In my continuing study of landscape architecture I have started reading The Meaning of Gardens by Mark Francis and Randolph Hester.

I’ve only read the first chapter, an introduction, but I enjoyed this quote:

Riley develops a typology of gardens including the jungle as sex beyond control; the domestic garden as delightful, as controlled sex; and the lawn as overcontrolled sex.

And this:

The garden has been nature-under-control…

If I could finally control mine!  The huge mesquite tree outside the fence (whose seeds are eaten by the deer, javelinas, and coyotes1) put out a root about 25 feet to a large pot next to my patio, crept up into the pot through the drainage hole and filled it with a tiny maze of roots.  I remember telling my granddaughter how smart a bunch grass was to sneak into all of my formal plantings.  She said Plants aren’t smart.  Plants can’t think.  I don’t know.  That mesquite tree’s root was pretty smart.

dark plants 002I emptied the pot, took out the knot of roots, which were half of the contents, added lots more potting soil and four plants from my favorite nursery, Mesquite Valley Growers, a purple sweet potato vine, purple and pink petunias, and a purple alyssum.  I must have been having a dark day.

I also bought a dark goldfish plant, so named because the flowers look like goldfish, for my kitchen window.  dark plants 003goldfish(When I had re-potted my ivy I inadvertently grew a tomato plant from seeds in the potting soil, so I put it in the vegetable garden).

Then I replaced the insect-ridden outdoor coleus with a dark-leaved hibiscus, which should bloom red.  (To rid the pot of the reoccurrant mealy bugs2 I baked the potting soil, in batches, in the oven at 200° for 3 dark plants 004hybiscus flowerhours, and scrubbed out the pot with diluted bleach. A lot of work! So those pesky bugs better not return!)

Because September is the fall planting month for Tucson I sifted one of the two compost bins I keep going (to take out twigs and stuff that hasn’t composted yet and put in the other bin) to add to my veggie garden.  Couldn’t bear to throw away the volunteer snapdragons so dug them up and put them in pots.  Gave five to the housekeeper.  Anyone else want some?  Digging out lots of tree roots there too.  Bought two more tomato cages and am cutting back my tomatoes.

Here are six good reasons to prune tomatoes3:
  • To grow more flavorful tomatoes.
  • To grow larger tomatoes.
  • To grow more tomatoes over the length of a season.
  • To keep plant leaves and fruits off the ground and away from pests, insect damage, and fungal disease.
  • To keep plants smaller and more compact.

Cleaning and Repairs

Yay!  Had my windows professionally cleaned.  Wow, what a difference.  Am getting cleaning and repairs done before I put the house back on the market.  My handyman fixed a few minor items and is presently replacing the cross beams for the spa deck – rotted not due to termites, as they had been pre-treated, but from water damage.  Replacing them with redwood, which is supposed to hold up to everything.

A friend of mine was on vacation so I borrowed her cleaning lady (who is my house-sitter when I’m out of town) for a day to clean the cupboards on the deck, scrub the patio cushions, and tend to other tasks that haven’t been done for two years, when I last hired her to help with the cleaning.  (My mother would have thought me a slacker…)  Am still working on the accumulated dust, not attended to since I took the house off the market in May.  (Can only bear six months of cleaning.)

lts 001The electrician is here to replace the final bad bathroom fixture.  I have overpriced light fixtures in both the master and guest baths.  When the house turned ten years old they started to go out.  With some the bulb melted into the fixture!   I couldn’t exactly choose a completely different fixture as the mirrors (large and probably expensive) have spaces between them for the lights.  And originally only one was out.  After replacing five of the six I asked the electrician to put the one that was only blinking off occasionally in the guest bath, which is seldom used.  Of course that was a bad idea.  Why those in the guest bath would go at the same time as the ones in the master bath which is used daily, I don’t know.  Conspiracy.

Need to get the trees trimmed too, but the tree-trimming guy was sick, so postponed ’til next week.


Defined by Wikipedia:

A McMansion can be a large, new house in a subdivision of similarly large houses, which all seem mass-produced and lacking in distinguishing characteristics, as well as appearing at odds with the traditional local architecture.

McMansions in China4 in Sunday’s NY Times.  Money doesn’t buy taste.  There or here.

china mcmansions

Generic Brand Video

Heard this on Marketplace on NPR earlier this week:


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