Thirty Days in the Garden: Starting Now

There are a number of tips and tricks to pull oneself out of a slump.

It’s time.

2020 really piled it on, didn’t it?

For a while it seemed that 2021 wouldn’t be much better, but we finally dumped the dreadful administration, and COVID vaccines, albeit slowly, are underway. I’m patiently awaiting my turn.

I’m trying to keep myself out of the doldrums by focusing on things I love including blogging and gardening. One of the tips for creating a new habit, or in my case, reviving an old one, is to do something every day for thirty days.

I’ve decided to challenge myself to write a blog post every day for a month. Spending time in the garden won’t be a challenge, but I need the discipline of taking photos and uploading them to my computer. After all, what’s a blog without pictures?

Front garden view from driveway

Spring in California is a treat for the senses. We have mild temperatures year-round, so we don’t have to worry about a late frost or June snow. Time in the garden sows content and a healthy dose of vitamin D helps fend off depression.

We converted our lawn into a native and/or drought tolerant garden a few years ago. The garden improves with each passing years.

For starters, California has a semi-arid climate. Add in years of drought and global warming and it made little sense to maintain a water-thirsty garden. Unfortunately, we under-watered in the first year and lost a few plants. We didn’t realize that even the natives need a year to establish their roots before you can reduce watering. On the plus side, a few bare patches of soil allowed a variety of seeds to take hold. The results are amazing.

Lavender grows along the deck

French lavender dominates the upper corner of the front garden, spilling over onto the deck and making a run for it along the path. I’ve had to tame it quite a bit this year to uncover one of the salvia plants(Mexican Sage) and two of the three Kangaroo Paw plants.

Throughout the garden, California’s golden poppies shine brightly. This lovely state flower grows wild up and down the coast. I planted a few from seed several years ago. I let them go to seed at the end of each season, and sometimes shake the seeds onto different areas of the garden. My reward: they plant themselves year after year. Poppies aren’t fussy. They’ll grow in sidewalk cracks and in shallow gravel.

California’s State Flower

A few years ago we turned the sidewalk strip into a flower garden. A bland strip of lawn occupied this space when we bought our house 25 years ago. We planted a tree soon after moving in, but the curb garden came several years later. I love rounding the corner onto our street this time of year.

Nigella, California poppies, spoon flower, freesias, miniature rose, chocolate mint, and those delightful, no-name yellow flowers

My volunteer work keeps me busy and grounded, but it’s emotionally challenging as well. I hope my 30 Days in the Garden series grounds me differently. Thank you for stopping by.

The raised bed continues to evolve, but I think this is the most beautiful season to date. The chocolate mint dies back each winter leaving a thatch of brown twigs on the garden’s surface. I pull up the twigs and expose a new layer of growth. Mint, like ivy, fills the space by sending out shoots underground. It has a subtle chocolate scent when you rub the leaves and if left unchecked it would dominate the garden. I keep it under control by pulling out handfuls from between the boards when necessary. It rewards me with a lovely green ground cover and its lovely scent.

31 thoughts on “Thirty Days in the Garden: Starting Now

  1. Hello Alys, great to see you back. Blogging is very grounding, I think – from focussing on what to write about through to responding to comments.

    Anyway, your garden is looking lovely and the chocolate mint sounds divine.

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  2. Lovely to see your spring garden Alys! It really is beautiful and I can imagine how proud you must be when you drive home or when people stop and look. Love the poppies and your runaway lavender! It’s a great idea to enclose the curb garden like you have with wooden boards so it is slightly raised. Chocolate mint sounds good. Have you ever tried eating it? Does it taste chocolatey too? πŸ˜‰ I look forward to seeing more of your garden this month – good luck with the 30 day challenge you have set yourself! And even if you do miss a day or two it will be lovely to see you blogging again. πŸ€—

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    • Hi Cathy! Thank you for visiting. Funny story about the lavender: I planted three salvia (Mexican Sage) along the deck, but only two of the three survived. I can’t quite remember even planting the lavender, but now it dominates! I love mid-season when it starts growing on to the deck. It’s such a beautiful and fragrant plant. I’m sure I’ve tasted the chocolate lavender, but its been awhile. It smells like chocolate when you rub the leaves. I’ll have to bring some in and try it with ice cream or tea. Thank you for your moral support.

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    • Thank you, Amy! I’ve always loved poppies as well. It’s a sure sign of spring in California when they start populating the roadsides. I’m tickled to finally have them coming back reliably in the garden year to year. How’s your fairy garden?

