Embedded in this blog site are the chronicles of This One Tree. How one lonely neglected and forgotten little orange tree lured me into becoming a gardening fanatic and turning my backyard into a productive and sustainable suburban garden here in Southern California at the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, teetering just on the western edge of the Inland Empire in zone 9b!
Certainly there have been surprises, frustrations, and mishaps in restoring this very distressed 1/2 acre lot of my husband’s childhood home. The house and yards had been neglected for some years and then stood empty for 2 ½ years without any maintenance or care. The outdoors surrounding this home was filled with a sea of dirt, weeds, many infested fruit trees, a scattering of unused building materials and a broken down station wagon. It looked like a staging from the Hatfield and McCoy saga! The task was almost overwhelming and I cried! Lots!
However, it is sometimes the memories that cause one to readjust what the eye sees. This house had not been a notable example of beautifully kept homes in its upscale neighborhood. It was simple and unpretentious both inside and outside. The front and back yards were plainly landscaped but neatly manicured. It was the backyard especially, having a huge pad of uninterrupted grass and a couple of nice mature shade trees, that received commendations for being the most hosted playground on the block! For over 40 years this home had once been a thriving hub of activity having endured three mischievous growing boys and their playmates. And later as a safe and protected haven for their children. My daughters, being two of those children, have the fondest of memories growing up in this home. For them, it wasn’t about well-appointed furnishings or a perfectly manicured green lawn, it was an after school and often times weekend destination that allowed them a sense of security and the freedom to play and explore guided by the love and warmth enveloped by their grandparents. Yes! was the families unanimous vote to restore this house to its rightful belonging on the block!
In assessing the back yard, one little orange tree had managed to retain its dignity in the very disaster of its surroundings. This soldier of determination stood defiant and proud in the yard, green with leaves and full of fruit. It became my inspiration, compelling me to rethink my design approach to this sad unkempt space. This one little orange tree inspired me to plan, plant and propagate this suburban lot restoring it to a viable, functioning, food-producing success! It’s been six adventurous years and a lot of trial and error but so far this one tree has blossomed into a star player along with a new selection of companion fruit trees, a substantial raised bed veggie garden, four hens a laying and plans for much more!
This is just the beginning, so check in often as I will be showing you around the place!