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June 07, 2004: G is for green

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I realized that it is now way past spring and I never did a pictorial update on our backyard. While some of the flowers have come and gone and some of the plants have exploded in size while others look as if they might need replacing (or at least some strong encouragement), overall the backyard has turned into something lovely. When people come over, it is inevitable that eventually someone will wander out into the backyard, and before you know it, there are little clusters of people, either running around on the grass (usually that would be the toddler / elementary school set) or perched on the wall of the flower bed we built with our own little (scraped up and very sore) hands. It seems like every week, there's something new to go outside and see. All summer the curly sage has been doing its best to cover as much area as possible, and lately the day lilies have been slowly blooming.

That flower bed, by the way, is taking off like crazy. I cannot speak highly enough of High Country Gardens. The plants they sent us have all done wonderfully so far, and if one or two of the primroses are struggling, that's more to do with my tendency to forget to do their weekly watering than any fault of plant quality. I have already picked out the collection I intend to get next, and sometime next winter or early spring that strip of water-guzzling grass beside the driveway in the front yard is going to be ripped up and replaced with yet another colorful assortment of drought-tolerant goodies.

The trees and other green things are doing pretty well too. Our little white peach tree is going to overload us with fruit, I can tell that even from the first year. We yanked off over a dozen little immature peaches when they first started to appear, and finally gave up last week and yanked off all but 1 of the remaining 6 peaches we'd allowed to grow, because they were so heavy I think the branch might have bent too far and broken. The walnut tree thinks that it is in a race to grow as quickly as it can, and I can see now why my mom always talks about how their walnut tree is trying to take over the world. And the pomegranate tree, which looks more like a shrub than a tree, has finally produced two brilliant red flowers that I hope will turn into actual pomegranates by the end of the season.

I am already pondering a few additions to the selection of fruit trees we originally planned for. There's one final section left to plant with trees, so I think perhaps we'll add a pear and a satsuma orange tree to the mix. Both of those grow quite well in this area, and I know I will have no problem foisting extra fruit off on various friends and family members if we get overwhelmed.

The fruit trees are the ones that amaze me most of all. It seems like such a basic thing a tree, some dirt, some water, but somehow they produce huge, juicy fruit from such very basic ingredients. Mother Nature sometimes leaves me in awe. Every time I go out and look at that one peach left on our tiny little tree, or peer at the slowly unfurling pomegranate flowers, or check the walnut tree for progress, it hits me how amazing it all can be. And if nothing else, having these things in our yard is a gentle reminder to me of why we are living where we do. I may not like the heat, and I may not like the higher cost of living, and I may wish for mountains and snowy winters and maybe a little less wind in the spring and summer to make my biking habit a little easier to feed, but you know what? I can deal with all those little inconveniences, if it means I can have walnuts and apples and pomegranates and oranges and peaches right outside in my back yard.

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