Thursday, October 14, 2010


As I write this post, I think about how much I hated snapping pics of the little imperfections of the El Presidio know...the ones that bother us everytime we step outside our doors. We all like to take pictures of the attractive and beautiful and we seem to look over that which drives us crazy.  Here are some things that drive me nuts and that I'm working on during the upcoming winter months.  It's a big property and so it can be a monster when it comes to choosing which project goes first.  A neglected garden takes years to repair.  This is year 2 for me and here is where I am at......

Notice termite damage on top pic and fungi growing on old rotted wood

The wood.  Our ramadas have issues.  The wood beams need to be replaced as they are suffering from dry rot and are nearly 30 years old.  I have also found dry rot termites in several of the beams. I know I's terrible.  We are taking steps as homeowners to deal with this, but it is taking time.  For the moment, I have vines climbing these beams and covering them.....this is where the weed catsclaw comes into play. Like a string tying pieces together, this plant is keeping several of the beams from moving off the pillars. Wild grape vine has also really taken hold and it's attractive.

The front. There is nothing here to add "punch" to the front gates.  This winter I am going to create several large and long planters that will be rebarred into the space.  In this area, I will plant flowers and castor plants to excite people as they come home.  Right now, it's just plain ol' boring. 

The planters.  Oh the ugly and stupid planters.  First off, who puts planters against stucco?  Dumb people.  When it rains a lot, the water flows into the home.  Not smart.  Another question, who puts trees into planters?  Again, dumb people.  Notice how these trees are tilting and will pull the foundation with it?  Several homeowners don't want me to remove these trees, but I have been asked by several others to do it.  What does my education tell me?  Do it.  This winter, magically, these plants will disappear and something else will be put in their place.  Palms were also put into planters and they are breaking the outer concrete.  I just killed myself yesterday removing one.....but I felt good getting rid of the bugger. They do grow like weeds here.

The fence.  No one will touch it nor do they care.  I have created a natural fence which will take a couple years to grow and cover the missing fence planks. The good news is that the xylosma bushes are working their way up:)

The 4 wells.  In our staircase wells, there is nothing.  I have started planting things in them...well only two.  Evidence shows that many years ago there were once trees in these wells. Notice the tree stump?  It is my hope to put something there again that will not be root invasive. 

Weeds and leaves.  I hate them but as I have my lantana agents working, they are slowly taking over the grounds and covering areas that weeds would grow in.  Thanks to a posting from Noelle over at Ramblings of a Desert Garden, I began to think of lining the walkways with lantana.  It would be a natural barrier to keep the stone mulch in place and be an attractive plant to have guide people into their homes....anyway to "green up" the desert using xeric plants. The leaves I have not been raking up as I want to reenergize the soil a bit and while it's not attractive, it's doing the job.  Several people have complained about the leaf mess, but our soil was nutrient deprived.  Fertilizer is great but leaves also are wonderful for releasing nutrients back into the soil.

The parking lot needs resurfacing

The parking lot.  Ugh.  It's ugly and so are the neighbors....well there are a couple sweet people that are stuck with rotten ones around them, but for the most part, the road leading up to our place is an eyesore. This is a project for down the road, but I am going to put oleanders in those spots...or palo verde/mesquite trees.  This would create a "moat" effect....a garden leading into a garden.  While I write this, I think of several things:)  I probably wouldn't plant a mesquite because the roots break pavement and so do oleanders....I'd probably opt for texas ebony or palo verde trees.

The pool.  Ugly and a waste of money. Plus no one really uses it.  There is also a leak which is costing the homeowners several hundred dollars a month.  The good news is that it looks like a vote will happen and that this space will be filled and a fountain will take her spot....perhaps with a gazebo?  Not sure about that one, but I do know that a Mexican park is what I'm striving for on the property. My mind has images and they look good:)

A strange space.  Future greenhouse?  Perhaps:)
The birds are back!!! But the sucking sounds of the pool indicate that there is a leak causing lots of money to go down the drain!

While this post was difficult to write and snap shots of, I hope that it allows us to take a closer look into your own gardens.  The best part is that anything is possible....with money:) And of course time and ingenuity.  If it's one thing that I am learning, it's that there is a right plant for every space in the garden.  Happy Gardening!


  1. I always love learning a new term, i.e., ramada. I would've called it a pergola, but now ramada's gonna jump in my head every time I see such a structure. It is hard to look at those imperfections in our gardens, isn't it? I've only done a couple such posts myself and tried to make light of the "issues" at the time. Looked back weeks later and wondered what on earth I was thinking posting those pics. I do think, overall, your property is very nice, but I agree, planters against stucco...dumb idea!

    Anyway, I have to say I love your pool! Definitely a unique shape and love the pavers! I am a fan of pools. But perhaps a sunken grotto might be in order if you don't like the pool. I once saw an old pool and enclosure converted to a dripping rainforest garden, but I don't know if one could pull that off in a dry climate.

  2. hi, my english is very mao also.


  3. hehehe, that is a lot of work ahead. If that's mine i will be so much stressed thinking of removing all those "stupidities". Good luck and hope you remain sane after all the work. We will wait for your progress, but be sure to have fun doing them!

  4. Every gardener loves a challenge and I can see you have one ahead of you. You seem to have a good idea of what to do and what to plant. The great thing is there is good structure, apart from the rot on the ramadas. Ready made planters and wells.It will be fun to watch the process.

  5. Looks like you have your work cut out for you but are up to the task. I look forward to seeing the transformations!

  6. It looks like a great project, not easy but one day you will see the reward. The planters could be filled with different succulents or cacti which do not damage the walls, do not need a great deal of attention with water and pruning, but look great. The walls could be painted with a chalky, soft green or other colour you find appropriate. Anyway you have a lot of ideas. Good luck and it will be also fun to make something beautiful.

  7. Titania,
    That is actually a brilliant idea about the cactus....I love it. I don't know why I didn't think about it in that way. It would be so much easier to grow and not have to worry about watering....I had my head wrapped around annuals etc....thank you!


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