With the onset of Spring, I’m really wishin I was in a house again so I could get out in the yard and do some gardening.  But since moving to Prescott last April, I’ve been living in an apartment – which has been a major adjustment in itself after having been in a house for almost the last 10 years. 

I was able to sell my house back in NM (ugh, that “Steet View” is in Winter when everything was dead, so it’s pretty ugly), but I barely got out of it what I needed to cover the mortgage and all of the other costs incurred with selling (agent comissions, closing costs, etc – basically I was forced to shell out $20K in perks for the $1K I got for “profit”). I guess I should count myself lucky that I didn’t actually lose money, but now I’m having to save all over again for a down payment for another home. 

Realistically I’m a couple years away from getting back into the housing market, which kind of sucks since NOW is the time to buy.   Of course, Prescott real-estate prices being at least twice what I got out of my Albuquerque 3-bed, 2-bath, 1400 square foot,  2-car garage, fireplace, cul-de-sac, large yard location aren’t helping matters.  There’s a TINY, less than 900sf home for sale down the street (on Cortez), I think it’s even less sq. ft. than my current 1 bed, 1 bath, apt., and it’s selling for $350K! And the lot isn’t all that great either. But oh well…. I guess I could move out to Chino Valley, where I can get a 3000+ SF house on 2.5+ acres for less than $200K.

Back to gardening… I walk to work and there’s a house up on Marina Street a few doors South of the Library that I just LOVE.  But I HATE the yard. So I often find myself day-dreaming what I’d do with the place if I ever got my hands on it.   Basically, I’d rip out everything in the front yard and start over – I can’t stand “rug junipers,” and that front yard is almost totally rug juniper.

Here’s how I’d landscape that yard.  Between the street and the sidewalk it’s a pretty steep hill for 15-20 feet , and hills are a PITA (“pain in the ass”) to water. So I’d go for Xeriscape – not “Zero-scape” like a lot of so-called Xeriscaped yards are (usually a ton or more of gravel… that’s not landscape, that’s a cop out).  I’d put in various yuccas, hesperaloe, sotols, agaves, sedums, sempervivums (hens ‘n chicks), etc.  And maybe a specimen wisteria for an accent, although not truely “xeric,” they really don’t need much water after getting established – esp. if you’re trying to keep its otherwise rampant growth “in check.”  And maybe some of the low-water herbs like rosemary, absinthe wormwoodthyme, sage, etc. A datura or two might be nice as well, they bloom at night with extremely large, super fragrant white blossoms – yummy!

In the upper yard, above the sidewalk, I’d put in a “cottage garden,” with lots of coreopsis, echinacea, hollyhocks, cosmos, sweet-peas, “bush marigolds” (actually I have seeds from a plant in NM where the flowers look just like a french marigold, but they grew in a round bush up to 2′ around, I hope they grow here as well, very neat plant – it was an annual, but reseeded quite prolifically).  I might even be convinced to put in morning glory (not bind-weed), but it re-seeds so heavily that it can become a real problem. And at least one or two fragrant dwarf lilac bushes.

Right next to the front of the house, I’d go a little more exotic, and try things that may or may not make it here.  They grew at my Albuquerque house, so I’m optimistic they’d make it here as well: bronze phormium tenax, various “hardy” passiflora’s, peruvian daffodils, Harlequin glorybower,  lemon verbena, pineapple sage, calla lilies, canna lilies, and various ferns. A lot of these weren’t “supposed to” grow in Albuquerque either, but they always came back, year after year at my house – so much for the “experts.”

Ya, there probably isn’t room for all of that stuff, but it’d be fun to try them out.  If something didn’t work, I’ve got plenty of stuff in the list to try out to see if another plant would make it. Hope your weekend is going great and that you get a chance to play in the outdoors! Enjoy!

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