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sunny days

“Oh What a Beautiful Morning…..

by Lorraine on February 19, 2012

Oh what a beautiful day…..I’ve got a beautiful feeeeellllinnnng! Everything’s going my wayyyy”….Okay, so I guess who ever is reading this, knows this is my attempt at singing the song from the musical comedy, “Oklahoma”.

And what does it have to do with native plants, gardening, habitat creation and other aspects of life?   At least my life?   Probably nothing other than it is a beautiful morning and as morning gives away to the afternoon, there are implied promises that the day will continue to be inspiring.

It doesn’t take much for me to be happy and I just completed spreading out four bags of mulch which gives my garden a neater look, especially since this year I won’t have the usual display of wildflowers.

And that is because it hasn’t’ rained enough to encourage the seeds to sprout but there will be plenty of California poppies putting on their best colors as they daintily slip off their slender, green overcoats.   And they never disappoint and can be counted on to show up and show off..

I am so far behind on writing regularly here and I do want to share some of the notes that I took while attending a class at the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants…a few months ago conducted by Barbara Eisenstein on the exciting topic of irrigation.

Then there are those times that when I just simply fail when I try to do something such as digging up, dividing and transplanting some of the Douglas Iris’.   Most of them died but failures are to be expected in life and it’s best that we take them with a smile and learn something from them.

Although the ones that I gave to my daughter-in-law are apparently doing just fine.   Or at least that is what she’s telling me.   Maybe she doesn’t want me to know  she killed them, too.

I guess the song from” Oklahoma” is saying that no matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, no matter how scared or hopeless you may feel, the sun is always raising somewhere and that includes your heart.

Figueroa Mt.'s Poppies/Santa Barbara County

It’s a beautiful day….




Ruthless Trimming and Rainstorms

by Lorraine on July 31, 2011

Okay, so the weather forecast for mid to southern California was for thunder storms, lightening, rain, humidity, drama and flash floods.   None of which happened around here, although I don’t know if these events transpired in other parts of the state.   But the weather turned out to be beautiful with fantastic blue skies, some clouds and lots of humidity.

Sometimes  I can be spontaneous and I got the urge to (well just a little bit), do some trimming in the garden yesterday.   Naturally, being me…this became an event that lasted about three hours as I cut back some of the Salvias, trimmed the Desert Lavender/Hyptis emoryi and knocking myself out for any future events that might require my energy.

I have two Desert Lavender bushes and both of the are up against the house and easily over 8′ and tend to want to become bushy.   So once in a while I have to do some trimming as one of them is right next to my sitting area in the garden and if I didn’t trim it, I’d be sitting in it’s branches.

They are covered in bees, collecting nectar and spreading their good cheer and work and Hummingbirds like them as well.   Although, lately I haven’t seen too many Hummers, since most of the plants are done blooming for the summer with the exception of Everett’s Choice fuchsias.

They do adore them and of course the fiery orange color, seduces the little birds to visit the bar quite often.  They love the fuchias and typically they are swooping in and out of the plants for most of the day.

So I got off my topic here…trimming.   Due to all the rain we had this past winter, the plants went “bonkers’ in their growth and ended up competing for space.   The Whirly Blue salvias, covered some of the Purple Three Awn grasses and a couple of Yarrows, too.   They are know behaving because I cut them back a bit, which should be done beginning this time of the year.

I soaked a Spreading Gum Plan/Grindelia stricta yesterday and yanked it out today because I think it’s ugly.   There’s another one that will be receiving the same fate as well but later on, not today.  I whacked back several Coyote Mints/Mondardella villosa too, as they were looking done in and no longer putting on a show but they sure have a strong, minty fragrance that is almost overwhelming but nice.

August is supposedly one of our hotter months in California and my plants have all but retreated to safety until the first rains of winter.   Then it will start all over again.

But what happened to today’s rain storms, flash floods, lightening and other exciting events?


Snow-Free California

by Lorraine on January 12, 2011

It’s an amazing and gorgeous day here in southern California.   While the east coast and Canada are being buried underneath snow drifts, the sun is shining and the sky is clear.

The temperatures are expected to reach 80 degrees by Saturday and then slowly descend down into the mid-70’s by the following week.   No wonder so many people want to live here.   Our weather is very appealing and there is no snow to shovel and icy roads to navigate!

