Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas

I had been putting off blogging about Mr. T's Christmas present for fear that he would read my blog while on his business trip and discover the surprise. Now that he's on his way home from Chicago, I can safely write this post.

I normally don't consider myself a talented gift-giver. My brother has always been the "thoughtful" one in the family, coming up with creative ideas like giving Sarah Brightman CDs, only to discover concert tickets inside the jewel case. You know, those cutesy "ahhhh" moments...

Not me. I've always been more practical: A sweater for mom, a shirt for dad, a jacket for brother. While I was married, the ex would throw temper tandrums if I didn't get him what he wanted (apparently, he was 54 going on 7...), so I stopped trying to surprise him after my second failed attempt.

Of course, you can imagine my excitement when I came up with the perfect Christmas present for Mr. T!!! And a great part of this gift is that it was also a gift for me! (After all, isn't getting stuff for yourself what makes Christmas shopping bearable?)

When I was married, I always wanted a garden but the ex never "allowed" me to have one (he controlled the money, blah blah, long story...). When I decided that I would not be staying in the marriage, I stopped thinking about a garden because I knew I would eventually be moving out.

When Mr. T came into the picture, I told him about my gardening dreams and he lovingly and generously opened up his back patio for me to revamp. He took me to a gardening store, where we loaded up with beautiful plants, pots, soil, and everything I needed to transform his unkept patio into a lush paradise. I worked hard to revamp the small space in the Spring, spending countless hours potting, trimming, and watering our lovely roses, freesia, and fuschias.

Two months later, a record-breaking heat wave combined with a nine-day trip to Europe killed most of the plants. So much for my dream garden. Check out what was left!

garden before
(Donations for the fern's burial can be sent via PayPal.)

Mr. T had been bemoaning his dead garden for several months now, and I kept telling him we'd get around to it after the Winter frosts. But then it hit me...That could be the perfect Christmas gift! So, look what I did! (Yes, that's the fern in the lower right-hand corner, pleading for mercy.)
garden after
Because Mr. T and I travel a lot and his patio gets blasted by the harsh So Cal sun all day long, I wisened up and decided to go low-maintenance this time. As soon a he left on his trip, I dashed over to Cactus King and acquired the most fabulous succulents and cacti on the planet!! I had always dismissed these plants as thorny, ugly critters, suitable for inept novice gardeners.

Yes, they are thorny and ugly...But apparently, I am also an inept and novice gardener. Touche.

pots small pots large pot
I am now fascinated by these hardy, alien plants. One looks like a warty lettuce. Another one resembles a pre-historic tree. There's a lovely aloe that brings back memories of the Mexican countryside. While Mr. T's patio might not be the lush rainforest paradise we once envisioned, I am LOVING the funky look my new green friends add! What do you think?

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Blogger Maya said...

Hi! I found you over at IndieBlogs - from one planner to another - Hola, amiga! Do you mind if I put you on my fresh links?

12:42 PM  
Blogger TexInTheCity said...

I too found you on Indie Blogs and I just wanted to tell you that your garden is AMAZING!

I am not a wedding planner but I am an aspiring travel agent and would love to get your opinion on some destinations since you and Mr. T travel so much.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Baja Babe said...

Maya - isn't planning fun (sometimes)? ;) Feel free to add me to your links!

Tex - Travel is our passion, especially eco-friendly places...Awesome career, travel agent. Free trips, who can beat that??

1:29 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Linked! PS. Looove your succulent collection. V.V. envious of the fact you have a cute patio and not a hellacious, money (and soul) sucking yard to keep up. What bit of Mex. are you in?

6:00 PM  
Blogger twobuyfour said...

Nice job on the potted plants. You definitely have the right idea - succulents and plants that don't need a lot of water. My latest love is a "string of pearls" because they are virtually indestructable. The damn things keep breaking off and I think I've killed it - just keeps sprouting anew!

I lived in several spots in SD over the years, and usually had bougainvillea growing on the balcony or patio. Douse them with water periodically and they'll return from the dead. They'll climb up a trellis or a stucco wall or just about anything. Plus they are such beautiful oranges and purples and reds!

3:22 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

What a thoughtful gift! I love it. It looks great. Wonderful to go from temper tantrums to the fun of surprising someone with a great gift like this.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Baja Babe said...

2x4 - T has a bouganvillea in the front patio but it doesn't get much sunlight. I want to move it to the back but don't want to over-step my boundaries. ;) String of pearls? Will look into it...Anything indestructible if right up my alley.

lisa - Glad you liked it! It's so nice when people appreciate what you do for them.

Just thought you'd all like to know he was blown away by the garden. :) Mission accomplished.

9:07 AM  
Blogger TexInTheCity said...

Soooooo? Did he like the garden?

3:54 PM  

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