Spring Into Spring Greening: A Look Into Our Oasis
Spring is in the air, or at least in my mind it is. I have had spring fever since January 1st and have been counting down the days to spring ever since. Lucky for me the weather has been nice and cooperating with my intent. Now that March is here, we have started planning our summer and the 'fun projects' we hope to accomplishing.
Although winter is a nice time for resting, relaxing and sitting by the fire, summer is the time to get out and get moving. And with the days growing longer, I look forward to having more time to enjoy the outdoors and soak up some sun. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in my excitement for warmer days.
My husband has also had his mind ticking on new life and new opportunities for our home. Because we live in the southwest, we have to do strategic planning for any garden or landscaping project we have in mind. The end results make it well worth the effort.
Some of our excitement comes from planning our vegetable garden, and figuring out what kinds of new plants we might want to plant this year. The garden is always a fun project for the kids to help out with because they love starting seeds and watching them sprout. Later in the summer when we can actually eat the veggies, they get so much satisfaction knowing that they planted the food from seeds. Because a vegetable garden equals food for our family, it is usually one of our top priorities in the spring; it is also a priority watering requirements.
The next on our list is to add more xeriscaping to our yard. Xeriscaping essentially means that we choose indigenous plants when gardening or landscaping, plants that are used to existing in a climate that does not get a lot of rain. Therefore we are able reduce or eliminate extra water irrigation.
When we moved into our home two years ago, we planted many native plants in hopes of not requiring too much water. This year, we will add to our native plumbs, wild rose bushes and choke cherry trees, some lavender bushes, a juniper tree and some yellow black-eyed susans (flowers). Along with these drought resistant plants, we are hoping to add to our drip irrigation system, because it makes watering plants so much easier and is quite efficient. Just in case you didn't know, drip irrigation waters essentially under the soil and to the roots. Traditional irrigation tends to lose a lot of water to evaporation. We are also hoping to add some flagstone for a walkway and small patio. This should reduce the amount of mud that gets tracked into the house.
Another project for this year: planting ground cover. We have no clue as of yet what we want to plant. It's an issue we've been struggling with since we moved in. We have a lot of natural grass growing in our front yard and have been waiting to see if it can become decent turf. This is the ideal situation because it requires no maintenance and minimal watering. However we do have a problem, at that is tumble weeds; they tend to grow anywhere, especially in our backyard (they own that spot right now). And they really seem to like our dirt. I really do not envision us starting a tumble weed farm, so it's going to be survival of the fittest! We obviously are hoping the grass will win out.
I have been looking into alternative groundcover and have found that clover has shown good results in the southwest. It seems it can stand up to the hot sun with very minimal water requirements. We are considering planting an alternative grass to help what we already have along the way are afraid more grass will be too much maintenance and water.
As for the tumbleweeds, we are hoping to get rid some of them this year. From what I've read, they like to be the first seeds that spout,. So they generally won’t seed where something's already growing. That's good news! I think this is why we seem to have such a problem around the house. The natural sage and wildlife were disturbed and cleared when the house was built (we don’t have any tumble weeds growing further away from our home). In these spots, the sagebrush, yerba buena and native cactuses are dominant.
Although it is still too early to begin planting, we continue to watch the trees for a GO sign - like new buds swelling. The bulbs we planted in the fall should be spouting soon. The rain catchers we put in place last spring will help us collect water to help us water our yard. Hopefully we'll get one or two more this year. Spring is a great time for us to continue building out our own little oasis in the southwest. With planning and preparation, that dream, our dream, is coming true.