Sunday, February 17, 2013

Outdoor Living

This weekend is all about the outdoors. Back in California, that meant spending the weekend on the trails. Here, that means (at least this time) spending time working on our yards. When we first moved, we were thrilled our home had a beautiful front lawn.

However, come November or so, and this lawn was looking anything but beautiful. Bermuda grass dies  goes dormant in the winter, and leaves a lot to be desired. We also went ahead and took out that big Juniper, which meant that everything looked pretty sad and bare. Added, to the ascetic issues, the irrigation was pretty shot and needed to be replaced. 

Put that all together, and it was enough motivation for us to get over our aversion to desert living and totally "Arizonize" our front lawn, complete with a heat loving tree, agaves, and lots and lots of gravel. This was way too big of a job for us to DIY, so we hired some experts to carry out our vision. And, this was the weekend to bring it to life!

Saturday was all about prep work for us. Our first stop was a local nursery to pick out some plants that we wanted to bring home. 

It was the perfect day to be out looking at plants and walking around this expansive nursery. They had succulents galore, as well as plenty of trees, shrubs, and pretty much anything we could desire. 

We left with a great collection, including some veggies for the back! We couldn't decide on a tree, yet, though, so we saved that decision for later. 

Our second outdoor errand was to pick out gravel. It's a bit nervewracking to be choosing a stone that you'll be ordering tons of (literally - I think we're getting 9 tons of it!). We went with "pink coral" - going with that reddish shade of rock pretty ubiquitous out here (added bonus - it was on sale :) ). We also picked out some river rocks for our "stream" and some rock to match the gravel we already have in the back to "freshen things up." 

While we were out, we took a break and got some frozen yogurt in one of our favorite little shopping complexes. It has great lake views, and we took advantage of our 80ish degree day by basking outside while enjoying a tasty treat.

From there, it was on to Moon Valley Nursery to pick out a tree. Going in, we were pretty sold on getting a Jacaranda. They are such beautiful trees and we love their flowers. However, once we got there, we started second guessing ourselves. They'd only blossom for a week or two here, and we weren't totally positive about how they'd grow. While checking them out, we stumbled upon another tree that got us interested - the Tipu Tree. 

(What it will look like when it's older)

This tree is known for handling Arizona's heat well, as well as withstanding mild freezes (into the 20s). We'd almost left, deciding to go home and research, when we were stopped by an employee, asking us how we did with our shopping. I explained what we were looking at, and mentioned some of the varieties, and he pointed out the Tipu tree they had growing right there. 

It was so pretty! The picture doesn't do it justice. The light looked so pretty through the leaves, and it looked about exactly as we wanted our tree to look - not too deserty or too bulky. After admiring it, we headed right back and got a helper to help us pick one out. 

Ours is obviously a whole lot smaller to start, but this is considered a very fast growing tree that should make a ton of progress in the next year. We were told that both the managers of the nursery have put in Tipu trees, which, to us, really boded well. We easily loaded our little tree into the Prius and brought it to its new home. 

With all of our new purchases home at last, I got to do some gardening. Believe it or not, I don't think I've gardened, really, since I was a kid. But, since I'd bought the vegetables, I figured they were mine to plant. Ends up, I really liked it! I loved the smell of dirt, being out in the sun, and doing something that felt very productive. I really hope everything grows well. 

To start, I had to transplant some of the plants we had, to make room for our new ones. 

We ended up with 6 squash plants, a basil, and a cilantro. 

Our lettuce family plants are doing pretty well, and are now all together. The red leaf lettuce has definitely been growing the best, though I probably like the taste of our kale the best! I'm hoping the chard transferred okay :). 

After gardening, I spent the rest of the afternoon lazing by the pool. I figured, with all the workers coming tomorrow, this was the last chance for it!

We finished the evening by finishing our Valentine's Day celebration by going out to eat at Tempe's "House of Tricks"

I wore my special "wedding shoes" for the occasion. As these are by far, my most expensive shoes (being Vera Wang and all) I have worn them all of maybe 3 times besides my wedding. They were very fun to wear for our dinner.

We snagged an outdoor table (in keeping with our theme of the day), which was just perfect.

The ambiance of the restaurant was so lovely and romantic and definitely made us enjoy the prospect of the many outdoor meals we'll be able to enjoy now that the evenings are becoming a bit warmer.

We started with some delicious sparkling rose to start the evening on a romantic foot.

The rest of the meal was just as lovely. The foot was very good. Nothing spectacular, necessarily, but, with the stars twinkling through the branches over our heads, as we sat in peaceful conversation, the night ended up pretty perfectly.

One of the reason people want to move to Phoenix is for the prospect of beautiful weather for most of the year. I'm happy to say that lately, I can definitely see their point.


  1. Hi Adelyn, I enjoyed reading about your gardening adventures. Love you, Dad

    1. Was thinking of you the whole time I was gardening! Lots of fond memories from when I was a kid :)