Tag Archives: gardening

The Angry Gardener

Gardening in the Pacific Northwest is actually quite the challenge.  Right now we have had over 2.5″ of rain in 24 hours in one part of the state and expecting up to 3″ more in the next 24 hours.  Needless to say, I am not out in my hip waders pulling weeds.  Some of our “weeds” are actually quite pretty.  I didn’t even know a few of my favorite flowering plants were weeds until my neighbor pulled them out for me.  I was kind of upset, but she is Mary Poppins reincarnate.  Her garden is so pretty it actually makes me angry.  I don’t know how she does it.  Oh yeah, she’s also an interior designer, and the inside of her home is perfect too.  I just love her so much I want to SQUEEZE her SO HARD sometimes.  No really, she’s great..really great.  Lovely woman.

I used to love gardening.  My idea of gardening was to pick out something really pretty, plant it and hope it lives.  I have absolutely no idea of how design a garden, and I don’t want to.  I don’t want a perfect hedge, or bordering plants.  I just want pretty stuff that lives, and if it dies, like my little Japanese Maple, I decorate the dead tree with shiny stuff or shells.  Now I understand zoning, and since my entire yard is shady I am stuck with ferns and hostas, sooo much fun, NOT.

Right now my entire yard is just mud and covered in giant rotting maple leaves.  So all of my pretty things are gone, for now.  I will resume gardening in May most likely.  That is if I have a house.  You see where I live, the trees have very shallow root systems.  We have rain, non stop and wind.  The wet ground and wind helps our trees fall over on a yearly basis.  I have a cedar that is approximately 80ft hanging over my living room as we speak.  Need to cut it down, along with the rest of the trees, I’m done with the pine needles and sap that turns into superglue when it dries onto my car and I’m done worrying about my ginormous trees falling on my house, or across the road and onto some hapless person driving by.  Death by tree is not uncommon here.

I am constantly pulling buttercups, they are my arch nemesis along with blackberry bushes.  WHO BROUGHT THOSE HERE??!!  They are NOT native to the Pacific NW, and I hate them.  They are almost impossible to get rid of.  People burn them or “hire” goats to eat the bushes and roots.  Neither one works for long.  I don’t even want to eat them unless I’m starving.  The only thing they are good for is security.  Yep, even bad guys don’t want to run through our blackberry bushes, they will tear a person to shreds.  So, I leave the ones by my fence along the road.  Nobody wants to go there, and if they do they won’t make it out.

Gardening here also includes cleaning out the gutters.  I have PLANTS growing in my gutters.  I could probably grow all kinds of vegetables up there, but alas I need the gutters to actually do their job and remain plant free.  I remember the first time I saw a bunch of weeds about 12″ high growing out of my gutters.  I thought “NO WAY..only here, only ME!”.

I want to apologize for sounding so angry about gardening.  I am staring at the rain and grey sky and there is no end in sight.  The wind is gusting at 35mph and I’m not a happy camper, or should I say gardener.

I thought, ” If MJ can do it in a barren waste land how can I possibly fail?”  Well I did and have and I don’t like it anymore.  I have ivy.  That takes care of my HOA…they can’t bother me, it’s IVY, therefore my yard is pretty.  It’s like grass, but I don’t have to mow it and it’s green all year long.  I love my Ivy.


Not Quite The Green Thumb

Now I’m fairly new to gardening and being a successful gardener. Before we bought our first house about 7 years ago, I had a black thumb. Two black thumbs. I live in Arizona and managed to kill cacti just by looking in their general direction.

When we moved into our house, being the cheap bastard I am, I didn’t want to pay to have our backyard landscaped. It was a newly built home, so the backyard was just dirt. This project started out as me just being cheap, but it turned into a new hobby and appreciation.

When I first started designing the yard, I realized we needed rocks. Paying for rocks makes me feel weird. I mean, seriously – they’re rocks! I know we’re not actually paying for the rocks themselves; we’re paying for the convenience of having them sifted and separated into sizes and then brought to a store. I still don’t like paying for rocks. But we bought them anyway. Beautiful reddish-brown gravel and pinkish-red flagstone.

See the picture above? My husband and I built that planter, as well as other planters around the yard. That planter was supposed to be for my cacti garden. I was also trying my hand at tumbling glass from old wine bottles. We even had a pond with fish!


We don’t live in that house anymore. We moved about three years ago and now live in a house that is not ours. I have to admit it makes me sad thinking about that house and my first experience with gardening successfully, among other things. Our shepherd, cattle-dog mix in this picture passed earlier this year from lymphoma.

I try not to think about that house, but I ran across these pictures on the computer a few weeks ago while getting prepared for this blog. I thought to myself, “Huh. Where did I take these pictures? That’s a really pretty garden.” Then it dawned on me that this was my backyard. Like I said, for the past three years I’ve been trying really hard to not think about what I left behind. I had honestly forgotten what it had looked like and didn’t recognize the pictures at first.

For those of you that think Arizona is all barren desert, it’s not and one’s yard definitely does not need to be. I’m originally from the Pacific Northwest and miss the green so much it makes my heart ache sometimes. So when I started landscaping, I looked for every single green, leafy plant that was water-wise. The pictures of flowers I’ve been using so far on our blog are from my old backyard.

Currently, I mostly have indoor plants that I care for. And a couple of months ago, I started some indoor herbs. A few weeks ago, I started propagating them, and they’re growing fantastically. So for now, any posts from me that are gardening related will be about my indoor plants and herbs. I REALLY miss gardening outdoors.

Any other budding gardeners (ex-black-thumbs) out there? What have you planted lately?