Sunday, January 29, 2012

Doors and Paths

Our aim from the very start is to work with nature and not against it. Following with that principle, we are planning to use as much natural material as possible.We are also pragmatic and not beyond using high tech material if it suits the situation. 
We purchased a couple crates of slates which we are going to use for stepping stone.It works with gravel service road that leads to walled courtyard garden.The door of the courtyard garden is made of fiber glass to better withstand the intense heat of summer and the cold of winter.It is wood grained so it looks like wood but does not splinter and does not need the maintenance of regular painting.We choses some decorative square wrought iron decoration which we learn is called clavos.Who knew that those decorative thingii had a name!! Another thing learnt!
I LOVE WINDOWS AND DOORS! During my travels, I am always on the lookout for vistas of windows and doors. They are fascinating to me. They are portals to the what is hidden. So very often they have lead me to beautiful garden, heartwarming scenes of children playing, craftsmen making beautiful handicrafts or just pure beautiful views. I love opening the doors to my gardens, no less this one in Temecula. This day the door open to beautiful sky above and beyond the garden.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Long live the ancient fruit - Pomegranate

Before everyone think that all  I am is a "murderer", my mother's favorite name for me after I failed to grant clemency to the roses, I do not kill everything on the land. Just outside the walls of the courtyard garden is proof - a large Pomegranate Tree, punica grantum. It is believed that the pomegranate was the forbidden fruit that Eve ate in the garden of Eden and not the "apple."Native to modern day Iran, it spread to Asia, the Mediterranean and Europe. Today, it is touted as a great source of antioxidants. 

Pomegranates are fruits that I want to love more..... In fact, I love drinking pomegranate juice, pomegranate seeds in salads, pomegranate syrup in Fesenjen; a delicious Persian pomegranate and walnut chicken stew, pomegranate piled high in a fruit bowl.....But, there is only so much pomegranate one can eat. I need to find more recipes for them. Apart from the huge tree in Temecula, I have 3 other pomegranate trees in my current house - 2 regular red pomegranate and 1 white pomegranate. I must have given away more than 150 fruits in December alone!!

9/5/11 The fruits are starting to turn red in color.

"Look how many fruits there" are says the woman who calls me "Murderer."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rose of Sharon

I almost forgot that there was another casualty of the the Courtyard project - the Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus L. It belongs to the Malvaceae family. The bush was along the wall that backs the kitchen - between the two windows. It was a tall deciduous shrub between 10 to 12 feet high. As you can see from the picture below untrimmed, it was wild mess of a bush!

The bush was a favorite of the birds, particularly the hummingbirds. Look carefully at the picture below, and you will see a hummingbird resting in the cool shade of the plant.
When the petals fall off, a seed pod forms. It opens up to look like a miniature version of the flower- a five "petals" brown flower.

Currently, the plan is to use the space occupied by the Rose of Sharon for tropical plants which benefits form the warmth and protection of the wall. Maybe the curry leaf plant, some serai, kunyit and mint. The cement will prevent the mint form spreading to areas it is not wanted. The Rose of Sharon  will not have died in vain.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

See-Thru patio cover

The house came with a wooden patio roofed with redwood lattice panels. It provided dappeled shade but it did not provide protection when it rained. We love the rustic wooden beams so we wanted to keep it. The sky over Temecula is so Big - anyone living in the west knows what I mean by Big. Beautiful blue skys, gorgeous clouds formations and breathtaking star lit nights, especially in the country when artifical lights is limited.
Dappled shade of the redwood lattice patio roof

Existing redwood panels are removed. The beams and support were given a new coat of paint.

The polycarbonate roofing panels before being cut to length of the patio beams

We installed solar panels to take advantage of the sunny skies over Temecula, to heat the pool water. The panels were installed on the roof of the house.

View from below - the protection film still needed to be removed.

The house is significantly cooler with the polycarbonate cover installed while remaining bright but without the glare.