Thursday, August 11, 2011

A little stressful planning

I'm feeling overwhelmed with the pressure form the HOA to change what I'm gardening and where but I know I can figure something out. I've already managed to put so many edibles right under their noses without them noticing. I just have to keep moving forward. The physical work may be daunting but the emotional toll is worse. If I manage all the labor only to be punished by removing the plants and fines I know that my psyche will suffer terribly.

My front yard is looking a mess.

Keeping up with it is insane. Of course it doesn't look as bad as so many of the foreclosures that dot the landscape in our neighborhood but I feel embarrassed to admit that it is mine. Giant expanse of green grass, tiny oaks, a few hibiscus, a couple palms, iris', lilies but mostly unloved when it could be so much more.

The side yard where I've expanded the edibles the most is looking better. Here is a small section:

People have stopped to say how nice it looks yet not a single person has mentioned the fact that they have noticed these plants have edible functions. Berries, guavas, seagrapes, orchid, grumichama, Jamaican cherries.... All small (tiny really) now in comparison to what they can and will be. I can't wait to watch this area fill in. The way that it is spaced in time will allow the foliage to come together so that only annual trimming of the plants will be necessary. The mature plants will also offer us privacy as they will inevitably breech the height of the fence. From the road our back yard is on stage for now. When I shower after swimming I may as well be on my roof with a spotlight on me. The added privacy will be very welcome. Not to mention that maybe then my fruit won't disappear off my backyard trees so fast. If they aren't seen from the road...

And if this side plot works through the spring next year after the first fruit has set and we don't get flack from the HOA it will be early fall's chore list to rip up the hibiscus on the front fence and replant in the same way. Perennial edibles. Trees and bushes that are easy to take care of and remain evergreen here, or at least mostly evergreen. The initial outlay would be a bit expensive, but so worth it in the end. For this area more berries, gingers and larger bushes would be more appropriate.

My front bed with the ginger grew kidney beans and melon this spring with the ornamentals but the ground is full of lava rocks and nothing but sand for soil.

It's a huge undertaking but the entire thing needs taken out. It will take me weeks to complete the project and in doing so I'll also have to consider not only going under the guidelines of the HOA (initially for approval at least) but the size and shape is so suburban and I had already expanded it once from the tiny box planter it was when we bought the home. I don't know what the limits are and in all honesty if I could keep up with it if it was too large of an area. Not like they would let me put my raised bed boxes here! So the plants would have to play very nicely together (larger plants that needed less from me) and the design would certainly be a big issue as well. But meanwhile I feel like it suffocates me to be in the front of my house. As if it's someone else's life/house, but to know that what is here was raised from root cuttings or seeds by my hands - at least there is that. The recent onslaught of wetness and downturn of sunshine has brought black mildew to massive proportions. YUCK! *hanging head in shame* It is certainly time for a change. The infantile trees were certainly easier to handle putting in ourselves but now I can't seem to get them to grow fast enough. Patience is a lesson I must relearn often. But to make myself remember just how far i have come already this is what my home looked like 3 years ago when we put the fence in during the reconstruction of the first planter...
And when I see that photo I realize just how much I've already done and how much better the home looks. So my plants are small at least I have some - and not the barren lot that it once was. Yes, I have done well. There is simply more to be done!

'Till next time!


  1. You know, there are all sorts of winter 'ornamentals' that are food crops in disguise: Brite Lites Swiss Chard, Curly Kale, Red Cabbage, Garnet Mustard, Artichoke, Society Garlic, Garlic, Onions. Purple Pac-Choi and Purple Mizuna are really pretty things. Red leaf lettuce hides out with the ornamental's pretty easily. Bet you could sneak a few of these in along your garage wall and your fence. If you keep replacements growing up in your screen room you can sneak out a plant to eat and replace it at the same time, or near enough.

    Your HOA situation really gets my ire up, and I finally got up the nerve to post the tongue in cheek article I wrote.

    If you want a few 'pretties' to try out, let me know - think I can find a few to spare :)


  2. You should be proud of what you've accomplished! Big change! I don't live in a HOA, but have heard so many complain. I hope you can work things out with them. I've heard some people say the best thing is to get a friend on the committee, or get elected to the committee yourself. My daughter's HOA was very strict, until all the foreclosures, now they're just happy there's someone in the house, and have relaxed their rules immensely. I love your plan of planting edibles!

  3. Thanks Dianne. Your post is actually why I decided to put this up. I think before my thoughts were only (really) over on GW mostly. It's just so difficult to remember when I know what I want so badly, that when I got the place it really was completely barren. So as I go through the paces and I get into a funk feeling like I'm drowning and not getting anywhere that I AM acomplishing a LOT.
    The lava rocks and sand need to go so I can actually put more delicate edibles in there. I'm thinking of pulling everything out and starting over completely this winter. It's a lot of work but would be worth it!

    HG- I wish they would relax a little. Instead they have singled us out. They pick on us while our neighbors don't even pick up their dogs crap (who is left outside barking day and night) have ant piles the size of cars and nothing but sand and weeds head high in their yards it's so annoying. Yet we get FINED for a 4' shed go figure. grrrrrr...