When we bought our place in Alameda, CA, the backyard was full of construction debris, and was very uneven.
The only living thing in the back yard was a tall plum tree which looked dead and ugly. Gary explained that it was simply getting ready for winter and that it would come back in the spring. Harummmpf, I thought to myself. That tree is dead, and we have to take it down! At that time,the most important item on my wish list was to have a fenced in yard where it will be safe to have dogs. But first, we have to rid the yard of all the debris and rusty nails and broken glass before we would have our dogs go there.
GROW FRUITS, NOT LAWNS
It took years, but we leveled the ground and then planted fruit trees. Much to our delight, our soil is so fertile -- very dark like loam with lots of working worms. And that grass? It just grew once we removed all the debris. And now, this is the perfect spot for a backyard party!
The first fruit trees were planted in 2007. The Lisbon, Meyer and Ponderosa lemon trees surprised us the most, by starting to bear fruit when they were barely three feet tall. My father organized family members to plant fruit trees in the backyard. And soon, we had avocado, fig, pineapple guava, two kinds of persimmons, mandarin orange.
We are not nearly done as we have added Asian pear trees. And we have one peach tree grafted with three kinds of peaches that we are getting ready to plant. We are debating whether to plant the variegated calamondin or to keep it in a container.
Later, we also added flowering bushes --- the longest lasting and the healthiest are the Liies of the Nile (Agapanthus). As a matter of fact, I probably should dig them up and subdivide them. Coreopsis grew into tall bushes which I have cropped Bonsai style. Birds of Paradise are prolific bloomers, and so are Canna lilies. And it seems that Tibouchina bloomed year round. There is never a time when we didn't have flowers plucked from our own yard.
ADD VEGETABLES AND HERBS
We have since added two vegetable garden boxes. They're still in the sprouting stage, but it gives us a thril to watch the vegetables and herbs grow.
And that ugly plum tree? It is absolutely glorious with white flowers that look like snow in the spring. It produces tons of plums that are absolutely the sweetest plums we've ever eaten. We reap something for every season. Lemons year round. Plums, pineapple guavas, mandarin oranges and figs in the summer. Avocados and persimmons in the fall.
This is our oasis....