Here's what's happening in our spring garden.

May 27, 2023

Are you ready for an explosion of color? Please join me in the garden filled with roses, zinnia seedlings and a burgeoning vegetable garden. I've got lots of pictures to share, so let's go!

Our tomatoes have grown a few inches since this picture was taken last week. Our cold spring has slowed down tomato flower production but it can't be all that long before our bright California sun heats everything up. 

If I remember the rose variety I'll name it. This is Red Simplicity Rose

Red Simplicity again. In our garden it is disease free and a very showy repeat bloomer.

Happy Chappy

Last week I planted the zinnias that were started in the greenhouse, all 200 of them, along the walkway. While I've kept this border for zinnias for the last dozen or so years, this year I tried some new-to-me varieties and can't wait to see how they do. I'll share all that info as they start to bloom. 

The zinnia seedlings are tall and spindly when I take them from the greenhouse. Before planting out I pinch off the top third of the growth to encourage branching and thus get more flowers. It's only been a week and already they are starting to branch out. These varieties will grow from 24” to 40" tall and each one will have dozens of flowers. You can't see it here, but close up there are a zillion weed seedlings popping up in that lovely dirt. I'll be spending a lot of time out here keeping that in check!

My husband, with the help of our then 9 year old son, built this greenhouse 30 years ago. When it's chilly, and especially if it's rainy, I love to putter inside and over the years have whiled away many blissful hours. It's always a few degrees warmer, quiet and still, and has my most favorite view in the world. It is made of coated steel and glass, is 9x11 feet and has held up very well. After all these years only one pane of glass has a crack and it's a small one. We built it from a kit from Charlie's Greenhouses located in Washington state. Our style and size is no longer available, I'm sure replaced by something better!


Graham Thomas

Scentimental in the kitchen.

David Austin Roses against the fence in the vegetable garden. The pink in the middle is Gertrude Jekyll, the yellow is Graham Thomas with Scentimental in the foreground..

A massive First Prize Climber in the vegetable garden. 

The lizard family is back and they mostly hang here, on this patio, with easy access to the veg garden and greenhouse. I see them all over, but I don't bother them, and they don't bother me. My how they've have grown! The largest is now at least 8" long. We think No-Tail has grown her tail back because we haven't seen one without a tail. We've seen a few teenagers too, but no babies yet.

Here and below, the incredible Climbing Eden. 

Our side yard dahlia bed just starting to wake up.

We had to drastically cut back these two Climbing Red Blaze roses this year because the arbor it was attached to rotted and had to be replaced. That was an ordeal for my husband!

Last week my husband went on his annual mountain golf trip with 12 buddies so I invited the wives over one evening for happy hour. (It was so fun. I love drinking wine with the girls!) While I waited for them to arrive I poured myself a glass of wine and knitted for a bit. Bliss. Starting now I'll spend a lot of time in this spot listening to audiobooks and knitting. I keep a very simple knitting project out here and can usually finish it by the end of summer. We've been gardening in this yard for 40 years and neither one of us is as strong as we used to be. The last few years I've adopted a plan to stop gardening work every half hour or so and stretch for 5 minutes, and then stop every hour for a glass of water, stretch again and then sit and knit for a little bit. In this way I can garden all day if I feel like it and have been able to avoid back aches and fatigue. It also helps that I listen to audiobooks while gardening. I set the timer on my phone to tell me when it's stretching time!

This picture was taken this morning.

This olive tree is 80 years old and was planted when the house was built. It sits between the greenhouse and vegetable garden. When we moved here 40 years ago it was a lot smaller, but now its canopy is large and we have much more shade. All that shade required us to remove two of the raised beds which were replaced with a little play area for Carter. The tree is where our little hummingbirds live. We must have dozens of nests and my husband keeps two hummingbird feeders full at all times. They are aggressive and territorial with each other but tolerate us. When my husband takes down the feeders to clean and refill, they hover within inches of his face and give him an impatient stare down. Their territorial fights can get epic. I once sat on the patio and watched three of them go at it for a full hour. They are so tiny and flutter their wings so fast you wonder how they can sustain the activity! During spring and summer they prefer to rely on flowers, but they still come up to the patio feeders for a slurp so we keep them clean and full year 'round.

Chive flowers taste like onions and are beautiful to top a salad or soup.

Thyme, sage, parsley, basil, chives, and oregano grown in the planters that flank the family room patio. I step out here every night to snip an herb or two for our dinner.

When I scrub the patio cushions I have to choose a hot sunny day and then think of some sunny and elevated spots for them to dry. I think the tree below was pretty creative! It's a fruitless mulberry and gets a big haircut like this every winter. We're waiting for it to start sending out shoots but the squirrels have been eating them as fast as they sprout. Annoying.

Every year at pruning time we save the straightest branches to use for our bean teepee, below.

This is the best picture I can get of our vegetable garden. To the left there is one more tomato planter, a 12x8 foot L shaped planter that I couldn't squeeze into the photo. Above we have three 4x8 foot planter boxes. One has strawberries, one has mostly onions but also some eggplant and chard, and the last has pickling cucumbers, dill and sunflowers. Three planters are 4x12 feet and have bush and pole green beans plus beets, the second one has summer squashes, and the last is tomatoes. The L shaped box has more tomatoes and bell peppers. The anticipation of our hard work turning into vegetables we can eat and flowers we can love is terribly exciting. We're keeping our fingers crossed that this will be a good growing year but gardening is so unpredictable with weather, pests and disease sometimes taking its toll. We do our best using gardening practices we think will work and have been completely organic and spray free for decades now. The soil is always a concern and this year we augmented with compost, sand and manure. I think many of you are interested in the varieties of vegetables and flowers we grow and I'll make a post about that later in the summer.

Thank you for coming in and spending time with me in our garden. This morning it's overcast and the songbirds are very loud and I plan to spend an hour weeding as soon as I leave this post. Usually I would wear ear pods but this morning I think I'll listen to the birds. There's also a cat in our yard right now. I saw him for the first time yesterday so I kept in the house and let him explore. We've never had cats but it's been my experience that neighborhood cats would rather explore our garden alone and without our company. Do you think he's interested in our lizards? 

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  1. Absolutely gorgeous!!!! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Gorgeous, a happy place. Love all the roses!

  3. You may get the Santa Clara County "Farmer of the Year" award. Amazing.

  4. The garden looks beautiful! Can’t wait for BLTs!

  5. Your photographs and descriptions showcase the love you have for your gardens. Are you a member of a local garden club? You would be an asset to them! Knitting amidst the flowering plants must be wonderful

    1. Thank you for your comment. I looked it up and we do have a local garden club. I've gone to a few of their events but I've never considered joining--I don't know why actually.

  6. So beautiful and such productivity! Even if in shortish spurts. My spurts are pretty productive, too, but I only have about one or two a day! If I’m lucky! Chloe

    1. Haha! Shortish spurts are very production and the only kind of energy I produce these days.


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