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  3. So glad you are back! Love what you have done with your front yard and side walk area. We have a similar idea for our yard, actually driveway, which is in dreadful condition. We are thinking of chipping some of it away, the part where we don’t park and that leads to our backyard, and turning it into a moss garden. This will probably take us many years, but I think it will be pretty to go through a moss garden to get to our backyard. We will have a walkway, but moss is pretty sturdy. Anyway, will be writing about it today.

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    • Thank you, Laurie! I know that look isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I love it. It attracts lizards, birds, bees, and neighbors! I’ve just visited hour post on growing moss and I think its a great idea. Best of luck.

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  4. Looking forward to seeing this every day for the next month. We are mid-construction on our front yard, turning it into a walled Mediterranean courtyard and raised vegetable garden. Grateful for the inspiration of your beautiful garden!

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    • Hi Ellen! Thanks for popping in. Your plans for a Mediterranean courtyard sound fabulous. I hope you’ll share progress photos as you go along. I remember that you had a garden plot once upon a time. It will be wonderful to have one in your own yard.

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  5. Wow 30 days of blogging is quite a challenge; it’s one I couldn’t even fathom attempting! Your garden is so gorgeous. I can’t wait to pop by over the next month to see what you’re up to.

    We’re still in winter doldrums here in Canada, and it will be a while before I can get out into the garden, so I’ve been busy designing crochet patterns for our new shop. We’re donating 100% of proceeds from every pattern to Alzheimer’s (shameless plug: https://ribblr.com/shop/birdz-of-a-feather)

    So glad you’re back to blogging Alys; I’ve missed you and your wonderful posts!

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    • Hi Sara! Thanks for stopping by. I know you’re planting season is much later than hours, but I know too that you’ll make the most of it as you always do. Your blog posts are long, informative, full of instruction and often video. My posts are much shorter, so I hope to meet this challenge. Thanks for sharing your crochet patter shop.

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  6. Your gardens look lovely. Here in Texas we are recovering from The Arctic Apocalypse in February. The jury is still out on many landscape shrubs and plants. While it is sad to lose 20 year old plants, it is also an opportunity to change things up! My tomatoes are in and the vegetable garden is shaping up. I look forward to your posts!

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    • The Arctic Apocalypse made national news. I can’t imagine the destruction it’s caused, not to mention the loss of life. Your’re wise to take a pragmatic approach to the plants. Some may return and surprise you, and if not it will be fun changing things around. Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. Alys

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  7. I’m so excited to hear from you everyday for a month!! I don’t think I can do that. If I do once each week, that’s a lot. I love that you have so much lavender!! My favorite but it’s almost too wet here for it. I love the wild look of the yard. We have so many restrictions here that it’s hard to pull that off. I love your garden. Till tomorrow, Hugs

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  8. What a treat to see your garden blooming in March, dear Alys! It was just what I needed today. It will be such fun to wander amongst the blossoms with you and your camera for the next thirty days. Please take little breaks from your blogging challenge as needed! My Illinois garden is just beginning to bloom with purple Crocuses and blue Siberian Squill. Today the yellow Daffodils are blooming. Our temperatures were in the 20s last night and it warmed up to the 60s during the day. The colorful blossoms truly inspire me with their resilience every day!
    Sending Springtime hugs across the miles!πŸ’—

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  9. Well look at you all energized ! Sounds like a great plan lovely. Why not fill your day with things you love? There’s all plenty of other folks to do the worrying for us πŸ˜€ It all looks glorious and must smell so pretty too. I’m a bit worried about the weeds this year, but c’est la vie. Some things can’t be helped. I’ll just have to go gangbusters next year. I shall pop on in to day two now! Look at that, only 28 more days, you’re on a roll πŸ˜€ ❀ xxK

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  10. I love your photos and really need to drive by so I can see it all for real……. I’ve had to slow down in the garden as arthritis has taken over my body. just about everywhere…..I do need some inspiration so will enjoy your writing and pictures….thanks for both……Peace & blessings

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  11. All looking lovely and you’re so right about sticking with plants that will grow without too much trouble. We’ve struggled before with trying to grow things that just won’t play ball so now, in our new English garden, we’re sticking with what we know will work.

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    • I’ll never forget the day I planted stock, only to find it eating to the quick within two days by snails. It’s so disheartening. Like you, it’s better to go with what the snails don’t like, what the squirrels won’t dig up, and what can live happily during our long, hot, and dry summers. I envy you your English garden, as it is a look I used to long for. That said, I’ve grown to love these native and drought-tolerant plants, along with succulents so it’s all good. I’m looking forward to following along with your garden changes.

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  12. Ah! The motivation to climb out of the doldrums of the previous administation (that caused much more than doldrums) and Covid with 30 days of posting. Smart! I’m ready to start the journey!

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