It all started with the move. In search of a quieter neighborhood, we left the verdant confines of our tiny but terrific garden:

And found ourselves staring at this:

And this:

For many people, this scene would read as a “new beginning,” or maybe even a “blank canvas.” For me, it said “welcome to the desert of your discontent.” After a few weeks in our new home, I sank into a deep malaise from which my devoted husband tried to retrieve me.

“We’ll build a new one,” he said.

"When?" I demanded.

“Soon,” he said, non-committaly.

After all, we’d just sunk a hunk of cash into the inside of our new home, which had closely resembled the backyard, only with bad paint and dirty linoleum. But that’s another story.

“So what are we talking about, here?” he said, eyeing me worriedly. He sensed I was on the cusp of something dark. Neither one of us had realized, until this moment, how much my well-being pivoted on this garden issue. “How much garden do you need?”

“Green out every window,” I said.

And so our journey began. And now you can come, too! We’ve already improved our outlook significantly. Here is our backyard after we got rid of the ugly:

Wait a second. It's February. How about this:

For many people, this scene might read "mission accomplished." My husband's friend saw the summer photo and said "so the yard's done, right?" No, no my young padawan learner. No, no, and no again. This is what we call a blank canvas! There's still lots more to do, and you can watch it develop.

Along the way, we'll be answering questions like: "Can you build a lush cottage-y garden in the high desert without diverting the Truckee River for personal use?" And "What's Imidacloprid, and where do I put it in my yard?" (Put it in the trash, if you want the punch line, but we'll talk more about that later.) I’m not a gardening expert, just an enthusiast dreaming myself into a greener future. Come along! Come along!