I've not written much about this, but I've been pretty anxious over the last few months about this landscaping. Really anxious. Gain weight and throw out my back anxious. Our first bid was in the 6 figures (yes, really) and we're not building a pool, jacuzzi or BBQ. I was depressed thinking we would never get what I dreamed of and pay way too much for what little we were getting. Finally, after getting bids from three contractors and not really liking any of them we were refereed to my current favorite person in the world, Javier. He is young but experienced, creative, driven and an all around nice guy. His wife does the paperwork and his crew are all family members and close friends. To a man they're respectful, friendly and hard workers and we've heard nothing but great things about their craftsmanship. Every other contractor we interviewed wanted to build their standard plan their way, but Javier is applying his expertise to our plan.
The thing about being a person who's maybe a tad obsessive is that it seeps into so many parts of life. That part of me that just can't follow exactly a knitting or quilt pattern, a recipe or - to be honest - rules in general, just can't do landscaping the easy way. Where would the fun be in that? So I drew our landscaping plan, designed the fountain and am still working on the planting layout. No grass at all. Not a patch. All Mediterranean and native plants. Four-season interest. This is hard! I've never gardened before so it's all up hill right now. If you're a gardener take a bow! I so respect you. It's like doing the most complicated quilt, but in 3-D. There are color, texture and size to consider, then I also have to factor in water-use, seasonal cycles and maintenance issues. I can't even begin to estimate the hours I've put into this - that's why you're not seeing much knitting or sewing. The payoff? One day I will sit in the shade of a tree with my feet propped on a wall made of stone I collected, surrounded by bees, butterflies and birds and listen to the fountain while I knit. It took 40 years, but finally I want to stay somewhere and put down roots literally and figuratively. I'm holding that bucolic image in my mind because this is what it looks like right now.
The water cascades out of a wide back wall, goes underground, then comes back out behind a seating wall, flows down a 10 foot rill, then falls into a catch basin on the patio with a burbling pot. I hadn't even dreamed of trying this design until we found Javier, who got his experience working for a high-end landscaper and pool builder. The first time he looked at my drawing his eyes lit up with excitement. At that instant I knew we were home free. This is going to be so cool.
Now we've had several freaky days of rain, It NEVER rains three days in a row in July here. Never before at least. And humidity. Feels like KY in the summer. Just saw this morning's paper covering Blair and Schwarzenegger's climate pact. Now if only Washington would catch up.
The orchids are loving this though. They like this house even more than the last, probably because we're out of the marine layer with an even greater daily temp range. Some of you have asked me what we do to our orchids to get them to bloom and I'm sorry to say not much. I wish I had tricks to share. We leave them alone and forget to water them. We don't have AC and don't use the heat, so they get the critical 20 degree day to night temperature change that forces them to bloom. So, in essence, we sacrifice our comfort for beauty. Saves on the utility bills too.
This plant on the left bloomed last July too. The blooms are already falling off after a week, but they're amazing while they last --- about 10" tall and they flutter in the breeze (sorry, but they wouldn't stop for a photo).
Forty-one is on the horizon this week so I took myself birthday shopping. DH seems to think the landscaping is my gift, but I don't feel like capital improvements count. Anyway, my local quilt store gives a nice birthday week discount and just got the new Amy Butler in stock. My take:
I've tagged the ones below for a Turning Twenty. Yeah, I know I've been there done that, but it really shows off big prints. Happy Birthday to me. Thanks Mom and Dad, got your card and the money's been well spent!
If you wonder why I love to photograph cloth and flowers...
Mother: "Hug your sister please.... No, not choke her ....
See ... not so bad!"
First I must wait for the man with the jack hammer to finish demo-ing the stoops in my courtyard. It's a tad distracting.