Monday, July 2, 2018

A Volunteer Turns Into a Star

Life in the desert isn't easy for seedlings.  The sun is unrelenting.  The rain is sporadic and uneven, drowning you one day and starving you for months afterwards.  The ground is hard packed and dense; roots have a tough time finding their way through the spaces.  There aren't a lot of nutrients in what passes for soil here; to me, it always looks like dirt.

If the drip system is humming along smoothly, the plants I planted and irrigated do just fine.  If the drip system acts up, strange things begin to happen.  Established plants become leggy.  Blooms are stunted.  Leaves become smaller and more fragile.  Everything looks droopy.

I asked Scarlett's Irrigation Guru for an estimate on upgrading my system; $3500 is more than I'm interested in spending right now.  So I've been fine tuning it myself, considering which tubes need larger emitters, which can be capped off, which need to be extended further out as the plant's canopy gets wider.  

All of this has been theoretical, of course.  It's 108out there.

Still, some things manage to thrive.  Most of those are volunteers, plants arising from seeds pooped out by birds or coyotes or bobcats or quail or bunnies or ground squirrels or hawks or owls.  They don't pay much attention to my yard's Master Plan; this bush ought to be 5 feet further south for optimal viewing pleasure.

Still, it's one of the largest specimens in my front yard, and when it's covered with bright yellow blooms my heart swells.  I thank the defecating beast every time I see it.

But this morning, typing to you, I'm fixated on the crepe myrtle deposited by a helpful passerby right where I'd put it myself.  Just to the side of the gate.  Right in the middle of a purple lantana.  It's pink and bushy and happy as a clam.  There's no irrigation right there, but somehow what's watering the rose living uphill must be enough to keep it smiling.
I'm concentrating on that bush right now, as the world falls headlong into spaces I don't care to contemplate.  This little pink splash of wonderfulness reminds me that serendipity is often in play, that things happen without our help, that the world sometimes surprises us with joy.

Thanks, Crepe Myrtle.  I need you right now.


  1. Thanks for calling out the crepe myrtle. There is a spectacularly unattractive bush planted against the front yard wall. It must go. This looks like a good replacement for it. A little color does cheer the soul in these very dark times.

  2. Mine are on an east facing wall and then volunteer in the middle of the courtyard. Bougainvilla are another splashy smile inducer :-)


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