bees, birds and stone tortoises

Jackson Pollack, If Then is Now

A running joke between two married couples (all close friends) goes something like this: the husband saved my marriage. The husband is a contractor and we enlisted him to totally renovate our home landscaping and creating spaces to entertain. Prior to last Fall, my “garden” was a mad assortment of river rock, cactus, fruit trees, succulents, and shrubs that individually, might have been attractive and eye-catching, but together formed a Jackson Pollack-canvas.

Preserving two 12-foot trees (Texas Yellowbells (Tecoma stans)) and installing a very low maintenance hardscape was paramount. We had hoped to continue attracting butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds with purposefully chosen flowering plants. Our water-wise hardscape now features native purple flowered sage (salvia clevelandii), Australian coastal rosemary (westringia fruticosa), and south African spur-flowers (plectranthus var). And we have some Channel Island snapdragons and Monarch butterfly-friendly native milkweed.

However, a couple additions to the design were due to whimsy. Last Fall, I bought a small ceramic tortoise (our grandson is taken with the big tortoises at the San Diego Zoo) to which I added a medium tortoise earlier this Spring. Since our young grandson enjoys sitting on the stone iguanas and lizards at the zoo, he promptly sat on the larger tortoise in our yard. And today, my wife and I went to a nursery where I had spied a much larger stone tortoise a month ago. Though it was a little more difficult to get the thing out of the SUV at home, it now has a family to observe.


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