Thursday, February 22, 2007

Gardenin' Angel in Chacala

A Primavera tree, in full bloom last week.
Sheri, my garden angel, will only be in Chacala a few more days. Then she’s back to Oakland CA, where she runs Merciari Design, her garden/landscape/design and installation outfit. I will miss her a lot.Sheri and family
Yesterday afternoon we hung around in the area in front of Dona Lupe’s house. Sheri came up with some very nice and very do-able plans for each of the five spaces in front of the house. These are the small flatish dirt spaces where I am hoping to plant the succulents and other tropical plants I have been growing in pots the past six months of so.

I have felt kind of stymied for months, but the plan Sheri come up with seems doable and will use the plants I have been growing from starts. I am worried about how things will work during the rainy season, when there can be nightly floods for weeks at a time. But, this a is learning experience, and mistakes are okay. Besides I can probably dig up whatever plants may or may not get washed away and replant them.

We decided to start with the nicest space, where Dona Lupe, or someone has built a rock training wall about 3 feet high on the east side, and the sidewalk * curves around the planting area on the north and west sides, and a steep slope down to the road level is on the south side. It’s a little triangle about 10X12 feet, sort of.Gardenia in front of the house. It's covered with blossoms.
I think Sheri’s son, Fred, who is in Chacala too, is going to give me some ideas about how to make one terrace about 20 feet long, running from the house to the west end of the new space. It will be made of two low rock walks, facing south.

I have an injured wrist, so I am not moving rocks right now. I am probably going to find someone to move rocks for me. Someone who doesn’t mind following directions from an old woman.

Yesterday Sheri used a pry bar, to kind of dig up the soil in the new bed. The pry bar was necessary since we couldn’t find a regular shovel or a pick around here. I think the dirt looked a lot better than either of us expected. The dirt is clay and gravel mostly and very sticky. Sheri thinks the succulents won’t mind the soil. And I am hopeful.This morning I removed a pile of small bricks from one side of new the bed, and then watered it heavily while the town water was on. That’s the only time I can water with a hose. So I have to time my gardening efforts in sync with when the water is running, usually sometime in the morning for three hours or so.

Then I started carrying the plants that are going in the first bed from the side of the house over to the sidewalk nice to the bed. I just realized that I don’t want to plant in the new space until the rocks are in place to hold the second bed, the long skinny terrace on the south side of the lot. So I am taking a snack break and thinking things over.

*Sidewalks are very unusual in Chacala. About two years ago someone built a set of concrete stairs and a sidewalk in front of Dona Lupe’s. It connects the house and the paved road. Before that there was a steep hillside in front of the house with some “steps” scratched into the dirt. Very dangerous and very slippery during the rainy season.

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