Do you have names for different sections in your garden? Some designations are essential and obvious, such as the vegetable garden or patch, the front hedge, the cutting garden. I have lots of names for different sections of our four acres. It makes things feel more intimate and a little bit easier. The North Garden is my favorite. When we first moved in, there was only grass. First we separated it from the front with a rose hedge and arbor. Then we created beds. We made lots of mistakes the first few years, but we are finally getting past them.
I like the North Garden because it is easily accessed from our back patio and because of its location. There is only one tree and it's along the fence line, but being on the north side of the house does mean that it has its shady spots. I remember how surprised I was when I first realized that people living in milder or colder climates than ours seek southern exposure. In our climate, the south side of a home receives the sun's sizzling, unrelenting glare all day. Thanks, but no thanks (although our South Garden is lush by midsummer).
Even my small vegetable patch appreciates a little shade from the harsh afternoon sun.
The orchard is in the distance. We have had a hard time with the orchard. The first year we moved in, we spent a great deal of time, money, and surely our sons' goodwill filling the field with one or two of every fruit tree the county extension recommended. What we learned was that a citrus tree that might do well in a protected backyard would freeze to death in an open field, no matter the recommendation. We lost approximately twenty citrus trees. So now the orchard hosts grapes, which my husband hopes to expand upon eventually, and brambles, pomegranates, pears, jujubes, figs, and Mexican plums. These are tough trees, for even though we installed an irrigation system, it's hard to irrigate the caverns that form in the clay during a drought. Our peaches did not survive last summer. On the other hand, we planted lemon trees in protected areas closer to the house and they are thriving. We will probably do the same with peaches next year. As for the fig trees, the generous amount of rain so far this year has done wonders.
Many of our friends have asked us what were we thinking to move out of town, so far outside the city. Some have even laughed at us; from what they've observed, we are hardly farmers. But those who have seen the tranquility of our surroundings tease us no more.