Monday, January 18, 2010

I Sat on this Lizard Today

..... which is not a sentence one gets to type every day.

But, there I was, crouching over the gorges I'd dug in the courtyard in an over-enthusiastic attempt to create rainfall collecting berms. Instead of my neighbor's lovely undulations, I had created slot canyons. Gravel (which we use for ground cover and mulch and which can be seen in all its glory underneath my sat-upon friend above) does not adhere to sheer walls. Ugliness existed and I was down there attempting to create beauty.

Timing the pruning of the lantana is a mystery to me. No two authors agree. Out in the courtyard, with lantana to the left of me, lantana to the right, there I was, stuck in the middle with my pruner. (Is anyone else humming a little Steve Miller Band right there?) A controlled experiment presented itself to me. The same plants exist in basically the same environment : close to the reflected heat of the house, sheltered by the courtyard wall, equal access to irrigation and run-off water (should it ever rain again) and sunshine and shade and wind. I decided to prune the northern section and ignore the south forty and see if it makes a difference.

Pruning is the most fun part of gardening..... at least here in the desert where the soil is so unresponsive. My newly-sharpened pruners (is there a better feeling than refreshed tools??) made short shrift of the long tendrils as I squatted on the path. I gathered them up and dumped them in my cart.

Then I sat down to bring the cut a little closer to the center of the plant...... readjusted my position to continue around the circumference...... and voila my flattened friend was revealed!

I didn't scream. I didn't even yelp. I didn't jump up and run. I didn't blaspheme or gesticulate wildly. I apologized.

Yes, the words that came out of my mouth were,"Oh, I'm so sorry!"

I've probably just passed some kind of "now you are a true Tucsonan" test.


  1. It was watching "Avatar" that did it...made you apologize to your lizard.

    And you've made me miss the desert with this post. We lived in Mesa for about four years and my son was born there in 1980. That was back when the Phoenix area was still flooding their gardens and lawns overnight with bubblers, so we had outrageously green gardens. Sure looked different when I visited the area again in '07! Mesa had adopted Tuscon-style landscapes at last. Happy gardening!

  2. These days, grass is a political statement!


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