Sunday, April 8, 2012

Localized Riots


Small riots have broken out in my yard.  Lucky for me they don’t cause any damage and the only time I have to call in the SWAT team is when the mosquitoes get bad.  Instead, my localized disturbances are a delight to behold and I sometimes find myself clapping and giggling with the discovery.  I’m talking about color riots.

I have an average size lot and house for my neighborhood, about .18 of an acre.  It gives me a nice area to garden in both front and back, without over whelming me with work.  No sweeping lawns or vistas here since my landscaping drifts consist of three plants at the most.  The yard is best appreciated in small bites and vignettes, which is why I love my little color riots so much.

Gardening provides many such moments where, out of the corner of your eye, you catch some tiny wonderment.  Yesterday I was out weeding and two Anole lizards were Tarzan-leaping through the foliage.  I could almost hear the roar of lions and screams of apes as they traveled from leaf to leaf,  making soft “splat” sounds as they landed.  It was then that I noticed this combination of flowers.  I love how the white rose peeks through with the laughing Gaillardia and the wispy pink phlox.

When I refilled my watering can from the rain barrel these characters demanded notice.  In the breeze the orange California poppies dance around the red mountain stage like Moulin Rouge can-can girls.  Careful boys, you’ll loose your hearts with these!

In the backyard, my ‘Crimson Glory’ rose winds through mealy blue sage for another fluff of color and distracts me from turning the compost.


Underneath the grapevine, Nasturtiums turn their faces to the sun and brighten a planter.  


My yard-art chickens and pig cavort through the pink Missouri primroses that are taking over the walkway.  


As I return my digging fork to the garage I walk by a shady spot with wild petunias and purple oxalis having nothing to do with the quiet greenery.  Look at me NOW they call.


And finally, the true riot of color, my wildflower area.  I have offloaded several bags of seeds in this bed and this year with the rains it has really paid off.  These red poppies captivate me every time and completely dominate your eyes.  Never mind that the other flowers are amazing.  

I’d like to brag that all of this was planned but the truth is that in true riot fashion, most of it is by accident.  As a gardener you have a vision of what COULD be, but the true delight is the discovery of what actually happens.  This is why I torture my visitors with yard tours where I point out these little moments and try to share the wonder.  Lucky for me I have patient friends and neighbors whom every now and then see what all the fuss is about.  No riot gear required.