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Lookin’ Fly : Fluffy Subtles

lookin good 10

 

Second update following yesterday’s update regarding the trampoline shade structure curtain: it is now all wadded up sitting on the outdoor table, because not only did the dogs rip a hole in it, they tore the whole thing down and made a nest out of it in the balmy 95 degree weather yesterday (rather than enjoy the shade I was providing for them).  Some days I dream of having zero pets, ya know?

 

How was your weekend?  Did you do anything life changing?  My girlfriend has been working on a 12 page paper on abortion for her medical ethics class for what feels like years, so that was her weekend in a nutshell.  I think I can fairly state that none of us envy her, and that we’d all rather do just about anything else than write that paper.  Correct?  On the up side, did you see the abortion episode of Veep?  Too funny.  At one point Selena (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) says ““No, no, no, I can’t identify as a woman! People can’t know that. Men hate that. And women who hate women hate that, which, I believe, is most women.”  I might watch it a third time.

 

Today’s edition of Lookin’ Fly concentrates on things that provide your yard with “fluff” rather than color or structure.  I want to add more of this stuff to my own space because 1) it hides the open dirt, which there is a lot of, 2) birds love the cover, 3) I think it cools the yard a bit, or it at least gives the illusion of less heat, and 4) the more fluffy stuff there is, the better everything else seems to do (more shaded ground, more nooks and crannies for seeds to start, everything mixes together and becomes a happy family).

 

Clockwise from top left:

 

Some Kind of Buckwheat – Oops, I thought I knew the name of this, but nope.  Anyone?  Eastern Mojave buckwheat?  Either way, it’s truly lovely.  It gets these big, umbel-shaped flowers that come on tall stalks above the plant and they last for quite a few weeks in the spring.  In the fall the pine-like succulent leaves get a hint of red/orange coloring.  I have mine wandering about with different agaves, penstemons, and snake weed (coming up in this post).

 

Quail Bush – This is a great addition to any yard that needs some filler material.  Quail bush grows quickly, has beautiful silver leaves, and  provides food and cover for birds.  Books will tell you that this shrub is anywhere from 3-9′ tall by 6-12′ wide.  I don’t know what to say about that huge size range – maybe plan for somewhere in the middle (6’x9′).  Don’t you love the silver foliage?

 

Snakeweed - My plant book has these kind words to say of snakeweed: “From the point of a land manager or a conservationist, snakeweed is a worthless plant, not even useful in retarding soil erosion.”  So maybe I should not be singing its praises?  But the thing I love is that right now it’s super fluffy and green, and soon it will be covered in tiny yellow flowers that almost seem to glow.  Other times, probably mid-June, it gets much more of a dormant look (brown).  But don’t we all feel a little crusty by mid-June?

 

Four Wing Salt Bush - My world has been turned upside down today, because for two solid years I thought this bush was desert almond.  I even went back to the nursery and bought two more desert almonds because I loved this one so much.  Wrong!  It’s Atriplex canescens (quail bush is Atriplex lentiformis), and now that I finally know what it is, I think I’ll plant three or four more in the next few weeks.  I would guess that they’re usually a 4’x4′, but I’m sure you can find huge specimens where they get a lot of water.

 

Does your yard need some fluff?  Maybe your yard needs anything and everything beyond flat dirt?  If so, I suggest starting with rain harvesting basins, then trees, then fluffy stuff, then anything else (flowers, cacti, etc.).  Soon enough you’ll have you’re own happy family of plants and creatures.

 

 

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