Summer Garden Tour
July 5, 2012
Do holidays in the middle of the week make you feel strange? They do for me. It’s weird but wonderful waking up late in the morning in the middle of the week, then puttering around the house, doing all those little things you don’t have time for during the hustle and bustle of an ordinary workweek.
I was wandering around the yard yesterday in the late afternoon, glass of sauvignon blanc in one hand, camera in the other, as the sun set over the back hill. The children also we’re running around the yard, picking strawberries before they’re ripe, discovering lizards and spiders, and noticing other mini magical moments in nature, it was a blissful afternoon.
As I wandered I listened to the comfortable repetition of the “snip, snip, snip” as Matt pruned back hedges and pulled unwanted suckers. I appreciated the new growth around every turn, blooms and buds and fruit that didn’t exist just a few weeks ago. Here’s a tour of what’s growing in our yard this month, it amazes me year after year.
Bower vine is blooming in the courtyard and creeping up an old iron trellis. It lingers over our broken fountain that still needs a new pump, but I think its aged finish is a beautiful focal point, functioning or not.
Basil is growing happily in a pot, next to citrus and petunias.
French lavender has been ready for harvest for over a week, but I haven’t gotten around too it yet. Send help, please!
The bees are abundant, collecting what they need to make local honey.
There’s a little path that takes me up the hill to see the fruit trees, it’s wise to wear shoes, but I’m feeling rebellious just like the unwanted weeds that pop up along the path.
Up above, the hardy olive trees filter the view down below. I have always loved the faithful olive trees with their sage and gray wispy leaves that stay with us through the winter when all their deciduous neighbors lose theirs.
Summer roses climb along the fence, begging to be clipped and brought indoors to fill pitchers but torturing me with the thorns as they snag on my clothing. The climb along the fence that separates neighbor from neighbor, but I love that this fence is made of mesh wire, so we can chat across it when we’re all outside.
White star jasmine grows nearby, planted years ago, rarely trimmed back, and allowed to takeover its own section of the fence, filling the garden with its scent.
Just beyond, Matt’s fruit trees are thriving with fig, Fuji apple, and O’Henry peach making their debut.
Blackberry bushes grow in the adjacent open space, and the kids wait impatiently for those July days when we’ll be picking them to make cobbler.
We’re excited to see the grafting is working as little Pinot Noir buds are now forming on the old vines.
The latest exciting news is we have a resident fox who lives in the open space nearby. He/she visits every evening as the sun sets and the kids have declared its name is “Pepper”.
My grand lettuce garden experiment is going well, thanks for all the suggestions on how to grow lettuce! The basil and oregano dominate, but so far, it’s a tasty addition to the yard.
Do you argue about plants in your yard? We sometimes do, specifically the lavatera tree. Matt hates it because it’s so invasive but I love it because it will bloom in the winter when everything else is dormant, it’s a nesting spot for birds, and a frequent stop for hummingbirds which conveniently stop by when I finally get around to the morning dishes. That’s the kitchen window beyond.
The perennials behind the retaining wall are all overgrown, I rarely have time to trim them but I like them that way, wild and crazy without any formal shape.
It’s not uncommon to stumble across relics from the past whenever we get around to actually pruning them.
I love boxwood hedges, but these variegated ones that border our stairs are my favorites. Also, I don’t think a garden is complete without a birdhouse, preferably one painted by a child.
Coco has found her new watering hole, but we’re pretty sure she’s wishing there was a bird present, not just the agua. (Sufferin’ Succotash.) We’re supervising her outdoor time given the new resident in the area.
My favorite little fern grows under the balcony in a shady spot where it’s happy, I was able to make framed fern art out of a few preserved fronds last year.
The hydrangeas are growing like crazy, producing plenty of bouquets this season. I try to give away as many as possible, they’re too pretty to keep for just us.
As we finish with the gardening, we sit in the yard and talk of where we will settle after the kids go off to college in ten years. We’re future planners like that, absolutely loving what we have and feeling so blessed, yet envisioning where we will be in later years. We’ve got our hearts set on a little piece of land in Sonoma where we can build a “Parent Trap” style 3 bedroom single story. Where Matt can ride his John Deere through his orchard, and I can tend to my lavender and vegetable garden in a big floppy hat.
Being in the garden makes me think grandiose thoughts like that. Does it have that effect on you? Anything blooming in your yard right now that you’re mighty proud of?