Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Fantasy Garden

If you had a yard to plant things in, what would you plant? What plants are you emotionally attached to, or nutritionally attached to, or aesthetically impressed by? Are there particular kinds of fences or other lawn decor that you're fond of? Or particular landscaping layouts?

I'm not going to have a yard for quite a while, because I'm about to renew my apartment lease for another year (and until the local housing market finishes crashing, I'll probably renew it again some more beyond that). And right now, I can't afford anything but a condominium anyway. But I think by the time I do buy, I'll be able to afford at least a halfplex and maybe a house, so I've been thinking about what I would want to plant in the yard of such a place. (It's amazing how time-consuming just finding out I'm capable of buying a home hideous condominium has turned out to be, even despite the fact that I don't intend to actually buy one anytime soon. The thought of eventually doing so continues to fill the vast majority of my free time, with no end in sight.)

I'm emotionally attached to California coastal redwoods, because I've never lived anywhere that didn't have at least four of them. These are probably one of the main things I would miss if I ever moved out of California, because they're easily my favorite tree ever, and there aren't many places in the world outside of California where it's possible to grow them. Also, it's very important to me to have lots of shade, because I sunburn in about fifteen minutes flat, and coastal redwoods grow very tall very fast and thereby provide that. (They are, after all, the very tallest species of trees in the world.) They do need a little watering to be healthy in Sacramento, because Sacramento isn't really as "coastal" as they prefer. But failing to water them would not be likely to kill them outright around here; it would just make them look sickly, and then I could revive them later when I got around to not being lazy anymore. And I love them, so it would be worth it.

It would probably be more sensible of me to grow giant redwoods (the widest species of tree in the world) instead, because they're native to the Sierra Nevadas and I'm closer to there than I am to the coast. But we had one of those in our front yard when I was a kid, and although I think they're more impressive than coastal redwoods when they're thousands of years old (tremendous width being easier to see from a human vantage point than tremendous height), I think the coastal redwoods are much prettier when they're not thousands of years old. And I'm not going to live long enough to see any tree I plant ever become thousands of years old. Or even hundreds of years old.

I'm also emotionally attached to fennel, but I guess I shouldn't grow that, since the California Exotic Pest Plant Council lists it as an invasive foreign weed that's destroying the California ecosystem. But it's such a delicious invasive foreign weed! Much prettier and much more useful than yellow starthistle. Oh well.

The money-saving aspect of growing my own food is very appealing, but unfortunately I just don't like the taste of most plants. And the ones that I do like the taste of either shouldn't or can't grow here! I'm sure I could eat enough bananas to justify owning a banana tree, but it's much too dry here for any banana tree to survive. I could try an orange tree or an apple tree, I suppose (I do love the smell of orange blossoms), but I wouldn't want to eat more than a tiny percentage of the fruit, so the rest would all rot on the ground. Also, the deep groundwater around my neighborhood is so polluted that I'm not sure it'd be a good idea to eat plants grown around here unless they're plants with very shallow roots. Fruit trees might have deep enough roots that their fruit could poison me with all manner of hideous chemicals.

I'm very emotionally attached to moss, and if I could, I'd probably like to have a yard completely covered with moss in place of a lawn. That's probably not possible though, because it would require a really, really well-shaded yard, and I doubt I'll be so lucky. I'd be very happy if I could attract some moss somewhere in my yard, though.

I do like grass, but I don't like it mown down to tiny spikes the way everybody else apparently likes it. I also wouldn't like the work of all that mowing, of course - but even on a purely aesthetic level, I just think tall grass is much prettier and more comfortable to sit on. So I would like a little bit of lawn somewhere, but maybe only in the back yard, where the neighbors won't so much notice how tall it is and hate me for it. Also, the lawn should probably be composed of really drought-tolerant grasses so I don't have to water it much. California melic would be one good candidate.

I'd like to plant a lot of different kinds of lilac bushes, because (1) they're native to this area and wouldn't need to be watered at all, and (2) they have beautiful purple flowers. I might plant sage, penstemon, and lavender for much the same reasons (the lavender isn't native, but they're all drought-tolerant and they all have purple flowers). I would definitely have a lot of purple in my yard.

I used to collect unusual rocks when I was a kid, and I still have my old rock collection. If I had a yard, I'd put most of those rocks in it. One of them is almost a cubic foot around, and very interesting to look at, and used to be in my dead grandmother's yard. She noticed me admiring it one day and suggested I take it home with me, so I did, and I've had it ever since. It's reddish and kind of glassy and appears to be volcanic. Anyway, it doesn't seem to fit in anywhere in an apartment, but if I had a yard I'd like more big interesting-looking rocks like that.

I tend to like front yards with fences in them, but not fences that block the entire yard from view. I like them to be set back a little from the street, with flowers planted in front of them, and with some ability to see through the fence. But other than that, I like a lot of different front yard fences - iron bars, wooden lattice, brick pillars, stone walls, white pickets, whatever. And all fences should have vines growing on them. In fact, there's nothing I like better in a yard than the sight of vines growing all over absolutely every surface in sight. Unfortunately, I don't know of any particular vines that especially appeal to me more than other vines do. I want a vine that doesn't need to be watered, that's pretty all year round, and ideally, that won't provide a perfect hiding place for ten thousand black widow spiders to set up house. Unfortunately, I'm not too sure about what black widows' tastes in vines are, but I think vines with really big leaves and thick foliage that block out the light are probably the most likely to attract them. So I guess I want sparser vines.

Anyway, all this thinking about gardens has made me wonder what your favorite plants and garden styles are. What would you plant if you had a garden?
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