My Garden at Dusk

garden at dusk as viewed from back door

View from my back door at dusk

Though our temperatures are unseasonably warm, the sun tells a different story.  The angle of the sun reminds me that it’s still winter. Dusk comes early in the garden.

It rained last night, a welcome bit of moisture in this otherwise dry month. It smells wonderful.

I’m spending half an hour a day in the garden, pulling tiny weeds and bits of leftover lawn. When we converted the lawn to native plants last fall, they offered to put a chemical in the soil to kill any remaining grass. I’m an organic gardener, so I declined. I’m only finding shoots of grass here and there so it’s been quite manageable. I sheet-mulched most of the back garden beforehand, eliminating most of the grass organically.

It feels great spending time in the garden. I’ve been sweeping up pine needles, dead-heading the Camellia and enjoying the clean air. I bring in half a dozen lemons each week for our morning lemon water, a wonderful new habit. The female Anna’s Hummingbirds are nesting nearby, which means long drinks at the feeder.  I love hearing them overhead as I work.

female anna's hummingbird at feeder

Female Anna’s Hummingbird at the Feeder

african iris

African Iris

fuschia plant

Loropetalum ‘Burgundy Fringe Flower’

new zealand flax with yellow flowers

These yellow flowers self-seeded under the New Zealand Flax.

plum blossums

Plum blossoms on the four-in-one fruit tree

pink William and Kate hyacinth

Pink Hyacinth ‘William and Kate’

Life is busy again now that I’m back to working with clients, so a lot of my garden time is catch as catch can. The time among the flowers and weeds feel like stolen moments but I don’t mind. Time in the garden is always a joy.

67 thoughts on “My Garden at Dusk

  1. The angle of the sun may still say ‘winter’…but those beautiful blossoms suggest spring is not far away. Wonderful rain we had this week. Hopefully it opens a window to more.

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    • I hope so too, Ogee. Every drop of rain is welcome here, isn’t it?

      Ah spring, guaranteed to put most of us in a great mood. I’ve since learned to modify that statement for friends with terrible allergies. Spring means misery for them. In my lifetime of gardening, rosemary is the only thing to give me grief. I can live with it, but I can’t prune it or my eyes nearly swell shut. Crazy, eh?

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  2. More rain Alys, how wonderful!! I see your blossoms and spring flowers are putting on a show already and it feels like summer is just getting underway here…… I am so happy to hear you are getting garden time and so looking forward to seeing the progress your plantings are making as your garden transitions from exotic to native. Sometimes just a half hour a day is enough to keep the gremlins away and the faeries happy 🙂

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    • Pauline, you’ve had the worst summer this year. So many cold days, wet days and then the heat in between. What are the local weather reports having to say about this?

      I agree with you: the half hour a day is working its charms. It’s painful for my foot to be flexed for too long, so that ensures that I break it up into manageable chunks. You won’t believe all the sweet peas that have self-seeded in the garden. They won’t last past our first heat wave, but I’m excited for now to see them growing among the natives.

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    • The longer I blog, the more I realize how incredibly fortunate I am to live in the Bay Area. Our temps are mild year round, with a few miserably hot days in July and August. We don’t get the humidity, generally, so it’s nice most of the year.

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  3. Oh Alys! It makes me so happy to know that you are enjoying precious time in your beautiful garden again! The hummingbirds must be so lovely! You have made so many changes. It will be just wonderful to observe your ‘new’ garden throughout the year! Happy gardening, sweet Alys! ♡

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    • Thank you, Dawn. I’m enjoying the changes and watching how the new plants grow. I’ve had some fun surprises too. The sweet peas have popped up all over the front garden. I can’t wait to see them flower. They don’t survive here past our first heatwave, but I’ll have a lovely spring and early summer of purple flowers. I can’t wait!

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  4. La la la , just strolling through Nirvana with my Nespresso. Mmmmm, smells like California 😀 Oh so pretty here….the birds and GASP (I do a double take), what the what? A tree with tassels?? Holy Martha Stewart moment! Well I never! What on earth is that? It’s so so pretty!
    I just love your garden, it’s like a oasis with the patio being an island. I miss you sweetness xoxo K

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  5. Your garden is beautiful even in winter. Spring is holding out a bit here. Glad you got some rain. We’ve had lots. I love the photos of the hummingbirds. We have big wind today so nothing would stay hanging out. Enjoy the spring. I’m glad you are seeing clients again. That’s a good sign. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Marlene. It feels good to be back into a normal routine of work, gardening and household chores. I know that may sound strange, but being able to do things around the house without needing a three hour nap is wonderful.

      Do you get big winds all month? We typically have a windy February, but so far only three or four windy days this month. We’ll see what March brings.

