The Fruits of my Neighbor

One of the things I love about California is how lush and fertile it is. Even though we are surrounded by desert, you really can grow almost anything here. It has a lot to do with the mild temperature (no frost or extreme heat to worry about most of the time), and also our ability to irrigate. The hubby and I love to take long leisurely walks around our neighborhood, and we love to discover the fruit trees that our neighbors all have in their yards. We have a mature orange tree and a young lime tree that producer fruit, and soon we will have guavas, avocados, figs, and strawberries to enjoy once they all grow a little older and wiser. So today I’m sharing with you the fruits and other edible plants that can be found around my neighborhood. Try not to drool to much.

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Orange

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Kumquat

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Rosemary

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Nasturtium

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Quince

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Blackberry

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Loquat

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Lemon

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Pea

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Peach

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Prickly Pear

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Fig

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Avocado

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Grape

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Grapefruit

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Hibiscus

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Apple

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Sunflower

Also, check out our herb garden.

What sorts of surprises have you found in your neighborhood?

*All photos were taken by my dear, supportive husband.

**This post was inspired by a friend’s recent discovery of loquats in her own neighborhood. You know who you are. Thanks!  😉

Spring Garden: Cozy and Delicious

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the flowers that overhang our back patio

We’ve been diving into Spring, and we’re so excited it’s here! I know, I do live in Southern California, and it’s pretty temperate most of the year. But still, Spring is the best time of year. The temperatures stop dropping into the low 40’s, the Winter rain takes a break, and just like on the East coast everything becomes new and green and lush again.

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our back patio (the “lounge”), great for reading, grilling, and chilling

On the first warm weekend, we jumped at the chance to get our outdoor space ready, starting with a refresh of our back patio (which I lovingly like to call our “lounge”). Last week I mentioned our first bbq of Spring; this is where the ladies watched from as the guys battled it out over a game of bocci ball!

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I love to cozy up here with a book

Plus, we have long aspired to be herb gardeners, and since this is the first Spring since we moved into our house last year, we finally have the space for a modest vegetable and herb garden. The hubby cleared out the garden left by the last owners, mainly because it was mostly berries and berries can be impossible to wrangle! (If you’re not familiar with growing berries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are travelers so they can quickly take over your garden if you’re not careful!) We put in a 4×4 raised garden bed and a collection of pots (most of them found around our yard in unexpected places, left lying around by the past two owners of the house).

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our raised herb and vegetable garden

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4 x 4 raised garden bed for the vegetables

We included all our favorite herbs, the ones we use the most in the kitchen.

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thyme

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cilantro

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basil

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rosemary

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chives

We have four types of peppers and a tomato plant, which we hope one day to combine with our young lime and avocado trees (they live in the front yard) to make completely home grown guacamole.

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4 kinds of peppers

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tomato

We threw in a zucchini and a cucumber, because you can’t go wrong with either of those.

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zucchini

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cucumber

And as lovers of strawberries, we decided to replace the ones we pulled out of the original garden with a few in large pots, so they can travel all they want within the confines of a controlled environment.

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strawberries (and one of the inherited gnomes that live in our garden)

I love peeking over at the garden to see how it’s doing, while lounging out back. And it’s especially satisfying when we need some thyme or basil for a meal and we simply go outside and snip off a sprig from our garden. Hooray for Spring!

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the view of our garden from our lounge (and another inherited gnome; we decided to let them stay for good luck)

What have you done to prepare your outdoor space for Spring?