May 2021 – In My Garden

As I said last month, spring is where it’s at in Northern California. Everything is blooming after the winter rains, trying to attract pollinators and set their seeds before the dryness of summer puts an end to things. I do water a portion of the garden through the summer, but this year it will be much less. Our lawns turn brown and dry, being without any summer water. Being summer dormant they will return to green come late fall. Our experiment with barley seeds didn’t turn out very well, the usual long winter rainy season never really happened. The new sprouts dried before they really had a chance. It has been the second driest winter in a century. As if there wasn’t enough to worry about, now we add the possibility of a dry well and a bad fire season.

But, in the meantime, the garden is glorious. Pink and blue columbines are almost 3 feet tall, the red and orange geums are in full bloom, salvias are putting out red and blue stalks of flower that attract hummingbirds, and the buzz of native bumblebees fill the air. It was a dry but cold winter, the bumblebees have been late making their appearance.

Grab a cup of tea or coffee (or a cool glass of rose) and let us wander through the garden. Starting with the veggies, my friend Linda provided me with some healthy starts of tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini.

Tomato, zucchini and cucumber starts

Tomato, zucchini and cucumber starts

I’ve planted the tomatoes in the raised beds under plastic to keep them warm.

Lettuce is still abundant, this soft head with a bronze blush is one of my favorites.






These apricot nasturtiums have found the way into one of the larger pots, and then they would their way into some botanical gin and tonics. Just the thing for celebrating the first BBQ of the season.

Botanical Gin and Tonic

Botanical Gin and Tonic

We are mulching the garden with a heavy layer of chips from trees we had taken out a couple of years ago. I’m hoping it will cut down of the water required in the flower garden.

The rhododendrons, lily of the valley bushes, and azaleas are blooming.

There are native wildflowers.

And the red salvias are still blooming like crazy, drawing lots of hummingbirds to the garden.

Back Flower bed

Back Flower bed

Columbines…these were originally seeded from my first packet of wildflowers.

And of course there are poppies.


Thanks for joining me today. I’d love to hear from you.

13 thoughts on “May 2021 – In My Garden

  1. Lovely. Oh how I miss California. I was actually born in Carmel! Do you make your own gin botanical? Or do you buy it that way? My friend turned me on to G’Vine, which is French, and amazing….

    • No, although it’s a good idea. We had some friends for the weekend (first time with other vaccinated folks indoors) and they made the drinks. We used a good quality gin and elderberry tonic, with the flowers as garnish. I will have to look for the variety. We plan to visit them in September in their holiday home, it would make an excellent gift.

    • Thank you, spring is the best season and there are constant changes. By late summer or early fall it looks very droopy.

    • I hope you are able to start it soon Christina. You are probably a few weeks behind us up there in Canada. I seem to remember that the summers can get quite hot though.

  2. Your gardens are lovely and I like all the bright colored flowers. Good luck with your vegetables, I spotted blooms on your young tomato plants. The bad in your post was the mention of the second driest winter in a century, certainly not good for that well of yours.

    • I even have a few tiny green tomatoes. Fingers crossed that we can eat them before the mice or the squirrels get them! No the well is a worry. We are having a couple of water tanks installed sometime this summer as back up. But the garden is going to have to get by on less water this summer. I’ve been mulching like crazy. When I live in Florida one of my fondest memories was the summer storms that came every afternoon like clockwork. I would sit on the porch with a glass of ice tea and watch the rain.

  3. Such a lovely wander through your garden -while I drink coffee… it’s 8am here!- enjoying the flowers. My favourites are reliable and useful nasturtiums but I’m working to add more through the edibles. What you’ve accomplished is inspiring. We have limited water supply and are always watching the weather and sky… so I’m hearing you ☺

    • We find we have a lot in common with you in Australia. Even though I love the summer it’s also the season of constant worry because of possible fires. And, unfortunately, we are far behind you in water conservation regulations. We are on a well and septic system (I think you are as well) and several of our neighbor’s wells have already gone dry. We are having two big tanks installed next week, just in case. As well we will install a water tank for capturing rain water sometime this summer. Next summer I hope to use that water for the garden. Meanwhile, I have reduced my watering to once every two weeks rather than every week. The garden will just need to survive. Sigh.

      • You remember well, we’re on rainwater tanks only -which other than a small tank- we prioritise for household use, and septic system. In dry times we’ve selectively diverted grey water from the laundry and kitchen to water the garden which has just kept it going.

      • Can you believe that in CA grey water collection has been illegal? The stupidity! Regulations are way behind need and water is going to be a big issue now and in the future. I wish we had put in a collection for it when we remodeled.

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