I’m a seventies gal. That is to say that I prefer temperatures hovering around 72 degrees with a slight breeze. I have British Aisle genes and a California address. Now that we’re approaching the hottest months of the year I must hide from the heat and sun. Tomorrow’s forecast: 101°F (38°C).
Gardening used to happen at the end of the day when I could safely venture back outdoors. As we settle uncomfortably into year four of the California drought, not much gardening is happening at all.
Planting pots with annuals on the deck and porch has long been a favorite ritual. This year I emptied all but a few pots, and planted what remained with succulents. They don’t need much watering, perhaps just once a month, but they don’t need much care either. Part of the joy of gardening is watching new growth, pinching back leaves, dead-heading flowers and making tiny bouquets. It’s fun to see an annual double in size over the course of the summer. This year I’m forgoing that tradition.
What remains of the lawn resembles a bed of straw. I’m happy to see the lawn go, but had hoped that by now we would have our native plants in place. I met with a designer in April who promised a two-week turnaround, but as we approach July we remain in limbo. I’ve completed the landscape rebate program application but I can’t submit it until I have both the list of plants and the specific irrigation components for the rebate.
Drying grass, dead sweet peas
The Statice likes the dry conditions and attracts butterflies. The sweet peas are a different story.
In the back garden, I sheet mulched half of the lawn thinking I would replant this spring. That too is in limbo, awaiting plans. For now that area is a patch of brown, albeit fertile soil.
Half lawn, half dry patch, and an all-volunteer tomato crop
I didn’t plan a vegetable garden this year either, other than the raspberry vines that come back time and again without fuss. With no effort on my part, three tomato varieties self seeded: one grew under the Acer, several in the gravel surrounding the rotating compost bin and a few in the actual planting boxes. Mike added a drip line, so we could eek out some drops at the roots.
A few weeks ago more tomatoes popped up in the patch of former lawn. They seem to be surviving without any water, something that doesn’t seem possible. I scratched the surface of the soil and it remains dry at least an inch down. The plants must be getting by on morning dew and perhaps some ground water. Amazing.
In the same sea of dirt stands a single pumpkin, ringed by several tomatoes. The plant’s leaves droop in exhaustion at the end of each day, and I whisper my understanding. I head to the swing and enjoy the green that remains while longing for a refreshing downpour.
A pumpkin or squash surrounded by tomato plants
It’s survival of the fittest out there under the hot, dry early summer sky. Indoors this seventies gal needs to improve her attitude.