A Storm is Brewing

It’s difficult to imagine looking at this photo, that another powerful storm is due at midnight. We’ve had a few sunny days, but it’s been cold.

View of our front garden including two Little Free Libraries, a grand magnolia, wisteria, camellia and Freesia

On a side note, the title of this article made me smile: Flowers and Grammar Have a Strained Relationship. I’m always looking up plant names to determine upper and lower case usage.

Spring waits for no one, so it’s been a treat watching the Freesia populate the garden.

I’m seeing an abundance of California poppies as well. Both plants self-propagate, making seeing where they’ll put on a show each year a joy.

California oppy Eschscholzia californica

Our white camellia is also in bloom, but the foliage doesn’t look healthy. My research led me to the probability of an algal leaf spot common to this type of plant. I garden organically, so I need to look at methods to control it. As an aside, I learned that a camellia can live for 200 years!

One stroke of luck as I went outside to clip a few leaves: an Anna’s hummingbird arrived and sipped nectar at arm’s length allowing me to snap several photos. I couldn’t believe my luck.

This hummingbird is either a female or an immature male. The adult males are more colorful.

I’ve been busy removing the various types of grass from the garden, front and back. We had the garden professionally landscaped many years ago, and these grasses were part of that mix. Unfortunately, the two in the front garden have grown to dominate the space, crowding out other plants. Further, our cat Mouse chews on the grass, but he’s unable to digest it, causing him to gag lengthy bunches of grass.

I’m trying to improve his diet with a brand of cat food that includes spinach. I bought wheat grass at the grocery store as well, but he’s eschewed that fresh grass entirely. Picture me chasing after him saying, “Mmmmm, doesn’t this look tasty?” as I’m met with a look of disdain. In addition to grass domination and poor kitty’s tummy, I poked myself straight in the eye with one of the blades last year during pruning. That hurt! So the grasses are no more.

It took some work getting the two largest grassy plants out of the ground, and I created additional tasks for Mike, who had to come behind me and repair the in-ground irrigation.

In the end, I removed two large grass plants from the front garden and one large and several small ones from the back. With luck, the salvia that is now free to grow uncrowded will fill the space in the back native garden.

The rest of the project will need to be hired out. The plan is to create a paving stone pathway that curves from the sidewalk to the stone steps. Once finished, I’ll plant well-behaved and smaller-scale native plants to the right and left of the new walkway. It looks a bit forlorn for now.

Spot for new walkway. The smaller plants pictured are just coming out of their dormant stage.
The proposed walkway will start here and end at the sidewalk.

We’ve all got our fingers crossed that tonight’s storms don’t claim any more lives. It’s been a challenging time for California.

41 thoughts on “A Storm is Brewing

  1. I always love the chance to peek into your lovely garden, Alys! What a treat to see a hummingbird up close! The curving walkway will be the perfect way to walk among the blossoms. It will be so nice to watch all of the changes in your garden throughout the coming months.
    Our thoughts are with you during this stormy time. Be safe, dear friend! xoxo


    • Thank you, Dawn. It’s easy to forget that other parts of our country are still under snow. I know you welcome your garden year after year, and you’ve shown such grace with the changes you’ve had to make between “right sizing” and adapting to the removal of the neighbor’s tree. Thank you for your good wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So many changes in both of our gardens, Alys! Gardeners always look toward the future with hope! You will design your new walking path over the coming months.😊 I truly miss my two 100-year-old towering pine trees every day. I truly loved those trees! They had to be taken down to make room for construction of a huge, new home next door. This Spring, I am embracing our new, sunny garden and looking forward to creating a full-sun perennial bed… with great hope!😊 Sending warmest hugs all the way to California! 💗


        • Thank you for your warm hugs. I’m sending one back your way. I’m shocked that your community would allow 100 year old trees like that to come down, unless they were diseased or a hazard. What a shame. When we were first married, Mike lived in a townhouse complex that had once belonged to a nursery. They went out of there way to build around all those mature trees, including one funny cure in the road. I always appreciated that. So a sunny garden it is, Dawn. If anyone can “make lemonade”, it’s you.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful to have such a serendipitous capture of the humming bird. I hope your next storm isn’t too violent. The weather is crazy everywhere these days.


