the backyard. While I’m willing to accept some of the existing elements (fig tree, the deck I built a few years ago), I’m going to remove some that just aren’t working. Primarily, I’ll re-organize the yard to better suit my growing needs. It’s my goal to have a three-season veggie garden spread all around the yard, utilizing the odd light patterns. To do this, some of the hardscape is going to be removed/re-organized.

I’ll update the blog as more things go in the ground.

Here’s the plan:

1. Reconfigure the planting bed between the fig tree and the studio. This raised bed serves no function and plants struggle to grow there. I should say, no veggie or native plant will grow there once the fig tree’s in full bloom.

The hardscape and under-performing raised bed---prior to clean out.
The hardscape and under-performing raised bed---prior to clean out.
2. Back deck (full or partial shade): clean/wash the mexican blue rock, lay newspaper (weed barrier) and plant ferns and native violets. Two ferns are in the ground now as are the violets. Need to get more. Bleeding hearts, a Sierra Nevada mahogney tree/bush (perfect understory plant!), and golden currants (all purchased). Add a few container veggie boxes— i’m thinking brocolli and kale for now. They will do well in partial hot shade.
Between deck and back fence--- recently installed ferns, native violets, newspaper for weed control and mexican blue rock. More rock to be laid down soon.
Between deck and back fence, more rock to be laid down soon.
I love my 100 year old black mission fig tree!
3. Reconfigure the veggie garden/hardscape behind the house.  This will be the most challenging, I think. Not sure if I’ll get it completed this season as I may want one more growing season to figure it out. However, until then, I’ll do container veggies and begin to move things around, as time allows.
Along the fence, pre-clean out
Facing fence prior to clean out.
post midpoint cleanout. Fruit trees pruned and trained on fence. Heritage rose pruned. Ornamental tree removed.
Mid-point clean out. The green patch is NOT grass, but rather a noxious non-native grub weed that is quite prolific and annoying. Fruit trees pruned and trained on fence. Heritage rose pruned. Ornamental tree removed.
Between the fig tree and the fence---where the blackberries and shade-tolerant veggies will go
Between the fig tree and the fence---where the blackberries and shade-tolerant veggies will go. Sweetpea's not convinced she likes the cleaned out version.
5. Between the house and the garage, transplant strawberry plants (20 6 packs purchased and ready to go in the ground) with hot lip salvia interspersed. I may dismantle the large raised bed towards the front of the house now. That’s the location I’d like to place the outdoor shower, though I need to get the hot/cold pipes plummed in this location. The strawberries will act as ground cover in this difficult spot and give Siddhartha great joy— strawberry grazing here we come!
Between the house and the neighbors garage (pre-clean out)
Between the house and the neighbor's garage (pre-clean out)
Midpoint clean out. Strawberries and salvias going in soon.
Midpoint clean out. Strawberries and salvias going in soon.
Clean out complete. Plants going in. Note the newspaper for weed control. Newspaper will be covered with a thin layer of mulch
April 19, 2009, Clean out complete. Plants going in. Note the newspaper for weed control. Newspaper will be covered with a thin layer of mulch
Strawberries and saliva planted
Strawberries and saliva planted
Side yard (strawberry fields). Facing fig tree and rest of back yard.
April 19, 2009 update. Side yard (strawberry fields). Facing fig tree and rest of back yard.
Facing fig tree, 4.30.09
Facing fig tree, 4.30.09
4.30.09, Sweetpea in the side yard window box
4.30.09, Sweetpea in the side yard window box
Sky Harbor sitting pretty on the back deck. She follows me around, always comes to check in---all the while, Siddhartha comes and goes and returns to his spot on the futon, inside.
Sky Harbor sitting pretty on the back deck. She follows me around, always comes to check in---all the while, Siddhartha comes and goes and returns to his spot on the futon, inside.
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