That much I could have guessed

My wise old grandmother

My wise old grandmother was a Master Gardener before there was such a thing. She is the one who developed my love of gardening, To be fair, though, she also is the reason why I have never had a grass lawn, have a great dislike for oleanders and roses unless they are on someone else’s property, and love cactus and succulents, especially if they are on my property.

She used to fertilize her grass like there was no tomorrow. Who am I lying to? No she didn’t. I—me! the one and only!—used to fertilize her grass like there was no tomorrow…. under her direction, of course. I was the one who had the privilege of mowing the lawn twice a week, pruning the oleanders after a norther came through and froze them, pruning the roses so they would bloom more (and have more thorns!).

Air conditioning compressorOne day I asked her if I could have a garden. She said yes and took me to the worst part of the property, where the heated wind from the air conditioning compressor (picture ►) killed everything during the summer months, and told me to make something out of it. I was so depressed. Instead of getting a beautiful garden to call my own, I had a patch of hard, dry, brown soil kept that way by a huge, ugly compressor.

I was able to block the compressor, and it’s heated windstorm, by building a rock wall around it. Then I planted cactus and succulents amongst the rocks, creating a rock garden.

I was reminded of my little cactus and succulent rock garden recently when I was traipsing around La Jolla, a San Diego enclave of the rich and famous. I came across this:

Succulent wall panorama la jolla

(click on image for a larger, more detailed view)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That, of course, is much more elaborate than the little rock wall I built, and theirs is designed to hide the ugly stairs leading from the street up to the house. The landscapers were still building it, and I jokingly commented, “Wow! Nice! I wonder how much that cost.” To which the landscaper replied, “It’s expensive.” That much I could have guessed….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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16 thoughts on “That much I could have guessed

  1. insearchofitall

    I’ve been afraid to fence off that nasty looking heat pump unit or screen it with anything thinking it needs air to work. I’d sure like to and make it pretty out there. I’m with you on the grass. Not so much the roses but I have fewer here than in California. Slowly I’m eliminating all the grass from my tiny yard. I’ll put in planter boxes but I won’t have to mow. Your grandmother sounds like a great woman who challenged you. 🙂

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  2. Angeline M

    Succulents are the way to go in my book. I’ve always had yards with full sun, never much shade. I do love rose bushes, but they take a lot of care, so I just admire them from afar. I don’t think to many of us in California are going to have to worry about mowing any lawns any time soon.

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  3. reocochran

    I have gone on Master Gardening tours which cost money but well worth it for the magnificent gardens. Loved this photo and story today. Your wise old Grandmother looks so sweet, bless her soul!

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