Gardening in June

It’s June – mid-June, at that. The weather has been strange so far this year. March was unseasonably hot, but since then it’s been cooler than usual. As I’m writing this, I realize I have natural disasters on my mind: California is apparently facing the worst drought in some unnerving number of decades, and the local news is full of dire predictions about fire season.


At the same time, there was mist over the hills this morning, and although my recent months’ success with vegetables is nothing like last year’s beginner’s luck (gophers ate at least half of what I planted, tiny birds munched on seedlings, and some things simply didn’t grow – why?!), the flowers that have been coming up around the garden are amazing.

1. Dwarf jacaranda. We planted 3 small trees recently; I hadn’t expected blooms this year but here they are.

2. Sweet peas in the orchard. Love these.

3. This valiant tiny rose is growing from, I think, the rootstock of one that died out above it. Isn’t it pretty?

4. My favorite color of full-size rose.

5. These white flowers self-seeded from a single plant we bought two years ago. I’ve forgotten what it’s called, but it’s native to Greece. I love the way it’s interspersing with these pale purple alliums.

6. And for something edible after all – blossoms on the volunteer blackberry bush! One of these days I probably really should cut it back from the fig tree (is it strangling it? Is that a thing?) but I can’t bring myself to while it’s showing such promise of deliciousness to come.

Later today I’m aiming to weed one of the unplanted vegetable beds, weed-whack the orchard, and trench-compost everything that isn’t likely to seed or resprout. Then in another half-empty bed, I’m going to re-plant the leafy greens I’ve been missing: kale and arugula and maybe some summer-proof spinach. Fingers crossed!

And for views onto other gardeners’ gardens, head over to The Propagator’s blog!

Unwelcome severance

That. That is the severed stem – one of several! – of a truly lovely magnolia blossom snap pea that was just beginning to transition from the occasional blossom to a seemingly prolific harvest. And they were so pretty to look at, too. I don’t know what critter has been doing this, but my suspicions are trained on the fat and healthy-looking rabbit that went hopping across the patio just yesterday.

Grumble.

Ah well. I have planted more. I’ll see how they grow, and what happens. Wish me – and the pea plants! – luck.

Up close: plants around the neighborhood

A week or two ago, it occurred to me that one way to improve my plant photography would be to, gasp, practice. I’m fortunate to live in an area where neighborhood walks yield a wealth of lovely things to look at, so recently I spent an afternoon wandering about and photographing plants I don’t currently have in my garden, but admire when I see them out and about.

After no doubt puzzling several passersby as I took one photo, then another, then squinted down at my phone screen attempting to check focus and select a reasonable zoom or crop, here are a few of the results. Plants to grow myself another year, perhaps!

Euphorbia (I think)
Pepper tree, with berries (are these the edible kind of pepper? I don’t know)
No idea, but isn’t it lovely? Some kind of succulent.
Plum or cherry blossom.
Another no-idea. The blossoms are just incredibly tiny and delicate.

I’m reasonably happy with these. Once I accepted that post-photo-taking editing was not a thing I’d do, and so whatever I could achieve in the moment was what I would end up with, I started looking at things more closely. I also discarded a lot of photos. It was interesting – I don’t think photography is ever going to become an in-depth hobby for me, but the attention spent on this felt entirely worthwhile.