Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The House We Left Behind: a Photo Essay

When we chose our first home, a 900-odd-square-foot bungalow, it was after viewing dozens of dwellings in our neighborhood known for its small historic craftsman and mission-style houses.  It was the flow of our house and its expansive yard that distinguished it from the others we viewed. 

I always knew it was the backyard that would deter us from moving (but also from expanding our house), and the yard that we would miss most. 

So I wasn't surprised, on one of our last afternoons in our bungalow, to find Big Sis weeping in our fairy-enchanted garden.

I'm going to miss the birds, she cried.  We won't have this backyard at the new house, and Amani can't roll around in the grass...

I hugged her.  Let's take pictures, I suggested.  Show me what you want to remember

There's the ornamental pear tree that was blighted when we bought the house.  We were advised to remove it, but we carefully and gradually trimmed it instead.  Ten years later, it finally bloomed white in season, like all its pear-tree friends down the block.  We hung swings and fairy houses from it, and nasturtium beds blossomed in its shade.

There's the garden Husband carefully tended, and the artichokes we harvested each summer and the compost bin that prompted volunteer pepper and tomato plants.  The raised bed is an upcycled wood frame from the fluorescent light box that dominated our small kitchen's ceiling. 

There's Big Sis's blackberries.  Not a prolific vine, but it blossomed and berried each year, and it's one of the plants she was saddest to leave behind. 

There's Husband's cactus and succulent section of the garden, where many of the plantings were cuttings from our dear friend Eric's amazing property. 

There's our prolific lemon tree, which grew too many lemons for us to use, and even for the girls to make into lemonade at the spur of the moment.  We'd pick them and line them up on the low wall between our and our neighbors' yard, where they could be plucked by our friends for their use.  Many a fairy concoction featured a lemon-juice base. 

There's the min-rose climbing vines we planted and let grow wild.  They were at their blooming best as we packed.  

When we built a fence along our new side patio seven years ago, we strategically planted two jasmine plants along it.  I loved waking and coming home to its warm perfume in early spring, and when we flung open the french doors the scent would permeate the house.  I vowed to plant some at our new home...

One of the joys of teaching children about plants and gardening is identifying edible varieties all around.  We had some naturally sprouting nasturtium in the yard when we bought our home, and we spread the seeds around the various beds over the years.  The girls were fond of grabbing flowers to munch on whenever they wandered outside. 

Our yard also had snowbushes, heavenly bamboo, agapanthus, bromeliad, a dwarf pomegranate, giant birds of paradise, silver-leafed Dusty Miller, sage, lavender, Mexican heather, and geraniums. 

As Big Sis directed my photography and Little Sis conducted a video tour of our garden, Amani the dog dug her last hole:

But we're growing accustomed to our new home and its flora.  There is abundant nasturtium in the canyon, bougainvillea we don't have to trim lining the canyon and our property, hydrangea about to burst, and jacarandas flanking the deck.  Our friend Eric, whose fig tree and succulents we willed to the new owner of our old home, came by my office with a surprise:  a blackberry bush harvested from cuttings on his own property. 

And the fairies are on call already (making me sigh with relief that we're in the process moving in mentally, now...):


1 comment:

Kate said...

You got some beautiful pictures, sister!