Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursdays in the Garden (a new regular feature)

Meet Jay. That's J-A-Y. He was one of the many happy shoppers at the Tohono Chul Members Only Plant Sale this afternoon.

We began lining up before 2. I'm not sure how much before 2, but I was fifth in line. Apparently, the beautiful woman in the straw hat has been first for as many years as the others in line could remember.

I was pretty impressed with 5th.

Jay is a very talented man. He created the perfect cart for shopping the narrow aisles of the plant sale. Look at the size of those C-Clamps.

There is also an excellent collection of bungee cords, just waiting to secure many wonderful specimens.

Jay was about 10th in line.

I'm trying a new approach to landscaping this year - I am actually going to plan ahead, stick to a color scheme, and think about the plant's ultimate size before I stick it in the ground. I'm digging holes exactly the right size (just as deep and twice as wide as the root ball), setting the plants down on undisturbed soil, and protecting the most vulnerable with chicken wire cages. It's hard to know what the fauna will be munching on this season, but I'm guarding the ones with the most delicate leaves and stems. After a certain point, the yard begins to look like the outer edges of San Quentin, so I have to be a bit restrained in the chicken wire department.

Anyway, back to Tohono Chul. I had a plan - 7 white lantana to break up the butterflies-love-it-but-I-think-it's-boring purple lantana in the courtyard and around the pool. Some yuccas to complement the hesperaloes in the front - but I'm resisting the hesperaloe parviflora because Judy's going to bring me some from her garden tomorrow. Two or three cacti to replace the ones that just didn't make it on my program of benign neglect. And one or two things that strike my fancy and make me smile. I was in the grocery store, and I was hungry, but I had a mental list.

The gates swung open at 3pm sharp, and I was ready. I headed for the lantana first. Took 4 white ones and 3 white and yellow ones and then I began to browse. There were so many choices and I had spaces in mind with no particular plant picked out. That can be dangerous. And expensive. But browsing was educational and friendly and surprising - who knew that I could grow a Texas Persimmon tree in my front yard? That oleander can glare at me all it wants. My Diospyros texana will be 15'x15' and blocking the view of our living room from passers-by while oleander decides whether or not to flower.

I dragged my not-as-cool-as-Jay's wagon up one lane and down another and around and around and around until this is what I had

This is what Jay had when I left. I'm sure he had more shopping to do; look at all those bungee cords he's yet to use.

Everything fit perfectly in the trunk. We drove home singing about the admirable qualities of a modern major general, much to the amusement of the kid in the 4x4 next to me at the light. Oh, well.

More on the planting next Thursday.


I have a feeling that some of Jay's friends and family may be reading a blog for the very first time. Welcome! If you like this post, you can click on the "gardening" label in the postscript below and read similar posts. Or click through the archives. Or check out some of the bloghers linked on the sidebar. And be sure to leave a comment; how else will I know that you've been here?


  1. Hi Ashleigh, Jay got a real kick out of seeing himself on your blog! I'm his wife, and yes, we read blogs, and I even have my own. I went crazy at the plant sale yesterday too - just don't know when to stop. That was the easy part - now comes the real fun. We're taking out some of the old non-native stuff in our yard and replacing it with Sonoran Desert natives. A slow but rewarding process. All the best, Carole

  2. I too am a Tohono Chul Park plant sale junky. The plant sale is always lots of fun and has the most amazing selection. I am glad you are sharing the news with others. Thanks

  3. Hi, Jay and Carole ! I loved In the Sonoran Sun, and I'll follow your flora and fauna adventures with interest.


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