Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Solace in the Garden

I beg pardon, gentle reader, for so long a gap in my blogging.  A family health crisis took up my time, and left me lacking for words.  (Not my usual challenge, as those who know me can attest.)
A patch of Red Buckwheat (Eriogonum grande var. rubescens) anchored by annual Clarkia cheers the heart.
Meanwhile the garden has been doing its thing, and giving me solace.  A happy Artemesia 'David's Choice' cheers me outside the bedroom where we set up camp close to the oxygen generator.  A happily shaggy Deer Grass greets me as I drive to errands and back home again.
This is what a happy Artemisia 'David's Choice" looks like.  Reminds me of Ursula from Disney's Little Mermaid. 
When I need to release a little nervous energy, I can always deadhead the Island Morning Glory or the Lilac Verbena.  They don't really need it, but when life defies ordering, it's nice to put something in order.
Island Morning Glory (Calystegia macrostegia) is still blooming, though its big flush is over.  I don't know if my deadheading helps or not.
The garden had its own drama recently.  Two favorite plants dropped dead untimely.  One was a not-so-happy Artemisia 'David's Choice' that had been overwatered– damp soil and rotted roots– in a patch adjacent to lawn that I share with Tomaz.  I guess we should talk about who's watering what when.  The other casualty, a Catalina Silverlace, is a mystery for Sherlock.  (In these cases, we native gardeners say to ourselves, "I guess it got a fungus.") Fortunately the large bare spot it left is not entirely bare due to a sprawling Bush Snapdragon.

Papa Quail was vigilant, but raptors move fast.
The garden's burgeoning wildlife-in-residence (which currently includes crows, rabbits, lizards, and assorted perching birds) were recently augmented by a family of quail with tiny fuzzball chicks.  Unfortunately for them, the first I saw of them was when one chick became dinner.

Three of the five (remaining) tiny quail chicks.
Raptors in the backyard are spectacular, but hard on the other wildlife.
Feathers still ruffled after his snack.  A kestrel, I believe. Bird photos are courtesy of Scott.
Important topics remain to be tackled.  Losing your lawn!  And what the heck to replace it with! Vetting landscapers! Quizzing gardeners on their tips and tricks with native plants! Rotating sprinkler heads and other water saving measures!  How to get Monkeyflowers to persist after the first year! Sigh.
 This species Sticky Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurianticus) from Moosa Creek Nursery was an impulse purchase in San Diego in April. I tucked it in a dry spot between the roses. Even if it dies this summer, I'm glad I planted it.  
Alas, dear reader, those topics will wait for another day. Scott has been given the green light for air travel (with portable oxygen)– progress but more preoccupation.  For today I will just crank open the umbrella (it's hot!) and take solace in the garden.

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