The Spring in Texas is awesome! It demands that you get outside and do something. Since Husband and my leaning is toward gardening, we’ve been putting some work into our sterile square of a back yard.
We left a beautiful piece of property back in Georgia. We put 22 years of work into the house. We put the same amount of years into the yard, too, but time and money limited our vision. And, also, it was just so wild that we ended up just trying to tame it enough to keep it from taking us over. But we loved our huge trees, our creek and the wildlife that visited our yard. We had deer, groundhogs, turkey, rabbits, squirrels, mice, various reptiles, fish, frogs, and birds, of course. We loved the wildness. We certified our property with the National Wildlife Federation as a Wildlife Sanctuary.
These 2 photos of our house in Georgia were taken 22 years apart. The bottom is when we first moved in, the top is when we left. You can see that we encouraged GREEN!
Our move to Texas has been a disappointment in that we could not find a piece of property that was comparable to our space in Georgia. Large lots were outrageously expensive and the spaces we could afford were just not in the place or in the condition that we needed. The practice of razing the landscape to build as many houses as possible leaves lots without trees or plants. Houses sitting in the blazing sun on bare patches of ground are just not attractive to me.
So, we were heartbroken that we could not have both a nice house and a large wild lot. Instead of getting a broke down fixer-upper on a large lot, we opted for a nice house on a postage stamp sized lot. Our house came with one, what I’d call, “teenage tree” in front along with a few sickly Gardenia bushes and a couple of Crepe Myrtles. The back yard was just sad. It was a perfect square (I keep hearing that there are no straight lines or right angles in nature – I’m not sure about that, though). My point is that a perfect square is boring. There was also one “toddler tree” that is as tall as I am. That’s it. No other plants. I didn’t even see a bug. We do, however, have crawdads. (Another weird thing to discuss in another post!)
So, when the Spring compelled us to go outside, we started planting things. Armed with very little knowledge of growing things in this Texas clay, we’ve just bought what is native or what we’ve seen flourishing in other yards. We tailored our purchases with the goal of attracting birds and butterflies.
With total ignorance, we’ve included 2 blueberry bushes and a plum tree which I’ve heard will not flourish and will probably die this year. (As of this writing, however, there is an abundance of new growth on both!)
Two birdfeeders, two hummingbird feeders, three nesting boxes, a bubbling fountain, and a birdbath have brought in the birds which have added movement, sound, and life to the once sterile patch of grass.
Husband is trying out Square Foot Gardening which has amazed us both. He built 2 square boxes and filled them with a good blend of soil and compost. He practiced amazing restraint when buying plants since he only has 16 one foot squares per box. (Square Foot Gardening will be another post that I will link here eventually.)
So, we’ve started our Backyard Eden. We have big dreams and high hopes. I’ve also met the requirements and so this spot is also a Certified Wildlife Sanctuary. We are ever learning and ever expanding. I’m learning to love the process. I realize that I will never see the fruit of all our effort and money, but someday, someone will enjoy a mature, flourishing garden.
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”