Saturday, April 23, 2016

Life Changes, Moringa and Weeds Weeds and More Weeds

I haven't tended my backyard in months.  It's quite a weedy overgrown mess. I've rarely stepped foot out the back door since August 20th.  That was the day my life turned upside down.

My lovely boss was diagnosed with high grade glioblastoma - malignant brain tumor. He will not survive this, despite all the surgery/chemo/radiation treatments.  It's in his temporal lobe so he is to the point now where he is losing his ability to communicate. Tragic.  

I've been managing our business, working long hours, and have been emotionally and physically drained.  I've worked with him for 19 years so it has been difficult getting my head around what has happened.  The business will carry on with our investor group taking control, and that means my job is secure, but it's been a difficult transition for me.

David the Good (The Survival Gardener Blog) got in touch with me yesterday and it prompted me to write this post, mainly to show my dear reader(s) what happens in Florida if you ignore the land.  Crappy pictures to follow!


The "bush" with the many trunks is a "dwarf" firebush!  Note how far away it is from the 4X4 post to the left.


See the 4X4 post?  See the chicken coop?  Barely!  That dwarf firebush is out of control.  What survived in this area is the longevity spinach and lemongrass.  The short tree trunk on the far right is what's left of my moringa tree after we cut it way back, but it IS sprouting. The plant pot?  Just weeds.

Here's the corner where the "stick pile" had been:


We recently hired a landscaping crew to clean out and level this area so we can put in a new shed which arrives on Tuesday (YAY!).  We removed most of the fence.  Here's what it looks like today:

Note the tree trunk in the foreground.  We removed all 3 tropical almond trees. What a job that was for the landscapers.  Took 8 hours with a crew of 5 men!

Removing the fence was a big decision.  Since we have a pack of coyotes living in the woods behind us (200 acres of coyote heaven), they now have easy access to the yard. We don't have pets, or chickens, so no worries there.  Just the startle factor if we ever do see them up close and personal!

Here's the "fruit" garden area before the neglect:

I was still in the process of making the brick border.  Note the nicely shaped trunk of a dwarf firebush with bird feeders hanging from it on the far right.  The papaya and banana look healthy here.

It's pretty much unrecognizable today (note the banana left of the birdbath, behind some lemongrass):

What a disaster.  The bricks are there but grass has invaded them. The lemon grass is about the only thing that is happy.  And the out of control dwarf firebush behind the blue barrels, it has swallowed up the bird feeding area.

But check this out!  My Moringa tree (before I chopped it down) went to seed!  I was amazed.

I thought I had more pods than this, but I guess there were 5.  The one in the foreground came off early and the seeds didn't develop right.  So it's compost.

Apparently, the trick is to ignore Moringa trees.  Don't water them or prune them back. Survival of the fittest in my wreck of a yard.  There are lots of dead plants but I'm okay with that.

We'll hire the landscraper guys again and get it tidied up.  It will be like a clean slate when I'm able to get my routine back to normal.

If you see a plant called "dwarf firebush", don't be fooled.  There's nothing "dwarf" about them.  They've taken over large chunks of our back yard!  That's your gardening tip for this year.  Not sure I'll make it back to post anything anytime soon.