A Tramp in the (Organic) Garden

Seeds, Smack Talk and Assorted Gardening Madness in South Pasadena, Los Angeles

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Brief Intro

Hello there! Hey this is a brief intro to my life, gardening and otherwise. I live, love and garden in Highland Park in Los Angeles. It's between Downtown LA, South Pasadena, and Echo Park- and it's a veritable mecca of sunshine and sin, lemme tell you. It's a zone 11, according to the USDA, and I think a zone 21, 22, something like that, according to the Sunset Western guide. I don't remember. The soil is clay, clay, clay. Light brown, absolutely no organic matter, and turns into a brick when it's hot and dry. It's crap and I've had to amend the soil like it was going out of style. Alkaline clay soils are very, very typical of Los Angeles and Southern California. You are lucky if you garden in one of those pockets of luscious silty loam. Soil that's actually black and fertile! And it gets plenty hot on the Eastside- so hot that when I go "into the city" which is Hollywood or the westside, I feel fresh cool and relaxed. Aaaaah. Especially know that I have AC in my car...shhhhiiiiiiiiiiiitttttt. Mama knows. Mama knows how to do it up!

Anyway, I started a gardening blog last year by almost the same name when I was sort of lushing it up and could never find it again. Oooooops! Live and learn, I say.

We rent a space in Highland Park- we don't own, which makes gardening a little more of a challenge. When we started- the entire backyard, a space of about 25' x 40' was only dirt except for a mulberry tree in the corner and a huge Canary Island pine. I had a million ideas, but didn't like the idea of landscaping the property completely with perennials with out leaving an area to plant vegetables, other edibles and annuals. We argued and fussed over what we should do with the large tabula rasa space- even getting into an argument one night at The Chalet. Eventually we decided to go with the most mundane of layouts- plant a lawn in the middle to accomadate that little badminton habit, create raised beds along the sides for rotating seasonal plantings, and plant other perennials along the other sides. How boring and suburban! (Gone were my plans of walking through a lush meadow into a small clearing to wine and dine!) And why should I spent $1000 on plants when I can propagate my own? I opted to rely on cuttings and other propagated plants to fill the garden. So that's been a little bit of the running theme of the garden. Buy only the basics and propagate the rest. Friends are only too willing to give you cuttings, and succulent swiped here or there- well who's to know?

The backyard was nothing but weeds when we first moved in, but glorious weeds I might add- filled with ladybug larvae, ladybugs and all sorts of sweet flowers. It was still magical to me even when it was dirt and weeds. I'll try to find a photo somewhere.....but anyway, here are some shots of it kind of recently. In fall when the tomatoes had grown into a wall of vegetation, one this spring, when I hijacked all the garden chairs, stripped off the cushions and used them to hold seedling flats, and one this spring when all the winter plantings had gone to flower and the cymbidium was looking gorgeous. And one of our porch- it looks like a charming cottage. Our house is lopsided! It's all a bit messy, but so what?


At 08 February, 2007 08:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a great site here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a landscape gardening site. It pretty much covers ##KEYWORD## related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

At 16 February, 2007 19:16, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're a great writer!! Please post more!! I'm a plant whore too!


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