      I’m glad to hear you’re getting lots of rain, but hope too, that you can get out to do chores and activities. xo

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      • I know what you mean about getting back to routine. I was struggling for awhile myself after the retreat and getting used to C-pap. Starting to climb out of the well again.
        Winds here are nothing like your Santa Ana’s. We will have them as a storm blows through and then gone. I love the weather here. Clouds are glorious as are the sunrises. It is seriously mushy out there as the quality of fill dirt they used in construction of this park is mostly clay. Nothing wants to grow in it but the weeds. 🙂 We will have a dry week starting Monday. It will be a full week, then I’m flying to Phoenix to see an old friend. She can still drive. 🙂 Haven’t seen her since I left Arizona and she has remained a friend. Funny how some people are out of sight, out of mind. I would write and send e-mail but never hear back. We have a dry day today and rain tomorrow so I will pack today as best I can. Have a good weekend.

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        • Marlene, I’m happy to hear that you enjoy the Sleepy Hollow weather. That makes a big difference in the quality of life.

          I’m happy to hear you have plans to travel and visit a dear friend. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the visit.

          Did you end up getting the rain a few days ago? We’re in another dry spell, at least five days out. Someone is teasing me with the idea of lots of rain in March. I sure hope so.

          Safe travels!

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          • We have 2 more days of dry weather then more rain. It can rain for a while then stop and start again for a few minutes later. Forecast doesn’t tell the whole story. Hopefully, I’ll get time to do some weeding but it seems everyday is filled with so much fun stuff. 😉 I’m glad to get to go visit my old friend. She has been through so much and I want to cheer her a bit.

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            • What a good friend you are. I’m sorry to hear she’s been through a lot. I know she’ll really enjoy your company.

              The best time to weed is after a good rain, especially with your heavy clay soil. I hope you can fit in a few weeding sessions. I wish I was there to work with you.

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                • Weeding is meditative! Absolutely.

                  I read recently that people tend to cycle through friends every seven years for a variety of reasons. I thought that was fascinating. It’s good to nurture the friendships that mean the most. And you are a pro at that.

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  6. You must be thrilled to be able to do a few things in the garden again and it’s looking so pretty with the native plants and birds. We had a rare dry day today and made the most of it! Glad you had a drop of rain at last, it certainly freshens things up for a while.

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  7. Such a reward for the mess last year. I’m so glad you like it now and it sounds like a little bit of paradise. Those yellow flowers look (in their leaves) like calendula. But the blossoms are small. They thrive in the cool. But are they flax?

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  8. What a lovely post Alys. It must be good to be outside at this time of year and your garden looks really pretty. The iris is gorgeous. 🙂 And the blossom too, of course!

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  9. Your garden’s looking good. Getting rid of the lawn has created a very peaceful looking back yard. No wonder it is such a pleasure to be in it whenever you can snatch the time.

    I found when I got rid of my lawn that the grass did go. Admittedly plastic to starve persistent bits was the clincher.

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    • Apparently grasses are among the easiest things to grow, hence the desire to hang around in spite of our good efforts. But I’m only seeing a small shoots here and there, so I hope that as I stay vigilante, which is easy to do in this ridiculously glorious, unseasonably warm weather, it will soon be gone for good. The heavy mulch helps too.

      Thanks for your kind words, Helen. I’m finding that with the lawn gone, and no need for assistance with that upkeep, that it feels more my own again. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s a real comfort.

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      • Yes, it makes perfect sense, Alys.

        As for grass being easy to grow, considering it is a perennial and its seeds spread in the wind, it’s natural for it to perpetuate 🙂

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        • That makes sense, Helen. It’s funny how I tend to think of grass as a whole (like a lawn) since that’s how it is so frequently used. But I’ve also grown oat grass for the cats, and we have taller grasses as part of our native planting. They’re tall and beautiful when they move with the breeze.

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          • Yes, grass can be beautiful. I’ve got a small blue/bronze grass, which if it survives will need to be moved from my mini forest garden at some point. Your native grasses should do well as they are adapted to your environment 🙂

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  10. I’m so happy that you are able to get back into your garden for short periods. It must feel glorious .

    The backyard here in Southern California has gone feral….I refer to it as The Meadow and it does have its own charm. The little bit of rain has brightened the various plants and caused a few to bloom for us….even a little miniature pink rose!!

    We have a lot of animal visitors too…..several neighborhood cats, small rabbits, lizards, opossums, squirrels, and all kinds of birds.

    The backyard is on the someday list. With the drought ongoing, landscaping can wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, ME. I love your description of the Fullerton garden: The Meadow. There is a lot to be said for that, too, especially from a wildlife perspective. You’ve got quite an assortment of critters passing through.

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  11. Alys, you’ve brought spring to my evening! I’m so pleased that you are out working in your garden, and smelling the fresh rain. We are still so deeply in winter, or so it seems, so I’ll just live through your spring for now.
    And you are back working with clients now, too? and taking walks with Mike!
    Life is good these days, yes?
    I’m looking forward to catching up on the 7th!!

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