In My Garden – Mid May 2023

Our 14-year-old Australian Shepherd, Casey, is not doing well. We suspect she has cancer, and it has settled in her lungs. She wakes at dawn, coughing. We think there must be fluid accumulation overnight. Once she moves around a little and empties her bladder she quietens and can go back to sleep. I get up and stroke her, sit with her outside a bit while she wanders around, and have my first cup of tea.

Once I am up, however, I can’t go back to sleep. I like the early morning. Mornings are quiet as far as people noise. But very noisy in other ways. The ocean is roaring this morning. The tide must be high with larger than usual waves. We are at least half a mile away but can hear the surf most days.

I also hear the morning chorus of the birds. Do you know the Merlin App? It can identify birds by their song. I let it run this morning while I sipped my tea, and it identified the following birds:

  • Swainson’s Thrush
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  • Violet-green Swallow – they are also called tree swallows and have nested in at least one of our birdhouses
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Wilson’s Warbler
  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Common Raven
  • Stellar’s Jay
  • Black-headed Grosbeak
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher
  • and a Great Blue Heron (it must have been flying overhead)

That is quite a list and they make quite the orchestral sound.

The platform of the back deck (the one off the kitchen) is completed. We were able to set up two chairs and enjoy a glass of wine on Friday night. It’s also where I sat with my tea this morning to record the birds.

Back Deck Platform

Back Deck Platform

Yesterday I dug out two large plants (one was a huge grass) from one of the flower beds. They weren’t that attractive and were shading other plants. I’ve put in a few dahlias and other plants that weren’t doing well in their current locations. This is a sunny bed. My early morning excursion brought attention to a lone banana slug making its way towards the dahlias (they love dahlias) and I was able to intercede before any damage was done. 

I haven’t quite decided what I will put in the middle. I have a few more dahlias in pots that are just starting to emerge, I think they are fairly large and could go in the middle. Sunflowers??? I want a focal plant, something red or yellow or blue. Suggestions of things that work well with dahlias? Something tolerant of low water, redwood roots, acidic soil, and sandy loam soil.

The same bed, just around the corner, is rampant with Geum Tangerine Dream and Columbines. The Geums do very well and can tolerate crowding by other plants.


More pictures of that same garden island bed…

A lot is going on in this section of the bed…ravens wing, cuphea, geum, grasses, lavender, Verbascum, and more.

The one completed raised – raised-bed has lettuce and radishes. With our recent sun and warmer weather, they are doing well. We hope to complete one more today, I have asparagus starts I want to put in.

Spring is finally here.

The sweet peas are going to be in bloom any day.

That’s my mid-month report.

I will keep you all informed about Casey.


I hate to think about having to put her down. She’s been ‘the one’ for me. You know what I mean if you are a dog owner. There will be one special one. Casey came to us as a puppy just a week after Chris left for college on the East Coast. They have teasingly called her my ‘child-replacement-dog’. I’m her person and she is my dog.


3 thoughts on “In My Garden – Mid May 2023

  1. Liz- SO sorry about Casey. She is an absolute love. And I know she is “your one”. She’s the Best Girl, that’s for sure.

    The garden looks great!
    In one photo you have kind of wire boxes over your shoots– they look like metal drawers.. Where did you get those? Are they salvage from something? they’re pretty brilliant.

    • They are from IKEA, reclaimed from an old shelving system. I use them to deter the birds and chipmunks from new seedlings.

      Thanks for the kind words about Casey, we are taking one day at a time right now.

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