Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

When we begin our gardens, it sometimes seems like the impossible dream as we can't vision how it will all look down the road. These next 2 writings are on what I see everyday and how I combat the surroundings of the gardens. The posting for tomorrow will be called "Imperfections." Several postings ago, I mentioned that I would do a walk around my neighborhood and show you the "hood" that surrounds me.  We are a part of the neighborhood known as Miramonte which is located near the Sam Hughes/Encanto areas and by El Con Mall.  When one says the Sam Hughes area, people automatically think rich, but that isn't the case.  One block changes from the next and El Presidio sits between beautiful and disgusting.  Our unique advantage is that we are at the dead end of a street surrounded by evil and light. As I climbed the roof today I looked north, south, east and west.  Let's look at what inspires and what makes me dial 911:) Seriously. Let's start with the positive and that which inspires.......

Sorry...I can't enter the property:) So...

This property is 2 blocks away and is, in my mind, magical.  It captures a look that I would like to have in our gardens. But let's head back to reality. While the Encanto and Sam Hughes neighborhoods are super closeby, I'm still in the Miramonte Neighborhood. On a teacher's salary and dream, I accidentally discovered a place surrounded by some sketchy characters....hence being able to afford our place.  Our home physically straddles the border between poverty and wealth. For businesses in our area, we have a biker bar, a strip club(which apparently they can show everything! barf!), an adult shop, and a bug company. My question is, why can't the bug company create pestisides that get rid of nasty cockroach humans?  The crowds that are attracted to these places can cause disturbances. Take for an example, last weekend when a man beat up his wife, he ran into a neighboring complex and was going to shoot himself in the head. Now we couldn't allow him to do that, could we? The problem is that there are many innocent people around that area.  This incident required a ton of cops and a helicopter at 2 in the morning.  This is about homeowners being subjected to losers that come in all shapes and's about their choices like drugs or prostitution, and how they endanger innocent people around us which include people's kids. Let me show you that which touches our kingdom walls at El my question is how come something so lovely like our place  exist amongst madness?  How has this place endured for so many years? This blog posting will show the purpose of a garden and why they are important for homeowners....

A children's school is on the opposite side of my fence.  The landscaping is terrible except for the large eucalyptus.  The issue with this school, while it is nice hearing children playing, is that they occassionally throw toys over the fence and they hit and break windows.  When I moved onto the property, I grew my fortress of oleanders along the fence and it now prevents kids from damaging anything on our side of the property as the toys get stuck in oleander.  Seriously folks, have you ever thought about how much abuse oleander takes and how it makes an attractive natural fence?'s the kicker....ready? Across the street is poverty city where people who need assistance live....that's a great idea and all but it also happens to be the highest in crime rate for the city.  That is why we have a regular police patrol in our neighborhood.  A man hopped our fence the other night and asked for money at 10 PM.  When we said no, he looked like he would attack us until I called 911.  This place has major meth problems and a prositution ring the likes of a  little whorehouse known in Texas:)  And guess what, the kid's place is right across the street from this!!! If I were a parent, I would take my kids to another place. It's a building made of 3 stories and it represents pure evil in our neighborhood.  Everyone wants it gone because it brings the criminal element into our homes......

Besides this place, there is another nasty apartment complex to the North of El Presidio and unlike the above place, this one actually touches our northern wall!!  Here you'll find empty beer cans/bottles and litter as drunks cross into this sector of the El Presidio Gardens.  My plan is to put my oleander in these areas but the parking lot is paved and I will need to punch holes here to keep the vermin out.  This particular place has had cop raids galore as gang members live in this neck of the "woods" and have tagged buildings nearby...not ours thank goodness.(Knock on wood.) Coming from the Midwest, I was shocked at how dirty Tucson was and I have discovered it's because of the higher number of pigs per capita that live here.  It's a very different world than the one I grew up with in Wisconsin.  If Wisconsin were the Shire from Lord of the Rings, than Tucson would be Mordor. Again, one block can make all the difference in the world.  This is why I employed my cacti soldiers to keep the meth addicts out as well as people who would try to climb our fences.  They've done an amazing job at security....and they don't cost much to have around:)

Evil nasty people live in this place.  There aren't any cars because they are all waiting to come out at night to haunt the city of Tucson. Tucson's version of the zombie....the meth zombies! So how did we end up at El Presidio?  For all that is dark, there also comes the light.  On one side of the west wall, touches the eco friendly 400,000 k condos and on the southern wall, a tropical type condo buffers the evil ones from direct access to our property.  Here you'll find huge ficus trees and a tropical setting.  In this garden, I have created a tropical feel to mirror the other side of the fence.  Fig, peach, mulberry, apple, orange trees were placed to create the fruit garden of El Presidio. However, one block away is beauty and a great neighborhood.  All of us have come together to defend ourselves against the dregs of society. I'd love to think that there is good in everyone, but I have come to learn that there is a lot of evil in this world and you have to protect yourself and your loved ones from it. We've had theft at El Presidio, meth people attempting to do their drug deals on our property, a stolen Mercedes left in my parking spot, fights, drunks passed out in the gardens....well you name it and it has happened. We came here and I took the place over to work on the grounds and I've been noticing that as my garden grows and spreads, it keeps the evil out with appropriately placed plants:) Several places like the one above is similiar to El Presidio in that we are an oasis amongst chaos in our neighborhood. May your garden protect you and keep you safe from the evils of the world.  Create your oasis and you'll discover that the wildlife will also feel it's safe to venture and live....leaving my property, I am always disgusted.  But driving into my place, I smile and, it's so different from everything else outside our walls.  You can suspend reality and create a paradise amongst the hell that surrounds your borders....block it out! With a little time and effort, a bush here or there can make the difference of a calm peaceful garden or seeing white trash sitting in their front yard on their nasty couch with loud thumping music as they use every possible meaning of the word that begins with the letter "f" and I'm not talking "firetruck" people.  If you do like that kind of party, our neighbor has this little block suare on Friday and Saturday night....and sometimes on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday:)

The Miramonte Church a couple blocks away...depending on where you are, Miramonte can look beautiful or ugly to the visitor.  We are caught between both worlds.


  1. You are doing a difficult job of creating your own little oasis in that area. I hope you have continued success with your plantings. It can be frustrating when people just "put up" with their conditions instead of trying to improve them.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Wow, you've painted a very ugly (and scary) picture of Tucson. I think now I would never like to visit there. But perhaps it is no different than any big city. Bless the suburbs and small towns! However, I must admit my first house in a small-town, working-class neighborhood situated me next door to a shoddy rental house, which had a succession of ne'er-do-wells, including drug addicts, drug dealers, squalor-dwellers, and prostitutes. Ugh. I couldn't wait to move. Took eight years. Many years later, in 2004, a hurricane destroyed the house, and the owner/landlord was able to use insurance payouts to fix it up and sell it. It is now a beautiful yellow and white cottage with lovely landscaping! Amazing transformation. (Sorry for that tangent.)

    Anyway, so glad than you can find refuge in your lovely garden. Perhaps you should try bougainvillea hedges instead of oleander.... ; )

  3. LOL!! That's actually not a bad idea...bouganvillea is a great choice. Tucson really is a nice place to live, but like every larger city, there are parts that we tend to look past:)


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