We've just spent three hours pulling nettles out of our yard. Here are two photos of our yard - these photos cover every grassy space except Scully's Kingdom, a small clearing reached by a two foot wide path above our back patio and not a place we ever visit.
Now imagine every part of this green space covered with weeds and nettles instead of grass. Our gorgeous yard basically turned into a trash heap of weeds...and dog poop. We've had to switch Scully's food to what we can get here, which has affected, ummmm...output. This has also been pretty detrimental to our yard since we no longer "watch" and then pick up when he uses the privy. BUT, having a yard for Crazy Dog to run has been amazing. He loves it, we love it. Sometimes, as I'm sitting on the sofa on the computer, I look out the wall of glass windows onto the terrace and notice Scully out there throwing his toys in the air. Other times, I watch as he runs by at full speed, then again a few seconds later - he just gets taken over with the urge to run laps around the house...which is one of the many reasons we call him Crazy.
But back to the nettles. They were everywhere, big ones, small ones. We weeded and bagged until neither of us could bend over anymore (and have now resorted to strong cocktails to ease the muscle pain). Now, we have a dirt lot covered with palm fronds to keep Scully from digging holes and preventing grass to grow. The palm fronds are from our dead palm tree. I thought our neighbors had killed it on New Year's Eve when they shot a firework directly into the top of it, however, it turns out Naples has the plague of the Red Weevil right now, currently killing off the palm trees. There is no cure. So far, only one of ours has died but the others may soon follow. I suppose I'll have to come up with a new name for our yard then. I name everything. The yard pictured above is called Palm Tree Path. I really hope the name can stay, but if we lose them all, we'll still have a few Eucalyptus trees as well as some cacti varietals, so I can come up with a new name. While pulling out all the nettles, we even found a flagstone path in part of the yard that we didn't know existed.
We're constantly finding things we don't know are there, even in this small yard. The reason is because everything gets so overgrown so quickly. In the Lost Gardens (named after the television show)...
we're constantly finding little surprises. I think I blogged already about the huge, amazing water fountain we found in the back corner of one (we haven't tried to get it working yet, and with a large tree growing all around it, may never do so). Last week, in the small, island garden, I found a huge piece of carved plaster or stone - like a pediment over a doorway. It had been covered by ferns and other growth, but I was in there weeding and found the half-buried carving. It's a lot of fun and is why we call these the Lost Gardens. Peek behind a plant, and I find some sort of ruin.
Scully's Kingdom, which I mentioned above, has some sort of citrus tree (itty-bitty, orange, sour things), a huge area of a flowering tropical plant, some bushes and grasses, a chimney (??, no idea why), and best of all for him, the wall bordering our yard upon which Sinbad and Other Kitty like to saunter. Scully spends lots of time up there, lying about in the sun, standing up on the wall to look for his kitties, and other dog sorts of things. Since that area is his Kingdom, he does not pollute it with his waste. How thoughtful, to not poop in the one area we never, ever visit.
Our terraces and patios have completely boring names with no iota of creativity - so disappointing. They are Front Terrace, Back Patio, and Roof Terrace. We also have Glass House, but that's also pretty uncreative, considering it's a large room with metal framing and glass windows forming every single wall. We did finally secure some citrus trees for the Glass House - actual, usable citrus, rather than the sour things growing in Scully's Kingdom. On our way home from church today, a nursery on our drive was finally open, and we spotted some lemon and orange trees in her offerings.. We found the lady to be incredibly helpful (at least in Italian - we hope we understood her instructions) and were able to pick up a four-season lemon tree and an orange tree - only two oranges left on it, and then, no more until next winter. We were hesitant to buy more than the two as we don't know if we'll be successful in keeping them alive. We also got a camelia bush that has a bud on every single, little branch, and I can't wait for them to open! We're excited to see what spring is like in our yard.
Totally off topic from this post: Nathan just showed me the Bing homepage today. If you're reading this on Sunday, take a look at it. For those unfamiliar with Bing, it's a search engine and the home page each day is always some sort of fantastic photo of a place in the world. Nathan likes to look at it every day and read about the location - he calls it his daily "Ten Minute Vacation." Today's photo is the Galleria Umberto, here in Naples. It's a mall located downtown with the most gorgeous roof and plaster work you've ever seen.