Wednesday, 22 June 2011
The Best of the Front
[from top to bottom: 1) New Zealand Flax Guardsman | 2 to 5 are unknown | 6) Mexican Palo Verde]
Most of the front yard was both successfully and unsuccessfully landscaped by the previous owners of the house. Some great choices were made in smaller plants, which have yet to fail out and bloom wonderfully at this time of year. But the drip irrigation system is cheap at best, and beneath the woodchips you can see in the background of some of the above photos is awful black anti-weed plastic, which does nothing for the soil or plants in the long run. The purple trees that run rampant across the neighbourhood should be mulching that area - instead their attempts just sit unloved above woodchips and plastic. It's so unproductive.
We're working on taking the black plastic out, and as some of the plants slowly fail out due to lack of water or just poor planting, replacing them with more appropriate vegetation. Vegetation that doesn't mind a little shade, or no water for months on end. Vegetation that wants to be here. Vegetation that's nice and close together to give a big fuck you to the non-native grasses and weeds that love to take over and squeeze them out. It's a fairly simple concept, but it's also fairly simple to get distracted by pretty flowers that aren't built for this climate too. The local garden centers should really stop stocking anything that needs excessive watering.
The Mexican Palo Verde tree (photo #6) is a great example of how wrong some people can get when it comes to landscaping their yards. Allegedly loathed across the southwest for the "mess" it makes (which might be why we could buy this at a local plant sale for less than $5), it self mulches, has lovely pretty yellow flowers and delicate fern like leaves. It needs no water, and provides shade if allowed to grow large. When a dwarf palm tree that had never been planted right failed out a few months ago, we planted this in front of our office window, and it will take care of itself while providing legitimate security for our house thanks to annoying pokey spikes on the trunk.
Most native plants have this level of genius engineering that can work for anyone if you look at it in the right direction. While I appreciate that the previous landscaping has made the whole area low maintenance to start with, I'm definitely looking forward to building it up to an area of no-maintenance so I can spend more time growing food out back. Food is good. Weeding is not.