In My Garden – July 2021

In My Garden – July 2021

This will be a very quick tour of the garden this month but I wanted to get in an update.

It’s interesting to see how the pollinator garden has changed over the past couple of years, plants have come and gone. Our winter rain was so sporadic and rare this year that many annuals did not return. I think the seedlings dried up before they could get a start. The perennials however, have flourished. This fall I will try reseeding, fingers crossed that we get more rain.

Pollinator Garden July 2020

Pollinator Garden July 2020

In the vegetable garden the peas have just about finished, I will be pulling them out this month to plant winter vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale.

The bush beans have lots of flowers but no beans yet.

Bush beans

bush beans

There are a couple of kale plants at the end of the bean bed, rescued from the discard pile at the Botanical Gardens. They were looking very wilted and sick but have recovered and flourished.

Kale

Kale

We’ve been eating a lot of zucchini from the garden. I pick them when they are fairly small and enjoy them grilled.

Grilled Zucchini from the Fort Bragg garden

Grilled Zucchini from the Fort Bragg garden

The lavender plants are full of bees.

Lavender

Lavender

The dahlias are starting to bloom.

First dahlias

First dahlias

I am trying to limit my watering and I’m afraid the garden is going to look the worst for it this summer. Wells are going dry all over the area. So far we are okay but it’s a worry.

Most of my time in the garden this month has been taken up by trying to keep track of our new puppy, Shanna.

Shanna

Shanna

She’s into everything (although learning to stay out of the raised beds and the flower garden), and everything goes into her mouth. And, anything can become a favorite toy.

Shanna vs an old mop

Shanna vs an old mop – Casey and Quinn look on aghast…What is she doing?

And then we had our favorite corgis for the weekend. It was a wild time but everyone got along. Generous amounts of treats kept everyone (mostly) in line. That’s the lone male, Milo, walking away.

Aussies and Corgis

Aussies and Corgis

So, that’s where and how most of my time has been spent this month. It’s the reason this post is so late.

I can’t believe it is almost August.

Be well everyone, stay cool and safe. Get vaccinated.

 

In My Garden – June 2021

In My Garden – June 2021

The big news in the garden this month has nothing to do with plants.

Water Tanks

Water Tanks – and Casey investigating

Two 3000 gallon water tanks with outlets for fire hoses.

One out of four wells is expected to run dry this year in Mendocino County because of the drought. Our county depends heavily on seasonal rain water for all our water needs, and it was a very dry winter. These tanks also have outlets for fire hoses if needed (there are no fire hydrants out here in the country). So far our well is holding steady but we worry. The water from the well will go into a new filtration system before being pumped into the tanks for use inside the house. We have several new outlets directly from the well (unfiltered) for watering the garden.

Our lawn has gone dry and brown, it goes unwatered.

Summer is beginning to show its head in the vegetable garden

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable GardenThe first tomatoes – still green but  there are lots of flowers on the plants

Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes

Broccoli is heading up.

Broccoli

Broccoli

The first baby zucchini

Zucchini

Zucchini

The cucumbers are also under plastic to keep them warm but aren’t showing a lot of growth yet.

In the flower garden the spring native wildflowers are beginning to go to seed. Although they look a bit messy I will leave them to sow their seeds for next spring.

I know it is early summer when the roses and lupins start to bloom.

First Rose - Just Joey

First Rose – Just Joey, they one is very aromatic

Lupin

Lupin

The snapdragons starts a good friend gifted me in the fall are blooming in all colors.

Snapdragons

Snapdragons

And the bees love the lavender in bloom along the driveway.

Lavender

Lavender

The pollinator garden showed very few annuals this year (maybe because of so little and very sporadic rain), but lots of perennials are showing their heads. Dominating are Sweet William Dianthus in all colors, California poppies, and Shasta daisies.

Pollinator Garden June 2021

Pollinator Garden June 2021

Just for fun, here is what it looked like in June of 2019 the first year, and June of 2020.

The rhododendrons are almost finished although I did manage to find a few to cut and bring into the house.

That’s my garden summary for this month. How is your garden doing?

May 2021 – In My Garden

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.

Lettuce

Lettuce

 

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums

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.

