A Garden Under the Influence of Rain

wisteria vine

Wisteria refreshed

It’s been an extraordinary spring!

Everywhere I turn I see a happy garden under the wonderful influence of rain. I’m taking none of it for granted.

From the self-seeded pumpkins,

2016 garden pumpkin near patio

Self-seeded pumpkin, impervious to the cool night temperatures

to the spontaneous cottage garden

2016 sweet peas love in a mist poppies

My all-volunteer (self-seeded) garden

everything seems larger than life.ย  It’s rare for San Jose to get rain this far into the year, but we continue to get small storms every week or so keeping things fresh and alive.

I prepped an Earth Box for some pumpkin seeds, and following the package instructions, waited for warmer nighttime temps. I needn’t have bothered. There are two self-seeded pumpkins growing across the back garden doing just fine. They don’t mind the cooler nights and show no signs of slowing down. Emboldened by last year’s pumpkin success (no water, no squash bugs) I’m happy to see these two doing well.

2016 pumpkin vine self seeded

Another self-seeded pumpkin, already setting flowers

The tomatoes doubled in size within a few weeks. I’m glad I staked them from the start. They always looks so small when they’re just getting started, but I’ve learned the hard way how difficult it is to stake them once they are under way.

2016 garden tomatoes

Tomatoes Doubling Down

The raspberry canes survived the move and several of the canes are setting flowers. There is nothing quite so good as a fresh, warm berry from your garden. Grow, berries, grow!

I missed the memo about Nasturtiums taking over the garden, but I don’t mind. They’re beautiful, colorful and edible and they’re supposed to keep the bad bugs away. So far so good so I say “go Nasturtiums.” There are strawberries hiding under the flowers which is probably just as well. If the birds don’t see them, they can’t eat them.

nasturtiam close up

Variegated Nasturtium

Thanks to the heat and rain, the basil is already flowering. The flowers are pretty but they take away all the energy from the leaves so I’m pinching them back every other day. I made this same mistake last year. The tomatoes take longer to fruit so while I’m waiting for tomatoes, I’m having to discourage the basil from flowering. Hopefully I can stay on top of it. Caprese salad is in my future!

I’m really happy with my raised (Trug) planting bed. I wrapped the legs with copper tape before adding a single plant, and it worked. No snails! I used strips of burlap as mulch this year, with plenty left on the roll for years to come. It was also supposed to discourage the cats from using the boxes for other purposes, but they think it’s a delightful place for a nap.

2016 slinky in the planter box

Slinky found her way to the planting box

slinky in the planter box


mouse in the garden bed

Nasturtiums and Mouse the Cat

What an incredible spring.

March 10th vegetable garden

March 10th, 2016

vegetable garden may 5th

May 5th, 2016


49 thoughts on “A Garden Under the Influence of Rain

      • We are having unusually hot weather this spring, everything is about 6 weeks ahead of normal…the forecast is for another hot dry summer but thankfully the wet winter has our lakes and rivers in good shape. I planted pole beans, 2 nd sowing of greens and carrots and cuke seedlings this evening. We have been eating greens for 2 weeks, already…unheard of for us. Everything else is looking jurassic…that could be due to the llama manure I am tryong out๐Ÿ˜ƒ!!! I am going to drastically reduce the amount of plants in pots for this summer. Interesting times. Happy gardening. ๐Ÿ˜†


        • Wilma, I’m coming to Victoria for five days in June with Mike. I hope we can join you for a lunch or dinner or even a cup of tea or coffee.

          I’m sorry to hear you are facing another hot summer. Like you, I emptied most of my pots last summer, or filled them with succulents that can go weeks without any watering.

          The terrible Alberta fire, I believe, is a result of the same early, dry and low humidity weather. Such a tragedy.

          I hope your greens continue to grow. We had basil with heirloom tomatoes (bought) and cheese for dinner tonight. My tomatoes are green, but as the temps climb, they’ll soon be turning red. This is early for us too.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Isn’t it wonderful the difference some rain and a couple of months makes – the growth is phenomenal and I’m sure the crops will be bountiful too. I like that idea of laying burlap [we call it hessian in these here parts] over the soil – though obviously the cats assumed you put out a rug for them to lie on. I’m sure they were most pleased! ๐Ÿ™‚ Today I found Orlando wrapped around one of my trees planted in a plastic rubbish bin, the remaining lobelias crushed beneath him. I think he was making a point!

    With regular rain coming your way your garden will have a wonderful summer. Is your draught over yet? Can’t wait to see more photos – do you think you could make another montage of after shots to match the original montage? If you made one every month we could really watch your garden grow ๐Ÿ™‚ [And that might just be a silly idea, feel free to ignore me] ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. I love how much you appreciate rain! We often grouse when it rains regularly but you know, from tough experience, how wonderful it is. Your garden looks so verdant–I especially love the nasturtiums. And, to think, we are just beginning to think it might be safe to put out annuals here . . .


    • Thank you, Kerry. I’ve always loved the rain, and after nearly five years of drought, have really come to appreciate it even more. That said, I can appreciate that it would get tiresome if you never saw the sunshine. We’re pretty spoiled here in the Bay Area with moderate temperatures and weather conditions most of the year.

      This is my first year planting nasturtiums after reading what a great companion plant they are. They’re welcome back in my garden every year. I’ve fallen in love with those gorgeous orange and yellow blooms and the interesting leaves.

      I lived in Ontario, Canada as a girl, so I remember the short summer growing season. I hope you can get some things in the ground soon.


