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The morning after

Updated: Apr 25


Finally, yesterday, the wind died down. I venture out to assess the damage in the garden.

The almond and Santa Rosa plum have had their green fruit seriously thinned, but thankfully no broken limbs. Oh well: it’s me and the birds now in competition for what remains as it ripens.

The Santa Rosa plum was hardest hit being on the south west corner and exposed to the full force of those deadly strong gusts. I don’t see any green fruit still on the tree.

Good news is that two of the front pomegranates are budding! These were the first trees planted on the property in April 2019, the first spring after custodianship of this little piece of Chihuahuan desert was granted us on 9th November 2018 (or that’s what the warranty deed says).

Day of planting (above) and 3 years later, today (below). Yes I know I need to deal with the grass which has been revived by my watering the trees.

When these three pomegranates were planted, water and electricity had not yet been turned on at the property. For the first few months of their life, these lill’ babes had to survive on water carried in buckets across town at the weekends, when I was in town. At the time, I worked over two hours drive away in the mountain town that burned down (some of it) in last weeks wildfires.

I am really pleased to see these buds. Imagine! We might have pomegranate fruit set this season. It was suggested that they would probably only begin bearing 3-5 years from sowing. I was thinking: at least I will be enjoying home grown pomegranates in my seventies.


As I understand it, pomegranates have their origins in the Middle Eastern desert ecosystems, in the region today known as Iran and northern India. They promise to thrive in the sandy alkaline salty Chihuahuan desert soil.


Pomegranates are an important piece of my vision of a more water-conservative style of gardening, which will still provide some food, greenery, beauty and wildlife habitat.

To this end, this spring, I introduced a Kashmiri pomegranate variety to the back garden. Currently I am having to restrain the self seeded Hopi Red Dye amaranth from smothering the young pomegranate. Gotta love that colour juxtaposition, though, of bright green and deep burgandy purple - almost black at times.

With the wind dying down, I ventured a quickly put together stall at the Saturday morning Farmers Market. I forgot to take pictures until almost closing time, but did quite well with allium tuberosum (garlic chives)starts and aloe vera in terracotta pots. One magnificent yellow striped sansevieria found a new home too.

Seeds always sell in spring but are hard work for the price. A lot of discussion goes into each $2 sale. A secondary role of the farmers market vendor is education, I tell myself. I am glad people want to know about gardening, though I did get one young thing in designer peroxide pixie and skimpy baby doll frock, return the allium tuberosum program notes which come with each plant I offer, with a slightly disdainful “I don’t need this”.

Spice mixes, which also always provoke a lot of discussion and animated sharing about food, (our bellies are good for engagement it seems) did well as always. The packaging is a winner on these, gets lots of compliments, making them popular as gifts as well. I am glad to become known as a purveyor of unique gifts. Everybody loves the leopard labels. Me too.

Salves and balms were steady, but I forgot to bring testers so had to put up with random opening and sniffing of the merchandise. Not something I encourage.


While the cards generated a lot of admiration, with a surprising number of people recognizing that many cards were representing the Chinese lunar zodiac animals, the best seller of the day was definitely the hand block printed tea towels. Good to know all that effort full printing wasn't for naught. I could have just done turtles and mermaids, though. I printed 12 designs and turtles sold out in every colour with the Carribbean inspired Jata mermaid coming a close second. The occasional elephant. Now I know.

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