Here is a photo of one of the two loquat trees that I dug up from Vale Street and brought with me. These are being trimmed to grow straight up and have pom-poms of foliage at the top. It’s something I saw done at Cornerstone Hardware's nursery (a Westlake store that tried to go mano a mano with Breed and Co. directly across the street and is now out of business; the wonderful plant guy has moved to Great Outdoors in case you're wondering). I thought how striking they were. After crossing off my life-list the act of espaliering a vine on a wall, I felt this was the next challenge: topiary trees In about two years, they'll make a smashing statement on my deck. Loquats grow ferociously fast, thrive in heat and while blooming in Nov/Dec give of a gorgeous smell of vanilla-cinnamon. My daughter Rachel does not approve of rigorous plant control. She was horrified to see that I had bound (with cruel twist-ties!) some stalks of an indoor Ficus to turn it into a tree. Every gardener is always bending growing things to their will and we do this in complete imitation of Mother Nature, who is hardly a benevolent or hands-off force herself. Witness the crossvine seen here when it was first planted in mid-August and the second picture taken this weekend, October 29. Filling in the privacy fence wall quite nicely, huh? I hope neighbor Leslie appreciates this b/c it almost looks even nicer when the vine is creeping over a fence and tumbling down from above. Crossvine can be seen throughout East Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi growing in road culverts where it is just a shapeless low-growing rambler in a ditch. But given something to grow on it will latch on and climb up and up. It turns into something quite lovely and different from its ditch-persona. And what's the harm in that? Not to mention it's evergreen.
After 10 years gardening on solid rock in Rollingwood, I moved into a 40's cottage in the North Loop area spring 2007. The little postage stamp yard is black clay and no one had ever dug a single flower bed. After visiting Key West a few years ago, I came back inspired by the little frame cottages, white painted railings, and rustling palm leaves. So the plan is: desert tropical cottage garden.