Everything in Bloom


After much overtime, and a very intense courier trip to Mexico City, I have finally returned to my favorite pastime of plopping my ass in the garden and tending to my flock. I have returned from my forced blogging hiatus and climbed down from the pyramid of the sun in Teotihuacan to discover that while I was abroad my yard has exploded with growth!

I’ll fill you in on my trip in my next post with some amazing photos! But for now, I wanted to return to simple things. The stuff that Mind Your Dirt is meant to be about. The garden. No more melancholy over the loss of rock stars or pissing and moaning about working too much. It’s the brass tacks y’all. The meat and potatoes (although neither of those are in the content below). In short, I’m back baby! Did you miss me?

Being away from home for a spell truly affords you some perspective. I came in late Thursday night so I didn’t see the changes until I woke up too early on Friday morning (jetlag). When I stepped outside, I was blown away. Things were bursting with buds everywhere I looked. But what I noticed before even stepping out the door was the sweet smell of jasmine. It wafted through the open window and pulled me out of bed in a pleasant dreamlike fervor.

Everything is in Bloom 04_Star Jasmine 01

And no, it wasn’t just a few flowers like shown above. It was bazillions of flowers!

Everything is in Bloom 04_Star Jasmine 03

Flowers as far as the eye can see! Reaching towards the heavens in fragrant awesomeness.

Everything is in Bloom 04_Star Jasmine 02

Then I began to walk around as the haze of sleep wore off and notice that life was exploding everywhere.

My newly planted cherry tree began pushing buds while I was away.

Everything is in Bloom 02_Cherry Tree Detail 01

And not just any ol’ cherry tree. This one is a Frankensteinian mutant freak of a cherry tree. Four different types of cherries have been grafted onto one root stock! Lapins, Black Tartarian, Stella (pronounced like Marlin Brando would) and Bing cherry.

Everything is in Bloom 03_Cherry Tree Detail 02

 I have high hopes for this cherry tree so it’s a good sign to see it budding on queue like this. It’s refreshing when my humble attempts at gardening behave as I hope they do. That’s not always the case and I’m learning as I go.

Another tricky wicket that I’ve been fighting to overcome was the willow tree I planted next to my water feature. Not a wise plan in hind-sight as you can see here. Well I’ve remedied that (for now) by some aggressive root pruning mixed with a water feature foundation rebuild that should prove to be effective at keeping the invasive roots at bay.

I also trimmed the willow tree above ground. The canopy was getting to much for my tastes so I decided to prune it back heavily to give some room for the grass and black-eyed Susan vine to grow. Also so I can walk around the tree without a machete and three local native guides to find the way to the lost temple of poor decision making. Here’s the tree with half of a haircut.

Everything is in Bloom 05_Weeping Willow 01b_Heavy Prune

I know this kinda defeats the purpose of having a weeping willow. Let’s just call it a “mildly depressed willow” for now and move on shall we? Grand.

Well, I’m happy to report that my major surgery did not cause the patient to lose it’s life! The mildly depressed willow is now bouncing back with new growth of its own!

Everything is in Bloom 06_Weeping Willow 02

Everything is in Bloom 05_Weeping Willow 01

And now I can see inside the chicken coop and run as well as give more space to the black-eyed Susans.

Everything is in Bloom 07_Black-Eyed Susan Vine


Speaking of the chicken coop, I also paid a visit to the girls to see how they faired in my absence. My awesome neighbor helped me by watching them while I was away. She ended up thanking me instead of the other way around because she really got into the whole urban chicken process. Which is great! I think all my readers should follow suit and get a backyard chicken flock going. Here’s a good place to start.

Everything is in Bloom 09_Mia and Red Enjoying Weeds
Mia and Red enjoying some fresh greens
Mia coming in for her close up.
Mia coming in for her close up.

And, of course, Piper gets the special treatment. She does way less damage than the other girls and is also on the bottom of the pecking order so I like to give her some alone time in the yard to gather bugs and weeds at her leisure. Here she is glowing in the setting sun with the other girls getting all jealous in the background.

Everything is in Bloom 012_Piper on the Prowl 01
Piper as the lone samurai warrior. This Ronin walks a different path than you and I.

While in the chicken run, I couldn’t help but notice that the Satsuma tangerine tree is somehow blooming once again. Perhaps it’s all the chicken shit that is giving this tree such a boost the last two years. Maybe its some form of wizardry. Either way, I’ve been getting oranges about three times more than usual!

Everything is in Bloom 010_Satsuma Tangerine Tree in Bloom again
Quite a bit of poop under that canopy!
Satsuma tangerine at it again!
Satsuma tangerine at it again!

My vitamin C levels will be through the roof if this keeps up. But let’s get back to the critters…

Everything is in Bloom 013_Piper on the Prowl 02
Piper on the hunt for yummy creepy crawlies.

I also got my regular visit from the millions of hummingbirds that frequent my yard and waterfall. Here’s a couple enjoying a drink and sauna during their busy day.

Everything is in Bloom 014_Hummingbirds taking baths

Speaking of busy days, here’s the opposite of that. Sasha enjoying the scene in leisurely style.

Everything is in Bloom 015_Sasha Being Pretty
Just stop it Sasha. Save some beauty for the rest of the world please.

