19 July 2006

Tending the garden

Our house in Corrales, NM had no yard by design. We lived in the desert and it seemed wasteful to water grass, so we opted for a xeriscape area around our home utilizing native plants and hardy, drought-tolerant trees. Our borrowed house in Anzio is very different, being that it is on the Mediterranean Sea and a wide range of plants grow abundantly, including grass.

Francesca is the one who tends to the yard; Giorgio does the cooking and TV watching. I actually enjoy yard work to a point as a means of relaxation, so I have made it my job to lighten the load of our gracious hosts when it comes to tending the yard, or giardino as they call it here. I mow and trim the lawn each week before they arrive for the week-end, and trim the roses and pull weeds in the flower beds as needed. I have familiarized myself with their automatic sprinkler system and changed the settings as Francesca requests. We jokingly call her La Padrona, the boss, when she calls for me to assist in the giardino.

There are many potted plants, and some planters are not watered by the sprinklers. Francesca would use 2 large watering cans to tend to these areas, filling each one several times. I found the necessary parts at the local hardware store last week and was able to equip her water hose with an adjustable nozzle so she no longer needs to drag around the heavy watering cans.

With the wide variety of plants in the yard there is a varied array of plants producing fresh fruit, lemons and flowers. We, as well as the birds, enjoy the benefits of these plants and they provide some cooling effects during the heat of the summer.

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