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Safari to the Bottom of the Garden

Articles: Safari to the Bottom of the Garden

The author’s pond at the bottom of his garden. Author’s photograph

We usually think of our gardens as places for our own pleasure, of our own contrivance. If our houses are the first ones built on our land, we tend to regard them and the gardens we create around them as something new. But our land has a history. We are not its first inhabitants, and it is instructive to look back at what was there before, and what and who has survived around us.

My own plot of ground had been part of an apricot orchard; when we bought it, there were still a few old trees, gnarled and ragged, producing some fruit but slowly declining in their old age. Prior to the orchard, the land was part of a cattle ranch with a history going back to the time when the mission lands were divided; Rancho San Antonio left its name on streets, parks, and malls. Before that? Aside from the native peoples, there were bears, deer, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, raccoons, and more. The bears are gone and mountain lion sightings are only occasional, but there is still wildlife, which, with a little encouragement on our part, will come out of hi...


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