Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Cleanup

Peach Tree, Red Baron, blooming
El Presidio Gardens

Ash Tree Where do I begin? Over the past several days a lot has gone on in the Presidio gardens. Spring is now officially here!! Or so say the trees and bushes:) Our ash tree has new leaves. Yesterday there was NOTHING on the tree. Today, there are signs of life all around from the ash tree to our crape myrtle trees. This is exciting because they are just sticks in the ground and with that little bit of green begins that joy gardeners feel when they see that the garden resting period is over. How tall will a tree grow this year? How many buds will it have? The flowers? Nothing, and I really do mean this, is more exciting than spring and seeing your garden awake. So today it begins on my very appropriate "spring break".

For inspiration today and design ideas, I went to the Tucson zoo. While it's not large like the big city zoos, it still has a nice layout for the animals. One of the things I find fascinating about the gardens at the zoo is that there are VERY LARGE bamboo plants all over which gives the zoo a bigger feel and provides privacy for the animals. Here in Tucson, we are able to grow several types of bamboo which include the Alfonse Kerr Bamboo. On the Presidio grounds, I have planted the Buddha's Belly variety because of the way the culms bulge out during times of stress. At the zoo, there were bamboo specimens taller than the trees least 4 stories high. I sat at the park bench and just watched and listened to how the wind blew through the culms making that hollow wood rubbing sound. It is really quite lovely and I highly recommend it for everyone if an opportunity arises. Another tree that I don't see here in Tucson often is the Silk Tree which has thorns on its' bark. These trees were mixed in with the bamboo and offered a really nice contrast with one another. If you do go to the zoo, head towards the South American entrance first and you'll find this private and beautiful section very inspiring.

Speaking of bamboo, which is not really bamboo at all, is the Nandina or Heavenly Bamboo. On the Presidio grounds we have several "bushes" of these lush plants. But as with every year, comes that painful trimming. I trimmed everyone of those bushes and it was difficult as they provide a lot of privacy. Now some of them look like sticks in the ground....but I know they will come back green and fuller than ever.....they just don't look so great right now.
Our live oaks which are very large and amazing (the whole reason why we bought our place.) are starting to lose their leaves. You see most trees drop their leaves in fall and winter, but not these lovely trees. They decide to drop in March. When I say drop, I mean DROP. Thousands of leaves all over the patio/courtyard....I just cleaned it yesterday!! And if you think that's bad, wait until the pollen drop....what an ugly mess!!! Acorns, leaves, and pollen...extremely messy tree but also a very noble tree that has earned its' right to protect us from the desert sun:)

Finally with our winter rains, weeds have had a blast establishing themselves all around the grounds. I spent several days pulling weeds and more still seem to be popping up!! Roses have buds on them...once the flowers are on the bushes, I'll snap a couple photos. I can't wait to see what happens. It's the first rose garden I have planted and I named it after my favorite librarian at the school where I work. She inspired me with her own rose garden. During April, she brings in all of her rosebuds and puts them on the desk for the students and staff to smell. Every color and every smell....I hope to have created the same feel on our grounds. That's all for today....spring is here folks in the Southwest!! Happy gardening!

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