Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Garden Tour

[Picture heavy post.]

The garden looked so pretty in the early morning sunlight that I just had to take some pictures, so I thought I'd share them. I garden in a small yard in suburban San Diego (zone 10) that is dominated by a swimming pool, so most of my garden is in raised beds and containers. It's still pretty early in the season, so the garden isn't quite in full swing yet.

Starting in the corner by the house and moving clockwise:

The structure on the left houses the pool equipment, and those stepping stones lead to the fenced dog run/utility yard on the north side of the house.

That rocky looking bank is a waterfall I built for my husband. It has a recirculating pump and a small pool at the bottom.

We installed this umbrella over the hot tub a couple of years ago to provide shade for lounging. It's one of my favorite additions.

This is the bed behind those red chairs.

And this is a picture of the waterfall and hot tub from the other side of the garden.

The space behind the pool is only about four feet deep, and there is a street behind the fence, but the thick vegetation disguises both those facts pretty well. Gardening up there is a challenge; I have to inch along the bricks, dodging the dangling vegetation while carrying my tools. One of these days I know I'm going to fall in

A closeup of my favorite garden ornament, which overlooks the pool.

This picture shows the deck the KH and the boys built last summer after the puppies destroyed the small lawn that used to be in that space. I absolutely love the deck. The lawn never looked good, used too much water, and didn't get used for anything. The deck is a perfect lounging spot for dogs and people and gives me tons of space for containers. And thanks to the composite material we used, it is completely maintenance-free!

This is my cooking/dining area. We cook and eat out here often during the spring and summer. I want a counter to put at a right angle to the (covered) grill for a prep area. I also have a storage bench in the garage that is going to move out here to hold pool towels and provide more seating.

The chicken garden is located in the side yard on the south side of the house.

It is gated to keep the dogs out and the chickens in.

I used to grow vegetables here, but growing trees have shaded the area too much for most vegetables, so I am now filling the raised beds with flowers for the chickens. They like to eat brightly colored blossoms.

The right side of this garden is still in full sun, so I have dwarf citrus trees, tomatoes, strawberries, and herbs in pots growing alongside the house. You can also see the chicken coop with the ramp coming down. The chicken coop is actually a rabbit hutch which the KH enclosed with plywood on the sides. I made curtains for the front which fasten down to keep the heat in at night. The KH built that cute ramp so the girls could get into the coop by themselves. They go in after the sun sets, and then we close the door and fasten the curtains to keep out predators and cold. They have nesting boxes in there, and it's very cozy.

I grow lots of fruit trees in containers. This grouping has a weeping mulberry, a kumquat, a miniature peach tree, and a miniature nectarine tree, among other plants.

The tree in the foreground here is a Valencia orange. Not a good choice for a container, but I planted it several years ago when I was still new to gardening. It does give me a few oranges every year.

This corner is my favorite hangout spot. It is almost always in part shade, which is perfect for me. That is a solar lantern. I have five of them on the deck, and they're wonderful. They provide a surprising amount of light, and it lasts from dusk until dawn every night. The "birdhouse" in the back corner is our old mailbox, which we had to replace with a locking mailbox after a rash of mail thefts.

This is a loquat tree--producing fruit for the first time this year!

If you don't live where loquats grow, you've probably never tasted one. They don't keep well at all once they're picked and I've never seen them at the grocery store. They are about the size of a large apricot, with a smooth, thin, tough skin. You have to peel this off to eat it, unlike an apricot. When they're ripe, the skin strips off easily. Each fruit has two or three very large, smooth seeds, so there isn't much fruit on each one. The flavor is a little like an apricot, but stronger and more citrus-y, with a sweet-tart zing. They're delicious!

The loquat anchors Molly's memorial corner.

The boys and I made this stone to commemorate her life. The other dogs like to lie in the shade of this bed. It always makes me smile.


Khalila said...

What a beautiful space! Someday... :)

weezalana said...

What a fabulous outdoor space you have! We have dirt with dead weeds. So very sad.

Lydee said...

Beautiful gardens. i am amazed/envious at the all of fruit trees in containers. yum! and what a lovely pool. so glad you shared the pictures with us. it's a wonderful inspiration.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful *yard*! Clearly, you love it, too -- it shows!

Jean Baardsen said...

Beautiful! I really enjoyed the tour!

At Home Mommy Knits said...

What a great yard. So envious of the pool and patio!!

Kristen Rettig said...

What an inviting garden space. Looks perfect for a party!

Strickmuse said...

What a beautiful yard, just shows that a great backyard does not need a lawn.

Cynthia said...

That was fun! As I went through your tour, I kept thinking of my own tour: "Here's a bunch of weeds in the garden we'll be planting soon. Here's a half-painted fence. Here are shrubs that need to be taken out. Here are more weeds."

SwissKnits! said...

I LOVE your backyard!!

And... I can say that I have had Nespole, in Sardinia, Italy... they are Loquats!!! I had to do some 'Google' work to double check... They are Delicious, and addictive!! and yes, I have only had them while in Sardinia, never anywhere else...


Anonymous said...

What an inviting & beautiful backyard you have. Sunset magazine material? Loquats - haven't had those in many years - they are good!

Patty said...

Ahh, Suzanne. I haven't had the chance to visit in SO long. I love that you've shared your beautiful space with us! It is stunning (particulary to those of us who had snow just three weeks ago!). Were the solar lanterns hard to find?

I love, love, love Molly's memorial place and the fact that your current canine family members share that space too.