I hate the nearly constant winds in Amarillo. Didn’t have them in Dallas, St. Louis, or Warren Township, NJ. I wish we got more than about 19 inches of rain on average each year. Got as much as 50 inches in New Jersey. These are but two laments that people have here. “Only in Amarillo do we have to put up with….” I’ve heard these kinds of complaints everywhere I’ve lived.
Wherever we are, we often believe that the grass was greener where we were before. Gardening in Amarillo is, like everywhere, an experience of working with — and at the mercy of — nature. I also bemoan the high alkalinity of the soil, the rapid, large changes of hot to cold and cold to hot we often get in the fall and spring, respectively.
We lived in north-central New Jersey for 20 years prior to moving back to Amarillo. The high precipitation resulted in no need for a sprinkler system. Except for occasional drought, the hose was used for keeping newly planted material moist until it was established.
We lived in a forest and I always had at least two or three compost piles going that gave me all the wonderful leaf mold I could use. I used it for mulch and as a soil amendment. The forest sheltered us from winds and we rarely had to close windows when it rained.
The soil was acidic allowing me to scatter abundant ashes from our fireplace on lawns and gardens without fear of doing harm. We used the fireplace heavily as I had all the firewood I wanted. The acidic soil also gave a larger plant palate from which to choose.
And so it goes – dreaming of the place where you are not. Eden!
But when I lived in Eden, I bemoaned the fact that the hundreds of dollars of plants planted yesterday were eaten and/or pulled out of the ground overnight by the white-tail deer that were as thick as flies. We would sit on the deck and look into the woods, which in the 20 years that we lived there, were transformed from lush forest with several layers of understory trees, shrubs and other plants to bare forest floor and nearly all understory plant material destroyed and browsed up as high as the deer could reach while standing on their hind legs.
As I planted rhododendrons, azaleas, and others I cursed the thin soil permeated by rocks and tree roots everywhere. It was a massive effort to separate the rocks and soil, add amendments, and sometimes topsoil to provide the proper planting environment.
And the wonderful, slightly acidic soil caused by acid rain from coal-fired plants in the Midwest belied the fact that everything outdoors was affected by the rain. Brass mailboxes and porch lights corroded and turned black. Ungaraged cars lost their sparkle. Lime was needed on lawns.
Of course, while gardening in New Jersey I thought of St. Louis where we lived before moving. All I had to do was dig a hole and plant in hot, sultry, and sometimes wickedly cold St. Louis! Ah, Eden.
Forever dreaming of Eden! Enjoy where you are.