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First, my headline is misleading. This is not really a blog about how to grow a rainforest. This is a blog about why I don’t garden much in the summer in San Diego.

San Diego summers mean beach, visitors, house guests, theme parks, no rain, watering, restricted watering, the beach, house guests, theme parks, visitors. Should I continue?

I go into maintenance mode. Plus you need a break! We could grow something amazing and significant here every month of the year. When I first started gardening here and realized this, it was a little overwhelming. Then I hit summer–I remember running around trying to garden while my house guests ate breakfast. It was stressful. I had to stop trying to have a perfect yard and let things be (as best I could).

Watering is still a priority and my vegetable garden, which really needs fertilizing.

But once you get things growing, you can take a rest.  Here’s my favorite story about that — One day at my old house, while I was walking through the neighborhood, I found a house that intrigued me. There was a stand of unique lime green palm trees in the front, some orchids growing in the shade and other tropical. I walked by there every day, trying to figure out this interesting house and the palms, which I realized also grew to enormous heights behind the house. I told my husband about it and soon he was walking by there too and we discussed it, trying to figure out what was going on. The person had a license plate on his/her car that said “Palms.” Clearly this was not some minor experiment in horticulture. This was serious.

Well, one day, my hubby being the kind of talk-to-strangers with ease guy that he is, got us an invitation to tour the property. It was in fact owned by an expert in palm trees and his wife was a landscape architect.

The backyard contained a bona fide rainforest. It was tremendous. They had bought the house next door and knocked out the walls so the rainforest could take over two back yards. They had what must have been 60 foot palms with a treehouse half-way up. I think there were hundreds of palm trees of all varieties and paths and orchids and impatients and all kinds of wonderous flora.

Our tour guide explained, “Once the canopy was established, it was easy to grow all the other rainforest plants beneath it.”

That stuck with us. In our wonder, we found a bit of humor. We repeated the phrase because it was so far out and so ridiculous to us–being from Michigan and Arizona–that someone could establish a rainforest with a canopy right in our neighborhood.

We use that phrase a lot in our marriage. It comes up two or three times a year one of us will say to the other– “Once the canopy is established,” and laugh.  It has become one of those inside jokes that only the two of us can understand. And that’s nice. But really, back to gardening, I think once your garden gets to a certain point, it can keep going with only a little bit of care here and there and a few seasonal clean up days. If you think you don’t have time to garden, consider that. Once you get your “canopy” in place, you can just watch it grow.

Anyway, that’s what I am saying about my garden right now!  Good thing, because I have a house full of guests waiting for breakfast!

Here are some pictures from my vegetable garden and one of my naughty puppy. I really need to fence her out of my vegetables–that’s one job that really shouldn’t wait.