Sick Sick Sick!

That is my excuse for not updating for a while.  Of course I don’t get just normal sick. I get all melodrama, end of the world, hypochondriac sick.  So my sore throat feels like I’ve swallowed a handful of single edge razors and my coughing is so violent I am convinced I am doing internal damage with every loud hack.  When I lived in a house full of people I would go up to the living room when I was sick, collapse on the floor, throw my hand up to my forehead and sigh really loudly so everyone could hear me.  Now that I live alone I just cough huddled up on the couch watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and feeling sorry for myself.

But I am on the mend and I have managed to keep myself a little bit busy the last week or so despite feeling feverish and delirious.

Back in July Gabe introduced me to an overgrown front yard in a place called Varian Ranch that needed some designing.

Just look at this nonsense.  The original landscape was about twenty years old and all the nice stuff had died and been overtaken by the really hardy overzealous stuff.  See that sold wall of green hedge?  That is Correa (aka Australian Fuchsia) and I’m not having it.  Aside from the fact that I don’t think it is particularly exciting I am the sort of plant snob that doesn’t want things in my yard that can survive an apocalypse without losing a single leaf. Give me some precious little dainty that drops all its leaves when you give it a mean look and I’ll give you a knockout garden.

Continue down that path and after about seventy feet of Correa hedge you come to an equally ridiculous rosemary hedge.

Now this was back when I was still living down in West Hollywood so unfortunately Gabe wasn’t able to arrange a meeting with me and the homeowners so I had to do a little investigative research to determine what sort of garden they might like for this space. They had dogs in the backyard, a tortoise(!) pen in the backyard, and lots of bird feeders. I pressed my nose up against the glass of the front door and saw Audubon prints hanging in the living room so I figured that they were probably animal lovers.  Perfect! I had been wanting to design a wildlife and bird attracting garden for a while.  And amazingly they were happy with the design. Though upon some reflection they wanted to preserve the beautiful hill views that surround them so my choice of toyon and California waxberry were deemed too tall and concealing.  So this week I went back and made a few modifications. Toyon became much smaller Ribes speciosum, Eriogonum grande var. rubescens, and Muhlenbergia emersleyi. California waxberry became several cultivars of low growing Manzanita.

Right now all those silly hedges have been removed and the hardscaping is being finished up.  The new plants go in next week.

In other news some villainous winged creature decided to munch on some of my seedlings and when those didn’t prove to be filling enough it moved on to my Conophytum collection.  My Conophytums look like they have been stabbed with a tiny knife.  The whole thing looked like some sort of weird alien crime scene.  I’m actually more sad about the seedlings.  Echium pininana and Chionochloa conspicua seedling were destroyed but at the same time relieved that the mesembs I grew from seed and recently potted up were unharmed.  They were on the shelf right below the Conophytums and are looking very juicy and tasty right now so it easily could have been them.  I bought some netting and rigged up a protective screen around the remaining flats of seedlings and some of my choicer little succulents. Normally I am a huge bird lover and in fact I would be feeding the birds if it wasn’t for the fact that bird seed is criminally expensive.  But if I catch the bird that did this to my plants (I suspect it is a scrub jay) I will bite its little head off. I really need a greenhouse but that is an expense that is rather far away at the moment.  Aside from my new garden expenses I also just spent about $650 getting my car in order so it would pass its smog certification.

So hopefully no relapse in the near future and perhaps a trip to Annie’s this week or next so that I can start planting my own garden.  And maybe some updated pictures of the above garden when it is installed next week.