Jenny vs. the Jungle…Guess Who Is Losing?

Jenny vs. the Jungle…Guess Who Is Losing?

I am LOL! Managing the jungle isn’t easy.

The weather here is perfect for things to grow – lots of sunshine, afternoon rain showers, and light breezes that bring seeds for new growth. In the past six months, my teenaged friend has cleared my yard three times. The first time was the most labor intensive, since the land was completely overgrown, and he and his father cleared everything down to the bare earth.

The last two times has been quicker, but so has the growth. Remember all those Ramon nuts I wrote about? Well, even after giving a ton of them to the neighbors, I have hundreds of tiny Ramon trees growing in my yard now. Every time I walk outside I pull up a few dozen…and that’s after my friend has gone through and cleared.

Slowly, though, my yard is starting to look more like a yard than the wild jungle. I’m not planning on making it look like a perfectly manicured yard, although there is one area that I have planted grass seed. Somehow the U.S.-style lawn doesn’t seem to fit here. But I am creating pathways through my land, planting fruit trees (Mandarins, avocados, date, coconut, mango, lime and lemon) and building rock-bordered areas filled with Birds of Paradise and other locally exotic plants.  And we’re moving small palms along the perimeter to create a pretty privacy screen on the sides and back of my property.

This past week, my friend built two stonewalls in areas that I wanted to plant flowers and fresh herbs. He used a traditional method of building the walls, sandwiching stones he found in the yard between cement, which fits very nicely here in Guatemala. Then he filled up the areas with dirt, and, voila! Raised beds for my plants.

There is a small but beautiful nursery about 30 minutes from my house and I went there and bought three types of flower plants, some rosemary, mint, aloe and basil. They were out of cilantro and some other herbs, so I’ll have to make another trip next week. And then I spent a very happy afternoon planting and watering.

And now I’m battling the other reality of the jungle: the bugs. It took less than 24 hours for the bugs to discover my new flowers and start munching away. My friend had given me something to use, but it was ineffective. Today I made a mix of vegetable oil, dishwashing detergent and water and sprayed the leaves. It’s too soon to tell if that is going to work, and I’m open to any suggestions people may have! Ideally, I’d like something natural.

In the meantime, I am consoling myself with the fact that if humans ever do completely make the planet uninhabitable for people, Mother Nature will easily take over and make things beautiful!



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