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TWEAKS+inspiration : Front of House, 2.0

Winter storms wreaked havoc in the Bay Area and my garden was no exception. It was finally time for my gardener, Julio, to come to the rescue.

But first a little backstory. (I can't believe I'm writing about this on Mother's Day). New lateral sewer work began January 26. Super exciting because, in addition to our high property taxes, there was no extra charge. Prior, if you sold your home in Oakland, you had to pay $5-7K to have the work done. But there was a price to pay. One side of the street was closed so traffic came to a stop. Horns honked regularly. Supplies were stored on my property. Big machinery trudged up the hill almost every day. Lots of storms stopped work, sometimes for days. I was not complaining.

In February, the view from a kitchen window. Still chuckling over the man with my hose.

Fascinating to watch from the window. Somedays, all work had to stop while I backed out of the garage.

A parade of new sewer pipe moved down the hill one day. I think they were at least 30' long. They were piled in my side yard for weeks as the rain poured. By the end of February, they were all underground.

Julio started the yard work on May Day (which would have been our 33rd wedding anniversary). As it turned out, it was also the last day of the sewer work. Three long months. The last piece was installing new manhole covers. It was an exciting day!

That's my Julio (orange shirt) watching the guys. Turns out, Julio did this kind of work for years. All work, for both Julio and the sewer guys, would then stop for 4 days due to excessive rain.

Who knew a sparking new sewer would be a thing of beauty?

But back to Julio's work in the front. The new abelia (yellow on right) needed to be planted. I don't know if it is considered "Mediterranean" but color seems like a good thing on a gray day.

Looking back to spring, 2021, here's a photo of the new landscape.

And now, two years later. The coast live oaks will be trimmed later as they have just bloomed and new growth has started. In Oakland, live oaks are protected as they are historical and to me, magical.

In the foreground, the lemon lime heavenly bamboo is barely growing. Ellin took a look and reminded me about plants. "The first year, sleep; the second year, creep; and third year, leap." I need to be patient. In the back left, you can see the hill which is part of the regional park.

The newly planted abelia. Can't wait until it matures to 48" tall.

Utility markings for sewer work cover the asphalt. We are promised our street will be repaved soon. I'm taking all bets.

Happy Mother's Day!

cartoon : Dan Reynolds

For the building of this garden, please see :


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