San Jose gardens get by with about 15 inches of rain a year. During the drought years, we had half of that or less. So this year’s rain has been a gift to South Bay gardens, not only delaying the time when we would typically begin a watering routine but adorning our gardens with more blooms, taller plants, and, yes, lots of weeds.
My nepeta (cat mint) self-seeded throughout the garden to the sensory delight of our felines. The original plant is twice as tall this year, hiding those sneaky weeds below. They have met their match!
California poppies spread throughout the garden, showing up in pots, along the curb garden, and elsewhere to my delight. The profusion of color is uplifting. I’ve been relocating the self-seeded sweet peas to the other side of the sidewalk so that they don’t overtake the perennials I’m trying to grow. First, I pulled out small volunteers or transplanted them, and then I bought another packet of seeds to hedge my bets during the transition. It worked partly due to the rain, and now the perennials are getting a foothold with the space and an extra helping of rain.
I cut back the stems of the Freesia last week, leaving the leaves to dry out before cutting them back to the ground. Rapidly taking their place are gladiola and love-in-a-mist. Last October, Mike dug out several gladiola bulbs, and I replanted them together in the curb garden to maximize the effect. They’re just starting to come up as the poppies go to seed.
Over the years, people have asked if my garden is a lot of work. While it can be hard on my aging hips and lower back, I don’t think of it as work so much as a pursuit. I’ve had the luxury this season to spend two or three hours a day outdoors, deadheading, weeding, and pruning as I observe all the gifts of nature.
The garden attracts lizards, birds, squirrels, butterflies, and praying mantis. The scents of spring are intoxicating, and the refreshing cool greens soothe me.
Rain-filled water tanks permitted us to plant guilt-free strawberries and tomatoes, and for the first time in many years, I planted five coleuses in a repurposed pot once used in the back garden.
Annuals are heavy water users, so I’ve limited myself to one box and a shade-loving spot at that. I’ll share photos after I clean up the pot. Otherwise, I will continue to plant and tend to native and drought-tolerant plants, knowing that this year’s rain is a gift without any promises for the future.