Saturday, August 29, 2015

Getting Back To Business

 It's been a busy summer and I know I've been negligent in posting to my blog, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy in the gardens. This summer we had a wedding in the family, a big birthday bash in the garden in SJC, started to design our new home in Laguna in addition to Grandparent's Week and lots of birthdays and visits from family and friends. I can hardly believe that summer is almost over although the signs are showing outside in spite of the 90 degree temperatures. 

 We have been asked to cut back our water consumption 26% to help alleviate stress from the drought. I put in new sprinkler boxes in Laguna to help regulate the water better, and our last bill showed that we cut our water use down 67%. Needless to say, the garden doesn't look good and we have lost a lot of plants that preferred the wetter conditions, but that may have been inevitable. 

 In SJC we switched out sprinkler heads to more efficient ones but did not adjust the watering times and everything suffered due to not enough water at all. Then one of our drip systems got shut off accidentally and wasn't noticed until it was too late for many plants. Our water bill at this house is down more than 50% too. I am happy to be so water efficient, but I didn't intend to hit the community goals for everyone all by myself! 

 Many of the older established plant hung in there and are bouncing back with a little added water. They are predicting a lot of rain from the El Nino coming this winter. I hope we get the rain without too much damage. We could sure use it!

 I was forced to do what I tell other people not to do in their gardens. I planted a lot of plants in the middle of summer to enhance the gardens for a big garden party I had for my DH's birthday. I bent over backward with a lot of hand watering to keep those new additions to the garden alive while they got established and was able to hold on to most of them while we got the sprinkler issues worked out. Take note: do not fool around with your automatic sprinkler system in the summer!

Although I'm sharing some pictures that look good that I took this beautiful summer morning before the day heats up, I'll try to share (it kills me) the not-so-pretty scenes too over the next few weeks and the lessons I learned!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Meet My New Friend

I've been crazy busy these past few weeks, but I wanted to take a minute to share a post about my SJC garden on the lovely blog of Alex Anderson - Love, Peace and Gardening. Alex writes about gardens and gardening and was directed to me when she visited the Hortense Miller Garden open house (although I am a docent there I could not make the open house this year). I was happy to share my garden with her on a misty morning and we had a lovely time walking, talking and discovering we had a lot in common, and not just about gardening. She also is passionate about Integrative Health as am I! Please pop over to her blog and see her observations as well as an interview with me!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sprucing Up The Summer Garden

Veronica and Cleome
 In a definite case of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do, I have been busy planting this week. If I had seen someone at the nursery with as many plants as I had on my carts, I would have labeled them a novice. Nobody plants in the middle of summer. But I have a good excuse, or a couple of them. I really want to attract more butterflies to the gardens and since there are so many of them fluttering around looking for their favorite flowers, I figured now is a good time to add some of them to the garden before I forget. 

Rose of Sharon
 I also have an upcoming event taking place in my gardens. We entertain a lot, but not usually in the summer or out in the gardens. It just so happens that all our parties seem to take place in the winter when the gardens are rather quiet and people gravitate to the inside of the house. Plus there is such a great selection at the nurseries this time of year! I am usually not visiting them much in the summer, but they are just packed with all kinds of great plants that I don't always see other times of the year.

So although I'm happy to be able to utilize the gardens for a wonderful summer party, this is just not a good year for taking advantage of the flower beds. I have lost a number of perennials, either due to them just being at the end of their life cycle (not all perennials live forever) or because we have had an issue with the new low volume sprinkler heads not putting out enough water to keep anything blooming, or in some cases, alive. Of course the ongoing drought is not helping either. So I have been trying to choose wisely and water efficiently to give these new lovelies a good start, even if it is the middle of summer.