I’ve lived in CA for 13 years, and guess how many tomatoes I’ve harvested from my own plants? Close your eyes. That’s how many. In Chicago, the damn tomatoes I grew were as big as my head. Here? Zip. Yesterday, I bought a few huge bags of miracle grow potting soil, sliced X’es into them, and stuck the plants right into the top of the bag. With chicken mesh under the bags, the gophers can suck it this year.
My next door neighbor put in a zillion raised beds for kale, etc, so I’m hoping that I’ll find bags of produce at my door (Hi Vicky! You’re my favorite neighbor!). And I have a flat of cukes that I’m going to plant (again, in potting soil bags) among the bougainvillea that grows up the office wall.
We’ll see how it all goes. I’m better at buying/planting than I am at tending. But my kids are still alive, as I do remember to water and feed them, so there’s some hope that the plants will get some attention this summer, too.
Last week, the boys and I were invited to tour Lotusland, a beautiful private garden located in Montecito, CA. The estate is 17 acres of gorgeous, featuring some gardens planted in the late 1800s. There are plants growing there that are extinct in the wild:
…and the cactus garden is so huge that everyone felt as if we were in an episode of the Twilight Zone! The amazing thing about the cactus is that they were planted from seed in the 1929 by a private collector in Fallbrook, CA and they were transplanted to Lotusland in 2001.
Here is a view of the estate with a bit of its pool (containing hundreds of lotus plants) in the foreground:
Although it is currently not in use for swimming, we could imagine how tropical and exotic it must have been to swim among the trees.
This door led from a private courtyard of a guesthouse, out to the cactus garden:
There are several swimming pools on the property. One features a sandy beach, surrounded by shells… have you ever seen a fountain like this one?
I also took several photos of plant and rock texture, to use in some future art project:
It was a magical day, and I was grateful to have the experience. Many thanks to Tom, Virginia, and Cindy, for allowing me the privilege of this visit.