    • Thank you, Jane. It’s hard to express the thrill of feeling like you are in the moment with nature. It was nice sharing it with my friend Jasmin as well. You are right that the weather the world over has become more dangerous and unpredictable as climate change takes hold. I hope we’re not too late.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your new gardening project looks good Alys. Well done for getting those grasses out – I dread having to divide mine in a year or two! The freesias must smell divine, and so nice to see the wildlife enjoying them too. Hope the rain wasn’t too bad this time and that will be the last of your storms. And I shall look forward to seeing the finished pathway planted up! 😃 Take care. 🤗


    • Thank you, Cathy. Now that you mention dividing the grasses, it makes sense that they’ve overtaken the garden. At 63, these projects are getting harder. I have bad hips. The Freesia smell wonderful, so Im thrilled that they keep dividing and reproducing all over the garden. Thank you for all your good cheer. I know you’re itching to get outside, so I hope warmer weather is approaching.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is amazing watching the hummingbirds go about their day. We have several feeders, and I’ve planted many hummingbird-loving plants as well so they’re frequent visitors.

      I’m glad the photo of Mouse made you laugh. He’s a character!


  4. A very challenging time for California. I hope, hope, hope the storm wasn’t too bad. Enough, already! More than enough. On a more positive note…Oh, those freesias! I am so envious. Looking forward to seeing how your garden progresses with all the work you have planned. Finally, those hummingbird photos are fabulous.


    • Thank you, Laurie. We’ve been spared the heavy winds with this recent storm. It arrived almost 24 hours beyond the predictions, with the worst of this storm going south. I love the Freesia’s (I learned this week that they are named after a German physician named Freese. I like to plant Alysum in my garden since the first four letters spell my name. 🙂 Did you know that there is a rose, a rhodenderon, and an Iris, all named Laurie?

      Thanks for your kind words on the hummingbird pics. They warm my heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s all looking splendid and happiness inducing. How’d you make out weather wise? Did the storm pass without damage? Good luck with your landscape project. We’ve picked all the product and made the BIG down payment and hopefully we’ll be first in line. Looking forward to enjoying a new yard. 🥰💗


  6. I enjoyed the tour of your front garden, and look forward to seeing more with the landscaping project. My grasses are doing well, and I love the movement they provide in my garden. However, I can understand why you want to get rid of them….especially so that Mouse’s digestive system can settle down! I love the image of you trying to cajole him to eat wheat grass ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Anne. I think if our garden were bigger, then the grasses would have more room to move. They mostly feel crowded at this stage (or they did), along with the other challenges. I haven’t seen a recent pic of your garden, though with all you have going on, I know it’s certainly on the back burner. I’ve been thinking of you and I’m sending my love. xo


  7. Coming late to this post, I hope the storm left you unscathed and your hard work not washed out. My own Mouse has a patch of long grass we are ‘not allowed’ to mow because it’s where he likes to do his digestive chewing. I wish he wouldn’t, because it makes picking up the aftermath particularly trying…


    • Ah yes, I’m well aware of the cleanup required. I’ve been joking with Mike that we should buy a square of sod and plant it for him, so I’m delighted to hear your solution. I didn’t know dogs also ate grass for digestion. The storm arrived 24 hours later than expected, but none of the brutal winds, thank goodness. Thank you for checking.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Seeing your beautiful garden is a real pick-me-up this lovely, crisp morning. We had snow last night and it was 25 degrees when I unlocked the outside doors at 6:00. I can only imagine your warm sunny days. I love the direction you are going in with your garden. You are the most patient photographer to get those shots of the humming birds. I think I have too much ADD going on. That walkway will be lovely. I’m happy to see you here more often. It let’s me know you are still happily busy.


    • Your words are always a welcome comfort, Marlene. Thank you! 25 degrees is cold, though I imagine the snow is pretty. When will your area start seeing true signs of spring? Will you get some warm days before it heats up too much? I need to start calling places to get quotes for that walkway. There was a time when we would do this work, but my back, hips and feet are no longer suited for that work. I’m still out there pulling weeds, though, most days. All this rain has made a bumper crop, but I don’t mind. I like having my hands in the earth. xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • We are still getting some cold nights and wind but sunshine has shown her face. We will get a real spring across the next few weeks. It’s always gradual. I had to give up the gardening too. Now I’m looking for someone to do my vacuuming and mopping. 🙂 Changing sheets on the bed is a marathon event anymore. I count it as exercise.:) I miss having my hands in the dirt too. There is no real dirt here and anything you try and plant the wind whips to death. I think my flowers in the umbrella are going to be as close to a garden as I get up here. Leave the heavy work to young and strong. Keeps them out of trouble.:) Hugs and love. m


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