We recently moved into a new home. The house is pretty new and most of the work we’ve been doing is cosmetic. The backyard, however, was another story. Picture the Sleeping Beauty forest. Without the castle, the princess or the prince. Or any magic. It was as if they’d planted a whole bunch of stuff and then just left it. The first time we saw the house, the back “hedge” was over 40 feet tall (12 meters). Crazy. By the second time we saw the house, they’d chopped it literally in half. Also crazy. And, naturally, dying. Because even being the inexpert gardeners we are, we know better than to hack a plant in half. (Unless it’s a rose, in which case they like that kind of treatment). Oh, and did we mention that the “hedge” was planted in a 3′ (1m) ditch at the back of the yard? Perfect for our 18-month-old to fall in… Yeah. So, re-doing the backyard was very high on our list when we moved in.
So a new retaining wall has been built, the trench has been filled in, and this morning they planted the trees. We’ve chosen a whole bunch of new ones. Living in northern California means you can grow citrus, but you can also grow peaches, and cherries and other things that like cold over the winter. We’re optimistically planting a pomegranate with the hope of getting fruit. Flanking it are two olive trees – a Manzanillo for green olives, and a Mission for black ones. Olives grow well in our Mediterranean climate with the bonus that they are evergreen. The additional bonus? They bring back so many memories of trips past.
Row after row of olives blanket the countryside in Tunisia. We ate olives for breakfast in Oman and Turkey. We munched on olives and other mezze in a Nabatean tomb turned bar in Jordan. Dark black olives drizzled in olive oil dotted our salads in Greece. Visiting the sacred Mount of Olives in Israel was amazing as was driving through row after terraced row of olives in the West Bank. And now a small sliver of that is growing in our backyard.