Monday, April 14, 2008

Landscaping update

Here's where it all started.

This is the job part way done.

And now, the finished product!

Well, the hardscape is done.
Hopefully the plants will be next, though we may do the front yard first and wait to plant in the autumn when things are cooler. On Tuesday the masons finished up the backyard courtyard. We were hoping to start enjoying it the next day, but a cold front accompanied by thunder kept me inside. Gus was working major overtime and didn’t get home until dark. Still, he would turn on the light and go outside and sit for an hour or so each night. Friday morning was glorious and we sat outside for breakfast before he had to leave for work. We anticipated a fun weekend relaxing in our backyard, but at 4 a.m. Saturday morning I awoke to a crash. I jumped out of bed thinking the cats had knocked something over in the house, but a quick search revealed nothing broken. When I finally turned on the back light and opened the slider I found one of my potted plants smashed on the brick when the wind toppled it over. I decided it could wait until daylight to be picked up. (Notice the flag full out in the photos.)
When I opened the curtain at 7 a.m. Saturday one of the new chairs was toppled over and the cushions were threatening to blow away in the wash as a full gale force wind blew in from the south. It stayed that way all weekend with a brief lull on Sunday evening, when I was able to capture this picture of the sunset as seen from our new "balcony." So, I sit inside and look out at my new yard with anticipation and delight.

Today the wind is howling again, though not quite as fiercely. The morning low was 60 degrees Fahrenheit but this afternoon it is pushing 95F. When I walked the dog this morning, I noticed the ocotillo and hedgehog cacti are in bloom. Palo Verdes are budding out with a few blossoms already opened to the sun. Desert willows have new leaves all over as well as mesquite. Creosote bush has blossomed and is already going to seed, their tiny yellow flowers turning to miniature dandelion-like puff balls on the bush. The guara I planted out front have started to grow and some are already blossoming. I call them “Whirling Butterflies,” but they are also called “Wand flower.” They are one of my favorite plants since they are low water use and pretty. The flowers bloom along the slender stems and whirl about in the wind or breeze. Tomorrow my friends from Audubon are coming early to bird the wash with me and I am anxious to see what we will see.

I had a bullock’s oriole on a firecracker penstemmon in the wash just last week but of course it flew off before I could get my camera. I saw my first white-winged dove of the season here on Tuesday and my first swallows on Friday evening. Perhaps the purple martins are back. Perhaps I will find out tomorrow. Kathryn of Out With Ari wrote about the smell of snow in a recent Blog Post, well, here in Sycamore Canyon the predominate smell lately is of dust. It’s a dry and sand-like smell. The scent seems to dry your nose out even as you breathe in. We are heading into dry summer, May and June, the two hottest and driest months of the year. I am starting to see more insect activity as well.


jalynn01 said...

WoW! Your landscaping turned out beautiful. It was hard to visualize but the finished product is wonderful! AND the sunset was to die for!! Great view.

Pappy said...

I like the result of your labors. We live in similar areas when it comes to weather extremes and the suddenness of their approach. We occasionally have to tie things down and we too know the smell of dust. Great post.

Aunt "B's" Backyard said...

Hi Kathie! The work was certainly well worth the finished product. So much work with all of that brick work. The plants will be the finishing touch. It's BEAUTIFUL!

Kathie Brown said...

Jalynn01 Thank you. There will be even better sunsets during the monsoons when the skies are full of clouds!

Texican, yeah, dust and wind and dust in my house too. Oh well. right now the smell of rain would be a welcome relief!

Aunt B, We are already enjoying it. I'm so glad to be able to walk out the door and use most of the yard. We use to live on the cement pad under the covered patio. Now we can walk anywhere without tracking in dirt! We hope to plant shrubs and flowers that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies. It will be even nicer when the plants are in, but at least we can use it for now. Thanks for stopping by. Your picture always looks so cheerful!

Kathryn and Ari said...

Thanks for linking to our post! What I remember from living in AZ is less the smell of dust and more the feel of it as it pelts your skin during a sand storm. Ouch!!

Stacey Olson said...

beautiful job on your yard. I can hardly believe that it is that hot anywhere, We have wind and mild temps today, but I have fire going to take off the
thanks for stopping by my site, It is always nice to get comments from new people. and you have been to the area so you can relate to the stories.. thanks for sharing.

Mary C said...

Hi Kathie - I'm a few days late, but wanted to let you know how much I really like what you have done with your landscaping. The southwest has its own beauty, and those who have not lived there or visited there don't know what they are missing. It's folks like you and your family who go through all that work to make their environment even more beautiful. I would imagine when it's all done you will feel like you are living in Paradise.