That’s kind of a joke- I don’t have a front yard. Honestly unless you live in one of a handful of very rich neighborhoods in San Francisco you don’t have a front yard. Even if you do live in one of the very rich neighborhoods in San Francisco you probably don’t have a yard.
The cosmic accident that is my house is funny because- the house is tiny and the back yard is huge. That’s how these lots were built in the 1940s during the post-war building boom. The expectation was either that the stay at home spouse would have ample land to tend to a kitchen garden, or that once your GI bill husband had more cash after his education landed him a better job, you’d build off of the back to get a bigger house.
Personally I think these houses were built as perpetual starter houses for small families who would move out as they grew. That was my parent’s initial plan- but then I came along and the prices of houses absolutely soared in San Francisco- making my parents realize- this house was it, and they were damn fortunate to have it. There are a few reasons I’m an only child- the house size is one of them.
This supports the kitchen garden hypothesis. What also supports that hypothesis is that this neighborhood pre WWII was almost entirely greenhouses and farmland. So it’s pretty good soil for cultivation- or it was before over half a century of drought cycles ruined it. Probably if I had the inclination (and the manure) with a little effort I could grow food out of the ground still- I’d just have to rent a rototiller and I’d waste a lot of water.
Mind you- I’m happy for how this worked out. It means I have a ton of space to garden in a large city, which a lot of people can’t have. Most people who are dedicated vegetable gardeners in San Francisco either have very small plots or pots- or they garden in a community garden. I’m very lucky to have the space I do out back.
However- there is one tiny strip of dirt in the front of my house. I call *that* the front yard. In days of yore my parents grew strawberries there. But I am not comfortable growing edible plants out front where cars and gasoline and runoff and pissing dogs etc are…
That’s where succulents come in! You can’t eat them, but they sure are pretty- and unlike flowers they don’t make you sneeze and they don’t take a ton of fertilizers to grow.
Of course- that’s also where weeds come in. As you can see from my poorly lit photo- the recent spate of rains has not spared my little tiny strip of dirt from a massive overgrowth of weeds.
(Also trash, as it’s on the street and people can be terrible)
There’s really no point to me putting in the work to pull them today,
or to clean up the trash as there will just be more from the rain as it’s going to rain again tomorrow. BUT! After Sunday’s rains it’s going to abate for nearly a month. Supposedly.
Anyways it will give me the chance Monday to do a final damage assessment and get my hands dirty.
The main plants are a splendid Aeonium flanked by two Jade Plants.
One Jade Plant has leaves rather like a tube of lipstick or coral plant-
And the other’s leaves are round and flat.
It’s all very green though, which on the one hand is nice as it plays off the red painted concrete. But I did hope for more color and around the time I started this blog after my last surgeries (or perhaps a little before) I put in a few other cheap but colorful succulents to see if any would grow big and balance out the more established fellows.
Well you can see the flowering tip of an echeveria here (covered by weeds)
And here’s a beautiful but short paddle plant.
Covered by weeds.
I have some work to do on Monday then- not only weeding but trying to figure out if any of the covered succulents are likely candidates for sustained vertical growth.
I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to spring for one or two already tall succulents in a contrasting color to the omnipresent green to flank the jade plants.
Maybe another aeonium in an interesting shade?
Or just a gigantic fucking cactus closest to the street to try and discourage the absolute spatulas walking through my neighborhood from throwing their food wrappers and used napkins in front of my house and into my plants.
I might be going with a cactus.