Minty, Minty, Mint Mint!



So Mister and I dug up a plot of our front yard for the maters. And that will surely be grand. I certainly hope so anyway.



But that left us with the poor, pitiful planter area in the backyard that had been dedicated to the tomatoes last year. They didn’t fare very well, and I have a personal theory that the soil in that area was tainted by years of cigarette ash (as the former caretaker smoked). Anyhoo, Mister got out there and cleaned the dirt, y’all. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s what he did. He jazzed that dirt right up, and before I knew what had happened, he’d gone and planted himself a mini mint farm.



If you’ve never grown mint, there are a few things one should know. First, it spreads like crazy. I mean like a dread disease. If it isn’t contained (as in in a container), it knows no bounds. Also, it’s a little weed-like. If you forget to water it here and there, it doesn’t freak out on you. That’s a good thing. It also comes in about a jillion varieties. There’s the old standby spearmint, of course. There’s also peppermint. But did you know there’s chocolate mint? And Kentucky Colonel mint?



In a few months, I expect the plot to be filled with mint and you know what that means? It means Mister will start making Mojitos. You just have to trust me when I tell you he’s very, very good at it. I am totally looking forward to that fine summer day. Word.

The First Day of Spring



It occurred to me that perhaps I could have written a post about the last day of winter. But I was too late to catch that bus, so didn’t. And then I realized how the last day of winter is very much like the first day of spring. Here in Los Angeles, it’s felt like spring for a while now. I noticed it a couple of weeks ago, when the birds could no longer contain their seasonal joy. Their calendar varies from mine, to be sure, as those little dudes and dudettes have been yakking up a storm for half a month. And they don’t even wait for daylight to begin. Something about that makes me smile. But not when they wake me. I do not smile about that.


Anyhoo, spring has sprung here. It’s lovely, really. The light is beginning to change and it seems that all of nature knows it. Even the hummingbirds are taking a break to enjoy this new season.



As for me, I’m beat. I spent my last day of winter tearing out part of the lawn so that I can plant a tomato patch. The worst part is I only got a little over half of it done. That means that today will find me finishing the job, no matter how sore I may be.




The things I do for food.

The Circle of Life



Yesterday Mister and I awoke to find a dead hummingbird outside the kitchen door. The feeders are located nearby and we don’t know if he mistakenly flew into the glass or what. (Mister thought I should title this post “The Circle of Crack,” as those danged hummingbirds can’t seem to get enough of the syrup we make and place in the feeders.)


The little guy was just lying there. He was still beautiful, even in his death. (And though this specimen is all browns and is probably a female, I’ll keep referring to it as a male.)


I love hummingbirds. I love anything that fertilizes my plants and helps my food grow. I see dead honey bees all the time, and that’s heartbreaking, too. Seeing this little guy is just as sad for me.


Right or wrong, I placed the little guy in the yard. He’s part of the circle of life. And that’s okay. It really is.

Another Chance



Remember when I posted the above photo and shared how I’d missed my opportunity to take an awesome pic of the cactus flower at the new pad? Well, that cactus done gone and went and give me a second chance…



Actually, she’s got 9 (!) buds on her, so I’m blessed with multiple chances.


I love how gorgeous the flowers are. How something so soft and lovely springs forth from something so hard and prickly. The juxtaposition of those two forms gives me the smilies, I tell ya!


Mister and I are enjoying these cactus flowers as much as possible. We know they won’t last and we want to appreciate them while we may. Apparently, the bees know these flowers won’t last, as well. It would seem we’re all getting our fill…


Back to the Garden – Eventually



At some point, Mister and I will have to decide how to handle our yard. It’s mostly grass, and while I’m sure that served the previous caretakers, it isn’t exactly my thang, y’all.


Grass is a tremendous water-suck. And I just can’t justify wasting any more of that precious resource than I already do. (And I do.) As it was 92 degrees here yesterday (!), I’m thinking the summer will be a warm one. Grass would need any and all available relief, and that equals money and, as I said, water-sucking.


My hope is to do some serious xeriscaping. I’m all the way down with native plants, and even though it will be a lot of work, I think it may pay off.


I snapped the above photo in Hollyweird. I’m looking for ideas, and this little garden – on a big, busy street – was calming. I don’t know what kind of watering those succulents need, but I did appreciate the composition.


As for our little plot of land, my hope is to have a beautiful, natural yard. I will have areas that require watering (citrus, fruit and – duh – tomatoes!), but I want to be smart about the placement. I want to group the water-sucking plants together, and let the rest go native. None of this will transpire any time soon, but I’ll get back to the garden. Eventually.


In the meantime, if you have any awesome ideas or favorite Southern California native plants, please share! I’ll take all the inspiration I can get, yo.