With all the rain that has fallen in the last two months, my garden has exploded in growth.   Several plants are starting to bloom and many bulbs are coming up through the earth and everywhere I look, I see something new and changes in the landscape.

There are lots and lots of California Poppy seedlings and I know I will have a visual feast of glowing, orange flowers within the next couple of months.

It’s really too early for this kind of activity and I guess you could call it a “false” spring, as we could still have some very cold temperatures, as it’s truly winter.  And if that should happen, it will kill or at least cause some of these early bloomers, to die back.

The warm sunshine has brought many different types of birds into the garden and they are feeding on the seeds they find as though they are at a banquet.  And  I half expect to see some lizards due to the warmth but I guess they are still sleeping, tucked away under the rocks.

They know it’s not Spring as of yet.


It’s Summer & Where do I Start?

by Lorraine on July 24, 2010

You would think that I would have all kinds of time to talk about what’s going on in my garden but I always have too many avenues I’m running to the next destination.   I love my garden but honestly, there isn’t always anything new to say about it.   It’s just doin’ its thing, growing, moving through the seasons and is now adapting to the hotter temperatures of summer.

This is actually it’s second summer and looking back over time, I can see that overall, the garden has thrived and done well with few casualties.   Which is to be expected but I guess I got lucky in that regard, because I have lost very few plants.

I received the Poppy Print newsletter from the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants the other day.   And as usual, I find myself longing to drive over to the nursery, poke around, smell the plants and enjoy the ambiance of colors and sound…..lots of birds and the “crunch” of walking on the gravel pathway.

Here is a photo of the nursery from last Fall.

There’s lots of news in it about what is for sale, upcoming classes covering topics such as Irrigation for Native Plants, Maintenance, Native Plant horticulture and several others, too.  All the classes are wonderful and a great way to gain information if you are interested in using Natives in your garden.

Here’s a picture of an old house that has since been restored and is now used as a classroom.

The section on what needs to be done in the garden now, is also very helpful and I always make sure that I read it so that I know what I should be doing.   Sort of like what Sunset Magazine does each month in their gardening section.   And of course, it’s mulching, weeding, pruning (Which I will be doing, today) and putting in plants.

Meanwhile in my garden, the Hummingbirds are returning to visit the Fuchsias that have started to bloom and the sages are beginning to go into summer hibernation, but Desert Lavender/Hyptis emoryi, continues to bloom and draw bees to each plant.

It’s warm today but not too hot and soon I will be heading outside and begin my Communion with my native garden.


Cats, Wild Radish & Spring

by Lorraine on February 13, 2010

It’s been a lazy, warm day filled with hints of Spring.   I had truly intended to write something here earlier in the day and also to add some new pictures to the site since the garden has so many things developing at this time.   So much is going and it’s positively bursting with life and energy.   Winter has passed and with the recent rain everything looks revived, green , succulent and pregnant with possibilities.

Bees Bliss Sage with a Bee!

It was probably 80 degrees here today and I just couldn’t spend it inside.   The cats and I have been either in the backyard or the garden for most of the day.   Concentrating on anything proved to be impossible, as I was lulled by the sweet smells of plants and the songs of birds drifting over my senses making me feel dreamy and sleepy.

I spent part of the day in the backyard, pulling weeds that threatened to choke out the wildflowers that are coming up.   There are lots of California poppies of course but there are many other things sprouting that I am clueless as to what they may be.   It’s a bit like Christmas, wondering what is in the packages as I look at all of the new sprouts coming up in my backyard.

The cats have been in and out most of the day with the exception of Theo who never seems to nap the way most cats do.   It’s as though he can’t miss anything going on outside and he revels in being in the garden, checking things out and sometimes, dozing in the sun.

Its been a beautiful day and as I am writing this, the sun has set behind the low hills to the west of my house.   Twilight is beginning to fall and the birds are seeking their spots for the night.   A very slight chill has begin to descend and I’m sorry to see the day come to a close.

There is always more to say and typically I struggle to express the feelings that well up in my life when I am looking at the beauty of nature.  My native plants are just a little oasis of happiness for me and helps me to keep my connection with the universe and all things wild.