Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Look At My Childhood Subtropical Garden and Garden Dreaming for Spring 2016

Every time the weather warms something inside us screams, "Spring! It's time to start growing stuff hellyesSPRING!" I have vivid fantasies of growing a lush container garden on my apartment's rooftop but until I get magical access via batcave-like button or Narnia wardrobe door/flying powers and/or a monumental-ladder-that's-also-easy-to-hide my apartment gardening is limited. I learned the hard way not to put pots on my urban stoop (vandals), so this year I'm taking on invitations to create beds in friend's/family's gardens. The first garden I'd be remiss not to feature is the one from my childhood at my parent's house.

Fresh herbs I bought from Bluebird Growers this weekend

My childhood garden reminds me of my current state of creative affairs: in need of tending and curating, but lush with overgrowing greenery (inspiration) planted lovingly in previous seasons. Beautiful but busy, colorful and crazy. Suburban Floridian with Latin American flair.

"The lake" (as my friend's and I called it) is still there, all of the trees gargantuan compared to the starters I remember being planted over a decade ago. My friends Marianne (now roommate), Ruth, and I would collect duck eggs from nests in neighbor's yards (!), trespass the under-construction homes, and explore the surrounding swamps when we were too old to be acting that stupid (10-12ish). We joke that if the internet worked as well then as it did now we'd have spent our illegal/immoral fun-times indoors watching anime instead. There's part of my, "You darn kids don't know what ya got, in our day all we had to do for fun was go outside and collect duck eggs while you whipper-snappers have your internets and your cyber-devices..." speech I'll have memorized for the grandkids I'll never have. I'll save it for my niece / nephew's grandkids.

They'll have kids before I ever do.

The yard is beautiful but strewn with some plants that need transplanting and TLC. I'm excited to spent some time at that memory-filled yellow casa growing healing herbs and beautiful ornamentals.

One of my favorite elements of the home is mom's cactus and succulent collection which she has situated by the front door.

Some have grown exponentially, others have stated the same. A lot of the knick knacks here are ones I've found for her on thrifting trips.

I love the contrast, textures, and mix of colors. Beautiful desert beasties.

I love the terra cotta sun and planters here by the door, too. Just like many a house you'd see in Puerto Rico. The front of the house is decorated with other items from Mexico and Puerto Rico.

The Alvarado plaque above the doorbell has helped identify the pad for many a classmate visitor. 

"Well, this colorful house with shit and plants everywhere definitely looks like it spawned Vanessa...oh yep, 'Alvarado' plaque, this is it." - teenaged friend, paraphrased

The Alvarado headquarters is also the post-Yuko plant hospital. Every morning I'd bolt out of bed startled because of the crinkling-tinfoil like sound of Yuko gnawing that poor money tree (tallest plant in the group) down to the nub! I still have PTSD from it, anytime I hear a similar sound I snap to attention to rescue a plant I no longer have! The money tree now lives with mom where he's fully recovered from Yuko's fangs. No soft tender plants live with me anymore but most of my houseplants bear some fangy puncture wounds.

I'm excited to share before/after photos as I help create herb and vegetable gardens at friend's/family's homes this spring.

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