From the monthly archives:

June 2009

Wishful Thinking

by Lorraine on June 27, 2009

Staring with concentrated focus out of the window, I can see his brain “firing”.   His head only moving very slightly and the tail with a slow, wispy movement.   He’s thinking about lizards and birds.

Watching their movements from the other side of the window and only able to dream about pouncing on them, there’s a tranquil acceptance of the circumstances.  He’s powerless, stopped by a window and can only watch with a quiet resignation.

House finches are moving in and out of the Quail Bush and a single lizard is strolling along the rocks in the dry stream bed.  Nature has started to awaken this morning and the garden is slowly coming to life.   Temperatures will be warmer and herald the start of what could be a hot day in southern California.

Native plants can thrive in this situation with some extra watering but in general will not need very much.   I did run two of the irrigation lines this morning in anticipation of a hot day but only for a brief time.   The garden is somewhat established and is prepared for it’s second Summer as it stretches it’s roots, limbs and life.

And Chico?  He watches intently, dreaming dreams of capture but to no avail.   He will have to wait until night, then he can catch all the lizards and birds that his feline heart desires but only in his dreams.



by Lorraine on June 23, 2009

A garden is a place of tranquility, peace, contemplation and nature.    A place to retreat to, play in and connect with yourself and the environment.

A place of renewal, happiness, laughter and wonder.  A place of relationship, effort, taking care of and finding reward.

My garden is tranquil this morning, somewhat quiet but the House Finches are busy feeding and flying in and out of the it.   The Hummingbirds?   I think they’re mad at me since I had to remove the last of the giant Penstemons which still had a few blossoms, but were invested with something that I couldn’t identify.

Now they will have to wait patiently for the Everetts Choice Fuchsias to bloom later this summer.   Then the feast will begin.   Another cycle in the garden and a bow to summer.

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Thinking About Making Changes

by Lorraine on June 20, 2009

After the sun finally came out late this afternoon, I went out into the garden to do some trimming and cleanup.   The Penstemon spectabilis were looking very ratty and had basically finished their long bloom but  some of the stems still had a few lavender-colored flowers on them.  The hummingbirds were continuing to visit and I didn’t want to take away their meal, so I  didn’t want to cut them off yet, but then I noticed how bad the leaves looked.

On the bottom end of the long stems, the leaves had turned brown and completely dried out and were actually “crackly”.   The stems and the leaves that were still green, looked like there was some sort of infestation on them.

I referred to my book on native plant maintenance to see if I could figure out what was wrong.   The only thing that I thought it might be, would be some sort of fungus.   The book said to cut the stems on the infected plant down almost to the grown and remove any dead leaves.  

Ultimately, this is what I did and regretfully so, but I have a feeling that this was the problem and the plant was looking terrible.   Now I have a large, bare area in the middle of the garden, that now makes me think of other possibilities.

I dug up a few other plants to create more space and I also removed two Seaside Daisies.   They are very pretty with their dainty, pale lavender flowers, but they are very, very invasive.   I decided that they had to go, so I removed two of them for the time-being but I have a feeling they will sprout again, as it was difficult to remove all of the network of roots.

Sitting outside, sipping on a glass of wine and viewing the difference in the garden, has set me to thinking about what I may want to do this Fall.   I spent some time going through two of my native plant gardening books and getting some ideas.

Here it’s just beginning to be Summer but already I’m dreaming of the native plant sales in the Fall and looking forward to making some changes in the garden.

What will I do?

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The Second Summer in the Garden

by Lorraine on June 19, 2009

Sometimes when I’m in the garden, I find it difficult to believe how quickly the time has passed since I first started it in Nov. of ’07.   My gosh!   Now we are going into a second Summer  and I remember being a bit concerned last year about how well it would do with the heat.

So far, our weather has been fairly cool but as we head into July, we should start experiencing higher temperatures, which will mean that I need to pay good attention to my plants and be sure that they aren’t hurting in any way as the weather becomes warmer and dryer.

What totally amazes me, is how big all of the plants have become.   Some of them are huge and when I think back to the time when they were just little one gallon plants, it seems unbelievable how big they have grown and in such a short time!

The lesson is to be sure that you don’t plant them to close together (I did) otherwise you many end up having to remove some of them, which I am faced with now.  I’m not quite sure which ones I will be digging up as of yet, but I know that I will have to make some sort of decision before things get out of hand.

Meanwhile, there is some work to be done in the way of trimming and general cleanup.   Plants that were blooming earlier are now done and need a little attention to spruce them up.   But the garden looks beautiful and everything continues to thrive.


Hooded Orioles

by Lorraine on June 12, 2009

I had a stressful day today, related to my profession and just when I felt the most discouraged, I looked out the window from my kitchen and what did I see?   A female Hooded Oriole splashing about in the bird bath with such obvious enjoyment and glee.

Then, suddenly her mate was there, too.  Oh my gosh!   He was so beautiful and it’s difficult to explain his coloring other than that it’s stunning!   I stood  by the window, barely moving so as not to startle them and just watched them as they drank and splashed in the water.

Originally I thought that a pair of Western Tanagers had made their nest high up in the tree that is in front of my house.   But I was wrong.   It was the Hooded Orioles instead and I’m wondering if their eggs have hatched yet.

They must have by now but I’m not hearing any “feeding” noises and I’m wondering if the parents have already fulfilled their parental duties and maybe their babies have “flown the roost”.  I’ve been carefully watching where I step in the area  of garden that is just underneath the nest in the tree.  I certainly would be upset if I stepped on one of their babies, but I haven’t seen a thing.

Having a difficult day and then seeing the two of them, so oblivious to the ills of humanity, made up for challenging day and brings me back to the truth only to be found in nature.  The timing was so perfect to see them, just when I needed a sweet antidote to transform my feelings/