  3. The garden looks WONDERFUL! I am so delighted to hear that they are starting to ease water restrictions due to increased rainfall. Everything there is so happy looking. I’ve never heard of burlap on the garden but I do know if the kitties are sleeping on it, they won’t potty on it. Perfect for your planters. I’ll have to look for the burlap and copper strips. Are they in the garden departments? If I can just get the kid out from behind the computer long enough to build the planters. We have 2 more days of unreasonable, unseasonable weather then back to cool and rain. Working fast here. I like the nasturtiums and did not know they kept the bugs away. Time to go pick some up. :)) Giant hugs.


    • (((Marlene))) Thank you. It’s extraordinary what regular rainfall can do for a garden. I heard a whole program yesterday on NPR on the state of the drought, water restrictions, permanent water-waster rules, etc. I’m glad they’ve made those permanent, though they’ll be hard to enforce.

      The copper strip is available at garden centers, but not at places like Home Depot. For some reason they sell it online, but not in our local store. Here is the link:http://www.homedepot.com/p/Corry-s-15-ft-Slug-and-Snail-Copper-Tape-100099017/100662157?cm_mmc=Shopping|THD|G|0|G-BASE-PLA-D28O-OutdoorGarden|&gclid=Cj0KEQjw09C5BRDy972s6q2y4egBEiQA5_guvyrg_qXUUqWGScOWqD9OfTRc_feGAMc4-jmt35orrR8aAq_G8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

      I looked at several ideas for mulch this year, having heard somewhere that the redwood chips deplete the soil of nitrogen. They’re supposedly okay for woody plants, but the verdict is out. Some wood chips are pine, others redwood and still others cedar. I’ve used wood chips for years, just not usually on the vegetable beds. Newspaper works and so does thin cardboard, but I find they dry out quickly, then blow around in the wind. I’ll let you know how this experiment works by the end of the season.

      Apparently the Nasturtiums will come back year after year and from where I sit, they are super easy to grow, too.

      Best of luck dragging TS outdoors. Those planter boxes aren’t going to build themselves (tee-hee). Easy for me to say, eh?

      Thanks for visiting, Marlene. Hugs to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, those planter boxes may not build themselves, but if I get a hammer and nails and start work on them, by golly he’ll be out there in a shot doing it right. :)That made me laugh. I’m putting cardboard and newspaper on the bottom, not on the top but I like the burlap for that. I used hemlock for bark chips. That’s what we had available here. Don’t think I want it in a food garden. I’m learning so much from you. Nasturtiums look lovely in the garden. We have slugs here climbing the house and dying there. Gross.


        • Grab that hammer and report back. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Did you make your own mulch with a chipper, Marlene, or do they sell hemlock chips at your garden center? I don’t think I’ve heard of that before. A few years ago they were selling coco shells for mulch. It gave off the most wonderful scent of chocolate. Then it turned out that dogs were eating it and getting very sick, so they took it off the market.

          How funny that the slugs are climbing up the house. They’re probably trying to escape your unseasonal heat, then they just give up and expire mid slime.

          Here’s an idea: go inside and pour yourself a cold glass of lemonade. Then call one of those places that rents goats and ask them to throw in a chicken as well. The chicken will clean up your slug and snail issues, and the goat can take care of the weeds. Then send them home, lure TS outside with the promise of his favorite food, and tell him it will be ready when as soon as the nails are gone.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Boy, isn’t that the truth! I should post pics from last year, side by side with this season. It’s remarkable. What’s funny too, is that we aren’t ahead in anyway. Just tracking with a typical season. After so many bone dry years it feels like a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! All those lovely flowers and lush vegetation! I am very impressed with the trug and have ordered something similar. If I get time I will have to post about it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am really happy your pumpkins are doing well – I know how much you love them!


    • Big hug, Cathy! Thank you! I do love the pumpkins. They’re a joy in the garden, bringing so many good memories.

      I’m delighted to hear that you’ve purchased a Trug-like planting box. I hope you’ll share more once it’s planted. I”m excited to hear more.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nasturtiums are so tasty – yours look great as well amongst the vegetables, Alys.

    I wish my garden was as far on as yours but, alas, a different climate and all…


    • Thank you, Cynthia! It’s been an amazing garden year after four long years of drought. Everything seems so healthy.

      The green planting box is called a Trug. It came in pieces and I assembled it. It works really well placed over all those pipes where I couldn’t otherwise garden. I love it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Steve! It’s really been an extraordinary year. Four years of drought has been hard on us gardeners. The way all the volunteers grew together and supported each other is amazing.


  6. Hello hello Cali-girl. What a difference in your weather from last year to this year. I was just saying to Jim on our walk last night, “Alys will feel right at home” as our grass is parched this spring. Alas, you’ve got the moister and we’re dry. Hooray for moister and life giving rain. It all looks spectacular. Especially your new kitty pillows……eerrrr planter box’s. snicker. What cutie pies those two are. I was at the garden store two days ago. I’ve departed from my usually to display a special ‘Alys welcome’. Geeeeek! I can’t wait for everything to fill in. I won’t tell so you might be surprised. Snicker….mwahaha…ooooh!

    I had no idea that sweet peas would grow in bundles like that. Fun fun. I’ve only grown against a fence. I’m off to work this afternoon and we’re expecting rain later today and tomorrow. I hope it’s a good one. Cheers my dear! Happy gardening xoxox LUL k


  7. What fun it was to not only read your post, and see the photos of your garden, but to hear the joy spread round the WP world. Alys has water! We are all so excited for you! โค


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