June 19, 2023

Tending. A different way.

This little grouping came after some needed pruning and clipping this morning. Pajama gardening is my favorite.  

I've been tending the spaces almost each day since spring. There was a small interruption with a mama dove and her eggs and then babies in a gathering basket right on top of my potting bench at the back door.
Other than necessary ins and outs, we've tried to keep traffic to a minimum so not to bother our sweet guest. They flew the nest this morning so I did a quick bit of catching up and welcomed this lovely batch of dahlias inside.

I've enjoyed playing in the garden since we moved into this house years ago. The sellers had filled the patch between the patio and the lawn with petunias. That's it. (They took the paint and petunias idiom literally.) It took no time for me to put a few roses in the ground. Over time we added strawberries, some sweet potatoes, cukes, pumpkins, Icelandic poppies - a long list of trials and errors. I read, I attempted, I learned. I did it when I had little, little kiddos, a husband, a job, family and friendships. The garden took a back seat (the way back, third row to be honest) and got the love it deserved when I had the breathing space.

Then, my landscaping pal Gary and I took a real look at the space we have and made a hardscape plan. Jennifer, a beautiful landscape designer gave me a completely new recommendation for plantings based on my zone and where the sunlight fell. Brilliant! I had Hebes and Lavender "Otto Quast," an Iceberg Rose tree with a burgundy iceberg graft, Penstemon, more White Iceberg bushes, Cecile Bruner Rose, Verbascum, Veronica, lots of beauty.

Charlie McCormick's Dahlias. I swoon.
Over the years things came out and things went in. Every year, Sweet Peas are planted the day after Thanksgiving. I love this way of bringing them in. But this year my crop was so small. We mostly enjoyed them as they trailed up the fence. I'm wild about Delphinium and my friends Lori and Carlos had a gorgeous garden with Larkspur planted right along. We made the whole garden a Potager Garden (not quite like this one) for a couple of years, but my heart came back to flowers and during the pandemic I found some mail order joy from Annies Annuals, Eden Bros., David Austin Roses and Heirloom Roses.  The garden, complete with a beautiful Forest Pansy tree is burgeoning this year. 

I learned two things. 

Water helps- we had lots of rain this winter. It made the tree and all the flowers so very happy. We live in a drought area so I'm filling barrels with any water too cold for hands or showers. Also, daily snips and cleanup make a big difference. Last summer, I planted about fifteen Dahlia plants inspired by Charlie McCormick's gorgeous dahlia gardens. As they grew in, they struggled, they didn't have enough space at the base to breathe. I learned. Only about ten made it over the cold winter we had. No frost, but cold enough. My grandmother of English heritage, and midwestern experience, always took her tubers up. But, California is not Chicago. I may have learned to rest them. Maybe.

A gardener I know, a real gardener, told me, "gardening is a series of killing things." I can do that. One year I didn't water anything over winter - except that which was hit by the sprinkler system. Lesson learned. 

So, the garden. Daily visits. Daily joy. Daily tending. 

June 13, 2023

New Tricks.


If you ever found yourself scrolling my photos, phone or laptop you'd run into thousands of dog pictures. Yup over 1000 times, I, one of my kids or husband or mom has snapped a doggie and it's ended up in my photos. 

Dogs. I love them. 

You don't have to go through the whole history lesson with me, but it does start with my first dog, Piper, being born the day before me. (I remember the odd piece of information, I admit it.) My enjoyment and attachment is long-standing. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that I notice changes in behavior. The little one here, is Lucy. She was a pup in this picture. Sweet, sleepy, puppy. Now she's eight and still sweet but now with clearly defined likes and dislikes:
  • No loud noises
  • No dogs on our lawn
  • No cats
  • No car rides, especially to the vet
  • No home fire alarm "battery is running low" chirping
  • No sneaker squeaking because it sounds like the above
  • No picking her up
  • Breakfast is before 7am, followed by 2 treats
  • Walks are at 5:45 - the list goes on.
She's not wild about extra people in the house so, this weekend when our eldest brought his fiancĂ©e to celebrate with a backyard garden party, I was shocked to find Lucy in the middle of it all. She was out on the sofas, the rugs strewn across the lawn, greeting, sharing, sneaking pizza crust pieces, enjoying the day and the night. In fact, the morning after, when I let her out in the early hours, she simply didn't come in. She'd found a chair and seemed to have declared herself an outdoor party dog. 

All of this sums to a couple of things - old dogs/new tricks is not so true when a dog sees things in a new way. Also, how sweet is it to watch a pup celebrating favorite family members in their joy?

Dogs. I'll say it again. I love them. More to come.

May 03, 2023

Breathing in Spring

My morning routine includes a peek outside from my front door.

I was thrilled at the color and sunlight emanating from this patch of lavender, alstroemeria and more lavender. At some angles, it looks like the sun is hugging the tops of the lavender. The neighbor's splash of pink blooms escalates the scene as do the remaining blossoms on the redbud trees.

Aren't the blooms of spring and their colors spectacular this season?


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