Welcome to the Ghost Garden


2013 has been my most challenging year in the garden – ever.

We started the year with a prolonged drought, and then, a month ago, the monsoon season started with a vengeance. We have not had such a heavy monsoon season in several years and everyone is glad for the rain. But, as I mentioned a few posts ago, every rain this year has ice cubes.

Most of the hail storms barely miss us, passing to one side or the other, but one that hit early in the season did a lot of damage and made me start thinking about how I could protect my precious plants.

Someone suggested shade cloth and I bought many yards and made covers for some of the plant stands . . . and it was protective, but I couldn’t see the plants at all, and the garden looked like a ghost party. What’s the point of having a garden that you can’t see? Or ghosts that you can see, for that matter.

Since these storms have been coming through daily, I needed a solution that would not be quite so extreme.

I don’t know why, but I thought of nylon net. I didn’t want the garden to look like a wedding party either, but they make nylon net in a dark forest green and a taupe-y dark brown.

I bought 36 yards and a couple of packs of wooden clothes pins. This worked great.

I could see the plants, they could get light and air and water, and hopefully not get hurt by hail.

The garden certainly does not look normal like this, but there is a surreal beauty that I never expected.

ghostgarden1 ghostgarden gardenghost6 ghostgarden4

This last photo shows you what the shade cloth looked like too. And it shows all the Hibiscus wrapped with the pillars of our portal.


The nylon net folds out to a 72″ width and cuts very easily with scissors so it was easy to make a cover to fit all the different beds and planting arrangements. I attach the net with clothes pins to trellises, the edges of pots, tree and shrub branches, and everything else that is handy. I put plant stakes or something in the containers to hold the top of the net off the plants.

I take the net off for as long as I can for the Bees and Hummingbirds etc. and put it back on whenever the radar tells me I must. It is a ridiculous amount of work.

I have been doing this since late June.

A week ago last Friday, there were no storms in the forecast. I took the netting off.

Mark called me over to watch the gallery while he came home to meet a plumber we had fixing a leak in the water line to the new refrigerator.

While I was at the gallery, it started to rain – big drops – which means trouble.

I called home to tell Mark to get the dogs in and cover the plants as fast as he could.

It just so happens he was on a run to get parts for the plumber.

We got flooding rain and very bad hail. Wet dogs, flooded yard, lots of damage to plants.

Almost a month I had religiously protected every vulnerable planting – and there they all were left undefended when the hail hit the fan. They were very mad at me.

There is great irony in this tale, and probably some lesson about control issues, but I did a lot of wailing and weeping and could not tell what the lesson might be. I also didn’t feel like controlling all the wailing and weeping.

Then I dried the tears and started the clean-up and first aid. And promised every injured plant that I would not let this happen again!

The silver lining in this event is that I had left the netting on two trellises and those plants did not get a bruise. And that was BIG BAD hail.

So my system works!!

If you live in an area that is threatened by hail this Summer, you might want to try this on your most precious plantings.

The garden has valiantly recovered in the last week and a half. Nature is an amazing thing. As new leaves grow, I remove the torn ones.

For two days now, there have been no storms on the radar, and the Bees and Birds have been having a great time. However, I am going out right now to put the protection back on because we have more T-Storms in the forecast.

This is anything but relaxing, but there is a weird beauty to a garden draped in veils.

Watercolor Marker News


I have been doing some searching.

The Triplus Marker Set I have with the 1.0 tips can be found at this website for a VERY good price.


and here


And here


AND . . . I saw three packs at my local Staples store – in the children’s art section where the Crayola stuff is.

So, everyone who wants one of these sets can still get one.

I was also searching my art supply drawers and found an old set of Pentel markers.

I tested them and they work great for the marker painting too.


9 thoughts on “Welcome to the Ghost Garden

  1. Elaine Gongora

    I have seen photos of your garden before but never the views.
    I’m impressed with both. Sorry about the hail though. We (NJ) have had a wet hot summer so far but things have been calming down.

  2. jessica

    Thanks, Elaine. Our views and vistas are amazing. I can’t even believe how beautiful sometimes.

    That is my view from my beloved swing. Can you blame me for never wanting to leave it?

  3. Susun

    Even veiled, your garden looks beautiful, but I really understand the hard work and frustration. Like the stock market, it’s impossible to time the weather. Good luck! I have those Pentel pens, so that’s good to know!

  4. Carolyn

    Be thankful for the rains. Although we’ve had them around Tucson, they seem to skip my house entirely!. Great solution to the hails. You have such great growing conditions. Now…..could you come up with a solution for the javelina who hit my unfenced front yard from time to time. Bad words here!!!!

  5. mo

    haven’t tried the Staedtler water-based pens yet, but i’ve used the fineliners for several years and love them. and the Pentel colored pens have been my go-to marker for more years than i can remember … i love them. thanks for the Staedtler links ;)

  6. Jeanne

    What an incredible amount of work to put into something, only to see that something destroyed! I know it was heartbreaking, but as you said, Nature does rebound.

    The ghostly netting reminded me of spider webbing that I frequently see here in Central Texas. I have no idea “who” is responsible; I just know that to me, it is very beautiful. I’m going to try to post a photo so that you can see the resemblance. Hopefully, it will work.

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