Thursday, July 29, 2010

The side yard project

My new trees arrived today! You have no idea how exciting it is for a desert rat such as myself to have a tree added to their yard that adds instant shade. Seriously. It is so awesome I cannot even begin to tell you.

When we bought this house, the west side of the house (you know, the HOT side) looked like this...

Lots of concrete and gravel next to the block wall. Always an effective landscaping strategy to keep things cooler.

The lone green thing in the foreground is supposed to be an orange tree. They must have planted the seed when they built the house in '98 because that's about how big a tree of that age would be. Why someone would not plant decent trees on the west side immediately, I have no idea. Also, that "garden" looking boxed off area? Yeah, huge litter box. I so wish I were kidding about that.

So, Mister C and I went ahead and ordered some trees for the west side within about a week of moving in. We put in a ficus, a lemon and a navel orange. You can't see the ficus in this picture, but you can see the lemon and the orange.

The only problem was that the two citrus trees were the same size when we planted them and as you can see, the orange tree hasn't done so well. In case you're wondering, the orange tree is the tiny greenish/yellow thing hiding behind the awesome lemon tree. I'm not sure, but I think it may have shrunk since we bought it. Also, the dirt you see strewn across the sidewalk in front of the lemon is from my idiotic dog Izzy who has no manners and hasn't figured out that exposing tree roots doesn't enhance their growth in any way.

Either way, we planted trees because we wanted shade. We planted citrus because we wanted fruit. But nobody told us that orange trees grow so dang slow. So a few days ago Mister C & I decided to go ahead and get a larger tree put in where the orange tree was and then move the orange tree elsewhere.

After talking with the guys at the nursery for awhile, we figured out that it was going to cost us about $200 to have a specialist move the orange tree and they wouldn't guarantee that the tree would even survive. So we decided to just buy a new one and have the original one pulled out. Which made us kind of sad, because honestly neither one of us cherished the thought of killing a perfectly good tree just because it was slow growing.

After thinking about it overnight, I called my folks and asked them if they would be interested in the orange tree if I helped dig it up. Of course, no guarantee that it would live, but at least it wouldn't cost a boatload of money and there was a chance it would survive. They gladly accepted and I started watering the tree to help loosen the soil. Long story short, I mostly dug up and loosened up the tree and then my dad and uncle came over and pulled it out. They dug a hole back at their house and stuck the tree in the ground. We're really hopeful that it will take but we'll have to just wait and see.

In the meantime, my new ash tree arrived this morning and got planted in the place of the orange tree. It immediately started shading the place up. Now my side yard looks like this...

And from the opposite end you can see how much nicer the west side is now. You can see the ficus tree at the far end of the sidewalk in this picture. Behind it, in the corner, is our grapefruit tree which was the only decent sized and healthy tree in the back yard when we moved in.

And here is our new orange tree. It's already bigger than our original one and I'm hoping that having it away from all of the concrete might help it do a little better as well. Eventually, it should block the view of our neighbors roof and give us some nice fruit.

Now, I'm heading out to brave the one hundred degree heat just to go look at my beautiful new shade tree again.


Wendi said...

Yay! Those look awesome.