Saturday, August 28, 2021

Plants and Animals

It's becoming clear that some landscape simplification will be required.  The woman who used to live here really enjoyed gardening.  She was out everyday with the clippers and other equipment.  It appears that the planting paradigm here is to plant many things close together including trees that are going to get really big.  Anyway, we have one dead pyramidalis and three sick ones in the back yard.  It's odd that they're doing so poorly, generally they are a hardy plant.  However, these are not - so I guess we'll be cutting them down.  We can't replace them, someone else would have to dig out the root ball, so we may just take them out and not plant new.  Getting a stump grinder back there would require driving over the neighbor's yard, which is a non starter.

We decided to give the hibiscus another chance at life.  This is why.  There is a gas fireplace in the living room.  This is the exhaust for said fireplace.  Talk about unattractive.  So, we thought maybe the hibiscus should be spared because it camouflages the exhaust.  It's a really large, unattractive thing.  There's a lot going on in this picture.  Look at the bottom and notice all of the dessicated white things.  Those are dried up dropped blossoms, laying in the lava rock.  That's a problem because lava rock is very light weight, so you can't take the blower to it.  So, after cutting the bush back, we picked up all of the debris with our fingers.  You can also see the window well in the picture.  It's full of decaying blossoms.  Jim's response to today's clean up is that he's doing this once.  I think the hibiscus is toast.  We're on the hunt for some sort of a screen to go in front of the vent.

This was yesterday.  This plant was massively overgrown and invading the front porch.  We took the brand new hedge trimmer to it.  The trimming is not the problem, it's picking up all of the plant bits. 

We also did the hedge.  It was pressing up against the house, which is bad for the house.  Since I am the smaller person, I cut my way in next to the house with the trimmer.  Trimming is fun, picking up the bits, not so much.

This neighborhood has many very large rocks.  If you look mid photo you can see a water feature, cascading down a giant rock.  I need to get out and get some pictures of them, they're just amazing.  Anyway, I'm not clear on how this recirculates.  There are many water features on the street.  We have one, but it's turned off and is full of algae.  We're afraid to turn it on until we clean it out.  I did buy the little floating things that kill the mosquito larvae.  They work!

Yesterday we saw a cat stalking a group of 7 or 8 quail.  We thought the quail would fly away, or at least run.  But no, they turned and faced the cat and started yelling at it.  The cat backed down.  People let their cats out here.  I haven't seen that in eons.  Tucson had too many coyotes, cats make good dinner.  There are three cats that roam our cul de sac.  There are almost no birds, so I guess they're not going to extinct any breeds.

Later I saw movement out of a window.  There were wild turkeys in the side yard.

They walked around to the front yard and moseyed on off back into the woods.

We've been told there are white tailed deer here, but generally they are not too destructive.  I was not expecting turkeys in the side yard, or the quail. 

I saw this photo on twitter.  Can you imagine what it feels like to walk off the airplane and in to a new world?  These people are so brave.

So, we're tired once again. Since we got here, we've been sleeping very well.


  1. I have never been a yard work person. But I can appreciate the efforts of others. And yours is really pretty. So green. My back hurts just thinking about having to pick up all the debris.

  2. From the shape of the leaves and the spent white flowers I think your hibiscus is an althea, what some people call Rose of Sharon. They're hardier than the tropical hibiscus. Same family, both mallows.

    a very different environment than Arizona but I guess y'all are from around there.

  3. Love the turkeys! And I haven't seen quail in many, many years. We used to have lots of them in Florida when I was growing up buy they all vanished -- victims of cats, I suspect!

    Would it be so terrible to just leave the blossoms on the rocks? They'd decay soon enough, and the bush probably doesn't bloom all the time. I can see how you might want to sweep up the ones in the window well, though.

  4. Wild turkeys. I think that will be worse than spent flower blooms. I suspect you'll need a pooper-scooper! I'd leave the unknown hibiscus - could be a mallow and die back at the end of the season. Could be an althea which will just lose its leaves. But they are pretty and bloom all summer.

  5. Sounds like you've got your work cut out for you getting the yard ship shape. You are off to a good start.
    I love the turkeys who came to visit.

  6. How cool to see those turkeys! Looks very pretty there, and nice to move into a yard that has been (for the most part) well-tended. We will be starting from complete scratch when we finally move into our new house next year, and it's daunting, to say the least. Can't wait to see more of the house!

  7. How utterly changed is the landscape you now wake up to. What a remarkable world we live in. I love that your relocation helps me to remember the diversity of nature.