A Little of This and That

I’ve been puttering in the garden here and there over the past week, but I still haven’t put together a plan for the summer. I pruned a hedge and pulled a few weeds but my busy schedule hasn’t allowed for much more.

William and Kate hyacinth

The purple hyacinths have now taken the place of the pink ones. The dark pink freesia is still in bloom

As we enter year four of our drought, water restrictions are increasing. According to the state water agency, 44% of residential water use is outdoors. We’re now restricted to watering once every three days, using the odd/even method based on home address, and we can only water before 6 am or after 6 pm.

I’ve left both vegetable beds empty for now. My original plan was to leave one box empty and plant some tomatoes and basil in the other. I love fresh tomatoes and basil and know that we’ll eat them all summer long. The tomatoes, however, have sprouted all over the garden, self-planting like they did last year.  Instead of moving the plants, we’re going to add drip irrigation to the viable plants and see how it goes.

tomato in gravel

Self-planting tomatoes

Last fall I sheet-mulched one half of the lawn, but the process is still ongoing. The grass died off as planned and much of the material is decomposing, but with so little rain, it’s taking longer than planned for it all to decompose. It’s not very pretty, is it?

sheet mulch march 20

Sheet mulch in process

Comically, I have a pair of potato plants growing in the midst of the sheet mulch. It will be interesting to see if the plant flowers since it’s in the shade most of the day.

potatoes growing in mulch

Potatoes volunteered in the mulch

As the bright yellow daffodils begin to fade, a second group of plantings are taking their place. They’re two-toned and a bit shorter, but just as lovely. I’ve had great success with bulbs once I figured out what the squirrels don’t like, namely narcissus (daffodils), and hyacinth.

daffodils in the curb garden

Daffodils transition in the curb garden

pale yellow daffodils

Narcissus in the curb garden

We had a bit of rain overnight, and woke to a refreshed garden. That was a wonderful surprise. I only wish I hadn’t slept through it.

I hope your week is off to a good start.

28 thoughts on “A Little of This and That

  1. Your daffodils and hyacinth are so beautiful – real harbingers of Spring! Isn’t it great the cute squirrels don’t like them! I wonder why that is……… Hope your schedule isn’t too busy – you need to get away in few days time 🙂

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    • Thanks, Pauline. They really are harbingers of Spring, aren’t they?

      Narcissus are toxic to squirrels so they leave them alone. I’ve read that hyacinths can be a skin irritant so that may be why they ignore those, too. Tulips on the other hand never do well here, so unless I force a few indoors, they’re a no-go. I’m so glad to have discovered the tricks for bulb success.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m happy to know your garden and all the wildlife got some much needed moisture. I can’t imagine getting so little rain. I do worry. Especially knowing that you’ll leave your planters empty. We’ve just gotten a good dump of snow on the weekend and so it’s all slushy again. I love all those daffodil faces, they’re really cute and of tres springy. I’m also curious why the squirrels won’t bother them. I guess I shall Google that. BRB

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    • I miss the rain. It’s like a good friend that just stopped coming around. And as you say, it is serious business. Restaurants will no longer serve water unless asked. Ski resorts are closed early, and ski-dependent businesses are suffering from lack of snow that would later melt and help fill our reservoirs. Trees are stressed and now prone to disease. Several pine trees are dying around the state due to bark beetles. They’re always present, but the stressed trees can’t fight them off. The consequences go on and on.

      This morning’s paper said that our county reached 11% reduction in use, short of the 20% suggested. Now they’re suggesting 30%.

      As for the bulbs, the narcissus are toxic to squirrels so they leave them alone. Win!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh dear, I can hear heavy concern in your message ((( Alys ))). I know you do everything in your power to manage your water usage and that’s all you can do. Time will tell and some people who are putting their head in the sand now, will hopefully wakeup.
        BTW, I don’t remember reading anything about squirrels and bulbs last night, LOL I must have dozed off moments after I typed BRB…snicker xoxoxox

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  3. We’ve had a good soaking with thunder to boot. I wish I could funnel it down to you. My back yard goes squish,squish, squish. It’s not even real dirt out there. I think I’ll need professional help. No, not that kind. The garden kind. You have some very tenacious. plants. Who do they take after?

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    • You made me smile, Marlene. Adversity breeds tenacity or collapse. You and I chose the former. 🙂

      Oh to have a thunder storm. I really should schedule a vacation to Sleepy Hollow during a wet week. I’ll just walk around all day seeing the sites in the rain. I’ve got my raincoat ready to go. Just let me dust it off.

      As for your squish, squish, it sounds like one of three problems: impaction from lack of aeration, poor drainage, poor soil mix, or maybe all three. We had poor soil when we moved in as well and have been amending, or putting in raised beds, ever since. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Real Oregonians don’t wear raincoats. 🙂 We don’t melt. I always laugh when I hear them say that.
        As for the soil. It’s solid clay. They put some kind of sod on top of it and expected miracles. Since I’m at the bottom of a hefty hill, It’s pretty sloshy. I’ll try to get either raised beds or put in mulch all around. I’m wondering who to call to look at the creosote logs on one side. They look like they are heaving. Could be tree roots underneath. As soon as it dries out some.
        I’d love to have you visit, as soon as I get my guest room back. 😦

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      • Last weekend I managed to get into my garden for an hour for a quick tidy up and plant some Narcissus bulbs that have been grown in pots. I love their delicate colouring. My primulas from last year growing in a large garden pot are looking rather moth eaten – I think they may do better in the ground now.

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        • I’m so glad you found time in the garden. Its a welcome respite I’m sure.

          I don’t remember to feed plants in pots, so they don’t do as well. I once transplanted a pot bound geranium in to the ground and it grew to four times its size in a summer. I felt so bad about leaving it pot bound for so long.

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  4. Glad you had rain. Are the rules about watering upheld by everyone? Is there a penalty if you are caught watering out of hours? That’s a good idea with the drip irrigation. I also want to try and save water again this summer and will be planning my containers carefully.

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    • That question cracks open a can of worms. Judging by the number of vibrant green lawns, I suspect not. There are fines up to $500 for abusers, but they’re not being enforced. Even crazier, one water company in the East Bay plans to charge more for water, because after people conserved, their revenue went down! It’s crazy.

      I’m glad you are so conscious of water use, Cathy. If everyone did there part it would go a long way. Sadly, it’s just not the case.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Charlie, that’s great to hear. I’ve been reducing the lawn in bits and starts, but my husband has been reluctant to let it go. I think we’re on the same page now and hope to get to the same place that you are.

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      • I learned this technique from a programme about how to survive in the desert. Basically, if you put plastic sheeting over the grass/ground before the dew evaporates, when the sun comes up and it does evaporate, it will go onto the plastic as condensation.

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        • Interesting. You would really have to time that well so you didn’t’ end up killing the grass with the sun and plastic in place. Do you lift the plastic and drain the water, or the water remains on the grass?

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          • I don’t think the plastic needs to be in place long, just long enough for the dew to evaporate into it, then you would drain it off. I’ve no idea how much, or little, water you would get but I guess every drop helps!

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  5. Yes, drought conditions will be challenging. We have not yet been had such heavy restrictions-just limiting water consumption and lawn watering. I fear California is in for a long hot summer!

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