Monday, August 23, 2010

Diggin' it Sonoran style

Anne Marie Chaker, WSJ, Aug 18, 2010, writes about dry yards.

We have those in AZ. I think they look like rubble.

Still, people come out to the desert, crave green, put in lawns, then you have the Battle of the Weedeater (and allergies).

Green stuff likes water, too. Water costs. Mexican landscapers cost. Weedeaters, damn their hearts, cost.

We call dry gardening xeriscaping—to me because it has zero charm. I know, I know—I am a crab. Hey, you kids, get off my rubble!

I am not proud of this, exactly, but it is a fact: I have killed 100 species in my yard since moving to AZ 15 yrs ago.

I finally found some bamboo-like stuff that wants to live—called arunda donax. I put an ad in the Pennysaver a decade ago and offered to dig up bamboo people didn’t want. I got to the woman’s house and she had a stand of what turned out to be arunda 50 feet high behind her barn. She seemed disappointed that I didn’t take it all—just a few small plants.

She also had a little burro who kept presenting his hard little nose for us to pet as we tried to dig this stuff out.

Anyhow, I now have screens of arunda. Giant grass, originally from Tibet. They make clarinet reeds out of it. The roots are supposedly psychedelic, which I have not shared with the young folk hereabouts.

Oh—and it’s drought-tolerant. I did get in trouble with the homeowner’s insurance, which said my yard was a jungle. Yes—nice, isn’t it?

That picture? Is it my yard? You’re so funny.

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