And later…

Everything is in Bloom 016_Sasha Being Aloof


The winter vegetable garden is pumping along as well. I’ve got kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli in the mix with some flowers scattered about for the bees. I couldn’t find the photo from right after planting though. All I could find was this…

Thanksgiving 2015_01_Feature Image_Planting the winter crops with chicken and dog

That’s Piper helping me plant. I did find a shot from January for a comparison though…

Everything is in Bloom 017_The Winter Veggies coming in Nicely

Everything is growing perfectly!

Everything is in Bloom 017_The Winter Veggies coming in Nicely_Detail

It looks like I got the nematode problem all worked out. I’ve been keeping the slugs and snails away with crushed eggshells. No need for chemicals here! Only a few nibbles throughout the whole garden. There is always a safe and sustainable way to protect your crops so never give up and take the seemingly easy way out!


All of my fruit trees are in bloom as well. The pomegranate tree had zero buds when I left for Mexico. When I returned not only did it have new leaves, but about two dozen tiny flower buds as well. Nury will be so excited!

The apple trees were also showing signs of life…

Everything is in Bloom 039_Granny Smith Apple Blossoms
Granny Smith blossoms.
Everything is in Bloom 039_Pink Lady Apple Blossoms
Pink Lady blossoms.

Even the tiny Little Jeanne dwarf peach tree is bursting with flowers.

Little Jeanne dwarf peach tree.
Little Jeanne dwarf peach tree.
Everything is in Bloom 028_Little Jeanne Dwarf Peach Tree Detail
Detail.

I pruned this back aggressively as well. It was growing into a small bush instead of a tree so I removed all branches that were leading downward and outward and thinned the canopy to allow for more light and air. I’ve only tasted one peach from this tree in the three years I’ve had it. It was so delicious but not nearly enough. Hopefully it will do better this year.


In the front yard, the coastal coral is doing well. It’s in it’s flowering cycle now and I attempted to take a photo for you.

Coastal coral bloom.
Coastal coral bloom.

While this is a lovely photo, I realized that it’s too hard to make out the true beauty of the bloom from the low angle. The solution? Climb that bad boy and get a better shot! See the risks I take for my awesome readers?

Gardening with danger.
Gardening with danger.

And in slippers as well! And here is a better shot of the bloom.

For you, dear reader, I would do anything.
For you, dear reader, I would do anything.

Everywhere I looked I found amazing flowers. Take a gander as we stroll the yard in search of these beauties.


Truly the best welcome home I could hope for. I feel invigorated by this renewed life all around me. The promise of delicious organic fruits and vegetables makes me so happy for all the hard work I put into this once barren wasteland. It’s also good to be back in your good graces after my absence. I have a lot to share with you and I hope that you were able to forgive me. I’ll leave you with a photo of my new hammock. The last one was torn to shreds by  series of wind storms. Here’s the place that I never seem to make use of because I can never seem to stop farting around the yard.

Everything is in Bloom 040_A new Hammock


0 Replies to “Everything in Bloom”

  1. Great you are back, and what a lovely writing and beautiful photos, it’s a great reminder of what things will be like in a few months time here too, flowers and sunshine, they both make life so pleasant!

  2. You are an inspiration! Our chickens are laying at least 1/2 dozen/day!
    So far no hen wars even though we have 4 different varieties. We think? it may have to do with starting them together from day 1. Please explain a little more about the eggshells how you prepare and use them to deter pests. My tomato seedling are ready for planting. This is our year for gardening.

    OT Food for Thought Saw a good movie premier yesterday called RACE. the story of Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympics. Although the Hollywood fluff was apparent, Jesse’s nieces were there to verify the account of his story was true. Had to share sunshine as Florida politics get uglier with primary approaching.
    Gardening is therapy!! Love you, mk & Joe in Orlando

    1. Hello Mary and Joe! I’m so glad your flock is up and running!

      You just need to crush those shells into 1/4″ pieces for the soil surface to dissuade snails and slugs. I use a mortar and pestle for that. You can crush them into powder when planting little starters to add some calcium to the soil too.

      Ah, the 36 Olympics! I wish I could’ve been there to see Hitler’s angry mustache twitter. Sweet justice!

    1. Thank you! It’s definitely coming along. No more barren wasteland of dust. Rebuilding the topsoil wasn’t easy and is ongoing, but it’s nice to see these small promising changes in the meantime. Cheers!

    1. Our winter is always hit and miss. The plants often get confused and will bloom early some years. Sometimes it effects output from an early bloom. Hopefully not this year because things are looking good so far.

      I’m no stranger to the northeast winters being from Buffalo. Hang in there and you’ll be following suit in no time!

  3. Wow! Lots happens in a week. What a sight. Or I should say photos. I have a question about your veggie garden and eggshells? Do you just spread the around and the slugs are more drawn to them?

    1. Not exactly. You sprinkle them around the plants on top of the soil. It hurts the slugs and snails as they try to walk over them. They’re basically one giant sensitive foot. Stupid foot animal, get some shoe if you want my vittles.

  4. Well, look at that–Satsuma oranges growing right in your backyard! I’m so jealous … I only get to buy them at holiday time. The photomontage is gorgeous and hope-inspiring. My favorites are the coral tree blossom and that bee with the saddlebags on his legs. Spring is sprouting here, too, but it’s extremely soggy and gray.

    1. I have all the Satsumas that I’ll ever need. You can harvest anytime you’re in the neighborhood!

      My coral tree was a branch cutting from a very flower-laden parent. I’ve been waiting for a full show of its traits, but every year it seems to be only a few. She’s only four though, perhaps I have to wait until she’s all grow’d up…

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