The Garden Patio

I’ve often mentioned the Garden Patio, but I don’t recall making a video to show perspective, etc., and where it is exactly. It’s a lovely name for the most butt-ugly area we have. I call it the Garden Patio because it’s where I store yard equipment, etc.

Below the table just to the left of the upturned wheelbarrow is where the lawnmower lives most of the year, but it’s still out in the Honda carport, its summer home during the rainy season. It’s more accessible there for Abel the Deadpan Yardman. It will return here soon because I think mowing has ended for 2021.

When we purchased the two-lot property in 2002, this area was covered with weeds, nothing more. In the video’s screen shot you see a black door on the right. It’s down a bit, and there are stone steps descending to the back street. On the left are two big trash containers, one for plant garbage, and the other for paper, plastic and glass.

No, I do not recycle. It all goes to a dumpster downtown.

Not visible is a roof of clay tiles that covers about a third of the area. That’s a support column you spot at about the 0:06 point.

Ladders, I have lots of ladders. Those are just two of them.

As the video pans to the right, you see a big, above-ground water tank, one of three here. Just a bit farther, there’s a black square on the floor, the opening to the underground cistern of 9,000 liters. Then the kitchen window. Just below it, to the left of the barrel, sits the pump that sends water to the roof tank (tinaco). That barrel does nothing.

And then we walk through a small opening to the yard.

Next May we will have been here 19 years.

A presentable wall

The Alamo Wall after its trim. The monkey feels free.
The Alamo Wall before its trim. The monkey was trapped.

Before moving to Mexico I never imagined owning an ivy-covered wall, but now I have one. It requires maintenance, however, mostly the ivy, which comes from four plants planted on the side facing the main gate. They were tiny little things when we planted them, but they’ve muscled up significantly, as you plainly see.

Abel the Deadpan Yardman arrived Sunday morning with his weedeater, thinking it was just another Sunday of mowing and trimming the lawn, but the lack of rain has discouraged the grass from growing, so we turned to the Alamo Wall.

This is the first year the ivy has gone over the top and started down the other side. I haven’t decided if I want this or not. Time will tell.

And it’s the first time it’s climbed over the archway between the wall and the Honda carport. I do not want it atop the red-clay tiles of the carport. It may require stern discipline.

But all is good for now.

The other side where it’s fully covered.

As I type this around noon on Sunday, the church bell on the neighborhood plaza two blocks away is slowly bonging, which means someone died. The air is cool, the sky is blue and clear, as you see in the photos. It’s a lovely day for a funeral.

The depths of August

Fifteen minutes earlier, it was impossible to sit there due to the fronds.


It’s worse every August, two months into the monsoon season. I curse my planting of so many things years ago when I was a horticultural ignoramus. The philodendron in the photo is an example. I’m resting my old bones after removing about a dozen of those huge leaves, which were drooping to the grass.

Speaking of grass, all of what you see and much, much more will be stone and concrete by January. That’s this fall’s reversal plan, turning greenery into lovely, maintenance-free rock.

By mid-August, the constant rain since early June has put muscle into the yard. I really should hire a gardener. But wait! I have one, Abel the Deadpan Yardman, and he does more than mow on occasion, mostly tossing what I cut into the ravine at the tail of the dead-end street out back. I just need to alter his job description.

When I replace this grass with stone, he’ll have even less to mow, but I’ll pay him the same, so I need to provide more chores.

Looking to another part of the yard, we encounter this below, the Willy-Nilly Zone, at least half of it. This is where the monster aloe vera lived until I had it removed last year. It was at the back, to the right. It monopolized at least a quarter of the space, and since its departure, eager beavers took up the slack. Most are weeds.

What is a weed? It’s a plant growing where you don’t want it.

I tried to control them at first, but it was an impossible task. Thankfully, the zone is trapped by stone and concrete! There are some desired plants in there. The datura tree, a stand of red-hot pokers, a bridal bouquet that doesn’t bloom much anymore, some lilies, that cactus in the foreground.

Also, a line of something I planted along the near border 18 years ago. And some ground cover my child bride tossed in there way back. But there are lots of weeds too. It all rather blends together, however. It’s not called the Willy-Nilly Zone for no reason.

Maybe I should yank it all out and lay concrete and stone.

That’s always a superlative option.

The Willy-Nilly Zone, full of Lord knows what.

Time to pucker up!

My patch of parasitic mistletoe.

A couple of months ago when we were still in winter and the bush — hibiscus, I think — in which this thing resides was still lacking its leaves, I noticed a patch of something green sitting there alone. Looks like mistletoe, I muttered as I continued on with life.

This morning, I took a photo using a plant-identification app and, sure enough, it’s mistletoe. I mentioned this to my child bride and, after the appropriate smootch below the mistletoe, she said she’d never heard of it. It must not be “a thing” in Mexico.

Hibiscus, I think.

The plant on which the mistletoe lives — mistletoe is a parasite — is, I believe, a form of hibiscus. The plant-ID app was unsure. When we moved into the Hacienda 18 years ago, it was living cheek-to-jowl against a loquat tree where some nincompoop had planted it. I uprooted it and planted it over thataway a bit, giving it space.

The hibiscus — and let’s assume that’s what it is — flowers now and then, kinda pretty, and it does not toss trash all over the place, so I’ve left it in peace. Longtime readers here know that I am a plant predator, quite the killer when it suits me, and it suits me when a plant becomes a nuisance, mostly by tossing trash.

When we moved here, there was a fig bush where one of the carports now sits, so it was removed, which is a shame because I like figs.

The skeletal loquat.

Not far off is the loquat tree which grew like mad, tossing loquats all over the place where they rotted on the ground. Tossed big, ugly leaves too, much like those of a magnolia, which is a yucky tree, I think, in spite of my being a son of the Old South.

Rhett Butler and all that.

Alas, my child bride is excessively fond of loquats and the tree on which they grew maniacally. But she didn’t have to deal with the constant mess and work, so her vote was of less value than mine.

I am a kind husband, however, so I did not remove it. I only cut it back, way, way back, and I maintain it as you see in the photo, a half-alive zombie.

When I die, she can let it go whole hog again and, believe me, it will.

It needs a trellis.

Let us further milk the gardening topic today. While the Hacienda was under construction in 2003, I planted five bougainvillea bushes along the property wall you see in these photos. Two promptly died. Of the remainers, one was very different. It does not go berserk, and at times during the year it’s all flowers. It’s my best bougainvillea buddy.

But the best gardening news of the day is that we have mistletoe, which gives my child bride another reason to kiss me, even though she’d never heard of mistletoe. You get your kisses where you can. That’s always been my philosophy.