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In addition to showing you pictures of my new landscaping, I want to talk a little about what changes I made and why. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

First, you have to understand that I LOVE bougainvilleas. The brightly colored bracts are cheery and the vines can really cover a multitude of sins in the yard. However, they must be kept in their place, and these weren't. As a rule, these are messy plants. The bracts fall off at the first sign of cold and they are light enough that they fly easily. Also, they have some rather nasty thorns. These two beautiful vines overhung the pool and the sidewalk such that they were constantly littering the pool with the colorful bracts, clogging and filter, and did not allow for passage around the pool. In addition, they were so large that they were blocking the sun from the palm trees -- causing them to veer over the sidewalk in their search for light.
I considered keeping the vines where they were and pruning them severely. However, further thought convinced me that they could not stay where they were. They were just too much work around the pool. You can see how very big they are. The pool has just been cleaned, but within two days it needed to be cleaned again and the filter thoroughly cleared of the fallen bracts. I'll find a nice bougainvillea to put in the front yard where it won't cause problems.

OK. It's a lousy picture, but this is Frank Henrehan. He owns Budget Yardcare in Casa Grande, Arizona. He took on the task of handling the palm trees, bougainvilleas and a couple of other trees. (I was trying out a new photo program and didn't realize it had cut the pictures so small until it was too late.) The frog in the bottom picture is Frank's mascot. I'm hoping to have Frank, Tom and their frog come back soon, so I can replace these pictures.
Frank and Tom had the task of taking out the poor bougainvilleas. As you can see, the stumps were huge. Frank estimated that the vines were around 25 years old. Some of the stumps were 2-3" thick. I really hated to do it, but.... The whole job took almost 2 hours. I didn't envy them the job of trying to pull this prickly thing down. And they managed to do it without throwing too much of it into the pool. My husband will take the stumps down to the ground, and then we'll work on disintigrating them. They're already starting to regrow, but I'll keep them pruned back and out of trouble.
This is the debris that came from the bougainvilleas. When you understand that the wall is about 7 feet tall, you can really appreciate the amount of plant material you see here. The neighbor is thrilled since the bracts were flying into his pool, too.

We used a rope to hold the palm tree up in its new position. My husband figures that we'll have to leave the rope in place for 4-6 months before it will stand there on it's own. Before we pulled it into place, it was leaning out at about a 60 degree angle. Just to reach some sun. The tree is at the edge of a triangular garden bed that will be planted with iceplants, osteospermum, and lantana. These are all drought-tolerant ground covers that can stand the 115 degree summer days. Watch for pictures of this bed next spring.

Note on the saguaro. It was planted as a 1' "seedling" about 25 years ago. The neighbor says that it started branching out about 2 years ago. This is the healthiest saguaro I've seen in Arizona since I've been here, including some I've seen for sale in nurseries and at the botanical gardens. It's truly a magnificent specimen.

Put my cannas in the raised bed by the pool. I also added a gazania and a couple hearts and flowers to hang over the side. For good measure, the dracaena that I had in the house in Sumner has been added, too. Don't know whether it will survive or not. It wasn't happy about the change in climate, but it seems to be coming back.
The last work Frank and Tom did before finishing the backyard was to pull down this tree. It appears to be diseased, and resting on the house, could have allowed termites easy access to the roof. When they completed we realized just how diseased the tree really was. Didn't feel guilty about taking this one out at all.
Cleaning this up is next on the list. This is another one that overhangs the pool. But, unlike the bougainvilleas, it's controllable. Once we get it cleaned up in the first place. Right now, it showers little bb-sized fruit over the sidewalk and into the pool. Unfortunately, it's tall enough that Frank wasn't able to handle the cleanup job. I'll have to get somebody with a ladder to tame this beast.
There was an attempt to grow a lawn in the backyard. It's going to come out in favor of something a little more drought-tolerant. Also, watch in the future for pictures of the citrus trees that will go in along the wall.
Look what the rain woke up! I think this is a Sonoran Desert Toad. It's between 5-6" long/wide.
 

Side Yard 1
Side Yard 2
Front Yard 1
Front Yard 2
Front Yard 3
Back Yard

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