martes, 12 de enero de 2010

Landscaping, Take 1

Even as the rain showers came less frequently and my plants displayed a thirsty look, I denied the reality of yet another long, hot Dry Season. I gazed hopefully at passing dark clouds, willing even a short downpour, a fly-by shower, a few measly drops??
Alas, observing the soil change from dark fudge to powdered cocoa I am face to face with my denial. Rainy season is OVER. Hot sun and strong winds parch the garden on a daily basis, leaving me (and the bike-powered water pump) responsible for all watering needs.
The winds are currently my most challenging natural foe. The charming screened doors we designed to encourage constant air flow are now ushering in more than just fresh breezes.
Each morning (and afternoon) fresh piles of dust, dirt, and loose plant matter remind me that my novice landscaping of the practically bare dirt area surrounding the house is, indeed, novice.
Note the whimsical lack of window pane

Scraggly weeds have sprouted up in unseemly patches amongst which I am attempting to grow more attractive ground cover, such as the clover-like maní,
whose hearty roots and cheery yellow flowers have no problem taking over my garden, but here display an uncharacteristic shyness.
Despite its green paint job, our chain link fence remains a monstrous metallic eyesore; AND fortunately, the ideal medium for climbing plants! While the luffa tackles one end, a strategically placed passionflower vine is winding its way along the opposite end.
I eagerly await its fantastic blooms and tangy fruit ;)

Other attempts at beautification include a nopal cactus wall:
Amazingly robust, nopal, or prickly-pear cactus, sprouts new "pads" when nestled into basically any soil; not to mention they are edible!
Nicaraguan cuisine, by the way, does not feature nopal cactus. It does grow well here, is touted as a therapeutic superfood, and with the help of a Mexican chef, tastes delicious!
So if nothing else, we'll be dining on farm fresh prickly pear. I am really hoping that the cashew, coconut, cacao, and guava trees will also prosper, growing to great shady heights & producing copious amounts of tasty fruit. [All of these are, at this point, tiny saplings braving the desert-like conditions of my backyard and worse, my fledgling landscaping abilities.]

lunes, 4 de enero de 2010

curly-Q flowers

Actually, the curliness is in the seed pod....
While passing this colorful flower in front of a neighbor's house, my friend Jenny grabbed a handful of seed pods from each of the pale pink, fuchsia, and purple blossoming stalks. After a couple of days in the sun, the fuzzy pods curled up all cute like, then released small black seeds.
Nonchalantly, I planted handfuls of the curly flower seeds next to my doorsteps, a half-hearted attempt to beautify the bare dirt entryways that tend to accumulate junk (coolers, buckets, bicycle tires, you name it). I know this is very bad feng shui, i'm working on it.

What'd ya know???! A mere six weeks later:
Now i understand why so many others line their fences and patios with flor de China, as it is known around here, (no idea of its english name, though i'm fine with Curly-Q Flower.)
Dense green leaves and dazzling colors are sure to disguise, or at least draw the eye away from, our junky doorways. And according to the laws of feng shui, cheerful healthy flowers invite positive energy flow into the home.
There you have it, step 1 of my Landscaped Paradise in progress ;)