This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

September 4, 2013

Developing the courtyard garden

Even though I have lavished a lot of attention on my backyard, and have an acceptable display in the front, the courtyard area here has been neglected for years. I guess "out of sight, out of mind" explains it. Because of a low wall, the courtyard is not really visible from the front of the house, except for the tree, which, uh, is taller than the wall. And it's been an area that I have used to store sick plants, pots, and assorted rubbish.

And, in my defense, like most people in suburban Phoenix, I go in and out of my house, not through the front door, but through my garage. So the front door has been seen mostly by the UPS guy, or Jehovah's Witnesses. Apparently I have not been concerned with impressing them with a nice garden.

I am about to change all of that. Taking lessons that I learned from developing "The Outback" in the backyard, I am working on the courtyard. It's a tricky little piece of land. Although there is a nice tree for shade in some places, in other places, it's the "fires of hell" as it faces west. And to make it worse, the area is designed as a small detention basin, which means that there is "Hall Lake" for short periods of time after a rain.

Anyway, I started by doing long-neglected repairs to the watering system. And then I fixed some unsightly cracks in the wall, and repainted. I have also planted several iris bulbs, and marked them with sticks. That's one of the problems with bulbs, you have to mark them until they start to grow a bit, or you forget where they are. Well, I do.

The rubbish heap
I've dug out some small stumps of long-dead plants and added more potting soil to the area just east of the low wall. The low wall will provide some protection from heat and sun, but the area still gets enough sunlight to allow for blooming plants. There are two jasmine plants that have been hanging on for years, which I will now be nurturing. The smell of the blooms is wonderful, especially at night!

I have a friend of mine who has a truck and knows his way around using the dump and I will get rid of the piles of old concrete pavers which have been sitting in the courtyard for years. The Glendale bulk trash pickup won't accept them, so they have just been sitting there.

Right now the area still looks a little sad. I can see it all in my imagination, though.

Sticks mark where the iris has been planted

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