In My Garden – March 2021

In My Garden – March 2021

In My Garden I have hummingbirds. They are voracious at the feeder which hangs just outside the dining area window. From the kitchen I watch the nectar disappear seemingly overnight. In past years, the garden has been populated exclusively by Allen hummingbirds. They would disappear in early January, migrating further south, to appear again in late March. Sometime last summer the Annas arrived, they are year-round residents here on the coast. All summer and fall there were fierce battles between the two species both at the feeder and near their favorite flowers. I’d hear an orchestra of their calls whenever I worked in the garden, and my head was often buzzed. Things are currently much quieter right now. I expect their explosive fighting to resume soon as the more aggressive Allens return to fight for their territory and claim supremacy at the bottle brush shrub they all seem to love.

In my garden I see the very first signs of spring. It’s not only the shy green shoots emerging from the base of what looks like a dead stick, but also something about the light that’s different. It’s the clarity and piercing quality of the sunlight, like the shock you get when emerging from a long grey tunnel. You may not have even realized you were in the dark until the brightness hits your eyes. The plants must feel like that as well, a sudden awakening after a long sleep, emerging into new light. Part of the joy of the early spring garden is the search for those signs of new life, so different from the sometimes exhausting exuberance of summer.

The main flower beds still look a little bare except for one of the winter flowering salvias with its bright red blooms. This one is Salvia gesneriflora ‘Mole Poblano’. 

The hummingbirds have already discovered it.

Back flower beds

Back flower beds as seen from the patio off the master bedroom

In the vegetable garden I’ve planted lettuce from 6-pack starts. You’ll see chives, chard and spinach in this bed as well. I will start lettuce from seed in another few weeks.

lettuce

lettuce and chard

The lawn (if you can call it that since it is dominated by dandelions) is green up. Although the weather is still cool, the longer daylight hours are stimulating everything into sudden growth.

The daffodils are flowering, their sunny yellow faces welcome sights in the rain. And the freesias are just about to bloom.

Daffodils

Daffodils

Freesias

Freesias

Later this month I will be putting out a layer of compost over the new shoots to support their rapid growth. It’s still a little cold and our last frost free date isn’t until next month so I want to wait as long as possible.

In my garden, or rather on my feet, I have new gardening clogs reflecting the colors of a spring meadow. The clogs brighten my mornings as I wander through the garden in my bathrobe, a cup of tea in hand, to check for new growth and any overnight damage by marauding insects or slugs. I find these solitary early morning check-ins one of the great joys of having a garden.

Gardening clogs

Gardening clogs

 

 

 

 

In My Garden – February 2021

In My Garden – February 2021

Well, it is still February although admittedly near the end. My In My Garden – March 2021 post will not be too far behind. Spring is finally just starting to show its face around here. It has been an unusually cold winter for these parts, although not nearly as cold as those poor souls in the southeastern part of the U.S. Still, it has delayed the emergence of spring by a few weeks.

I spent the early part of February packing and moving into our second home in Oakland (see the March version of In My Kitchen, which is yet to be posted). So I didn’t spend much time in my Fort Bragg garden. In Oakland, which is over 3 hours south of here, spring has definitely sprung. The tulip magnolias are blooming and folks are walking around in the shirt sleeves. Not so here, we are still bundled up.

There are, however, some first signs of spring.

The pollinator garden has early daffodils.

Pollinator Garden - Feb. 2021

Pollinator Garden – Feb. 2021

Following is a picture of the front garden. Remember from an earlier post we decided to seed the front garden with barley seeds. The tip came from what they used on the dunes in San Francisco when they created Golden Gate Park. Our soil in the front is mostly sand and of very poor quality. Anyway, the barley has quite successfully seeded itself. We’ll have to see what happens later in the season.

Front Garden - Feb. 2021

Front Garden – Feb. 2021
Barley is emerging

In the vegetable garden the cabbages are heading up and the baby kale looks very healthy.

Cabbage heading up

Cabbage heading up

Baby kale

Baby kale

I was going to compare this year’s garden to the same time last year but, it seems I never got around to writing one in February of 2020. Who knew at that time that we were on the brink of a major pandemic.

Be well everyone, get your vaccine when it is available, practice masking and social distancing. Things are looking brighter but it is not over yet. We need to look after each other.