Honestly, I'm not sure what makes me keep trying to garden. My notorious black thumb, a dark cloud that envelopes green life and with wave ends it, is stubborn, but eager to change its color.
My friend, Sarah, an avid gardener with a knowledge of Greek mythology once referred to me as "Demeter's Harbinger." I find that to be a bit harsh, but given it was after the death of my third rosemary plant, which was soon met in greenery heaven with a cactus that committed suicide rather than face a prolonged and, no doubt, horrible suffering under my hands, the kind of which government war tribunals are held over. Then there was that orchid that never stood a chance.
But I'm getting better. Honestly. Remember that lemongrass? It's still alive, and though it may not look it in the dead of winter as it's gone a bit back and bare I have been reassured by other, more experienced gardener's that I have done surprisingly well. I even have a mint and rosemary bush in pots at my work that are flourishing.
(The thyme, basil, and rhubarb we will not speak of. I say frost and kids on skateboards are to blame and that's how we're remembering it.)
My old place wasn't much for growing anything. Too much shade and the earth was shallow and dead. What few things I tried to grow simply passed away in what can only be described as an awful struggle.
Yet the new apartment has pleasant and quaint small yard, though it was somewhat uncared for. When we moved in it was an utter jungle, and upon our signing the lease we conditioned that the yard had to be cleared of brush and tangle.
The day the gardeners came they uttered, "Sweet Jesus," followed by screams when upon ripping up the carpet of ivy rats swarmed out, escaping under the fence. Joseph Conrad couldn't have portrayed it any darker than it actually was: the brush, destruction, and gnashing of teeth that became a backyard cleansing - five feet by fifteen.
So now we have an empty and unappealing (at least, to the eye who doesn't see a potential garden) spot of dirt with various stones and rotted plants of wood buried here and there. To make my stake in this yard-to-be I've decided to move my lemongrass, rosemary, and mint plants from work to here.
Furthermore, I have adopted two brave little (and unwilling) citrus trees. A two year-old yuzu, and a three year-old kaffir lime tree are potted and on my patio. Both of these citrus I use extensively when I am able to locate them and are favorites of mine. The kaffir lime leaves add a unique floral-lime fragrance to soups and curries, whereas the yuzu provides sour-tartness to stirfrys and whose juice can withstand extreme heat without scorching and becoming bitter.
A Nagami kumquat or Rangpur tree may very well be added to the mix.
To ensure their survival I have been studying and researching like a crazy person on how to keep these little bastard healthy. Lucky, living in Northern California, the climate here is very citrus friendly (though not like So Cal) and I expect that they should thrive with proper care.
*knock on wood*
Be sure to wish me luck, and whisper a little prayer for this garden that is partially under my doomgaze.