Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Garden in March

Back Yard from the Back Steps

The garden is coming along nicely after all the rain we've had.  I've been asked how big my garden is.  I live on what maybe considered a typical suburban lot in this area: approximately 50' x 130'.  The front yard measures approximately 20' deep by 40' wide and there is a drive way that runs the length of the house to the detached garage (the white wall to the viewer's left, in the picture above).  I've three lemon trees growing along the side of the garage and one of them is visible on the left in the picture above; the orange tree is across from it on the right of the picture.  The entire back yard is enclosed by a wall.

Side Yard

The side yard is approximately 5' wide.  At one time, I had oleander bushes growing along the wall, but they had to be uprooted when the sewer pipe had to be replaced.  Then, I had a clump of sugar cane growing, here, but that died, too, during the drought.  Now, I just have two guava trees growing here.  The tree in the foreground, growing near the side wall in a feijoa, which is also known as "pineapple guava".  The tree behind it, growing against the house, is a cherry guava.  There is another feijoa behind that, growing against the house in the front yard.  There is an iron railing separating the side yard from the front yard.  I have plans to landscape this area, but haven't done anything yet.

The Cherry Guava Tree

Last summer's heat wave scorched the cherry guava tree, but it has leafed out again, after the rain, and there are even a few flowers!

Cherry Guava Flowers

In the back yard, the three lemon trees growing by the side of the garage still have the winter crop of lemons:


And are covered with flowers!  The bees love them and they make the whole garden smell lovely.

Lemon Flowers

The hibiscus plant is doing well, too:


I still have several oranges on the orange tree (picked another two after I took this picture):

Oranges (and photobombing Crocosmia Flowers)

The orange tree is covered with buds!  None have opened, yet, but it won't be long before they do:

Orange Flower Buds

I've several clumps of crocosmia growing along the side wall:


Further towards the back of the garden, there is a calamondin tree with a schefflera plant growing under it.  Calamondin is a type of citrus; the fruit is about the size of a kumquat, but round.  The fruit is edible, but very sour.

Calamondin Tree and Schefflera

The picture below is taken from near the back of the garden looking towards the back of the garage (and house).   That is a curry leaf tree growing behind the garage - we use the leaves in our cooking.   Several volunteer seedlings have sprouted and I am letting them grow. 

Curry Leaf Tree and Seedlings (foreground)

I've more of the African daisies growing in the back yard, too:

African Daisies

And that is the back garden in March!  This is perhaps the best time of the year for our gardens, here, before it gets too hot in the summer.  We've not had any rain in a week and the forecast for next week says it will be warm and sunny, so I will need to water the garden, tomorrow, for the first time this year!

Are you able to garden in March?


  1. Amazing photos, especially considering the devastating drought that California is only now coming out of. Many people let their lawn die due to the expense of watering and the restrictions that became increasingly strict.

    No gardening in the Illinois area not far from St. Louis. We have had a very mild winter, little snow and not a lot of rain but we have had another very cold spell (hard frost at night) and the apple/peach trees were in danger of being lost by orchard growers.

    I have never had an orange or lemon directly from the tree. I am thinking they taste better than what we get in the shops.


    1. Yes, the garden looks nice and green, doesn't it? My front lawn died back, completely, during the drought - I've a few patches of grass growing there, now, though, after the rain! I had a big bare area in the back lawn, too, which is starting to grow in now. As far as I know, our watering restrictions are still in place! The fruit straight off the trees are very fresh, indeed! I don't think I've bought a lemon in the past 25 years!

  2. What a transformation the rain has blessed you with! Vibrant and thriving plants and trees! How do you use the curry leaves from your tree in your cooking? Do you dry and grind them or use fresh whole and green?

    1. Carolyn, the curry leaves are generally used fresh, although one can use the dried leaves, too. They are used as you would use bay leaves. We add them whole to the curries to flavor them. However, they can be cut finely and cooked with rice to make a type of porridge for breakfast, or shredded and mixed with coconut and other spices to make a "sambol" or relish that is eaten with rice. It is supposed to be very good for controlling cholesterol, etc., although I don't know the validity of those claims.

  3. That's a nice sized yard. For some reason I always pictured homes in your area having tiny ones. You have some lovely trees growing there. Wish I could barter some of my apples, pears and peaches for some of your oranges and lemons. Do the leaves of that curry tree taste like curry? I've never heard of one before. No gardening here, we had snow yesterday, but soon we will start our seeds.
    Have a beautiful Sunday and enjoy the saved daylight!


    1. It is a good sized yard, isn't it? I think newer homes might have a smaller lot, but my house and others in my immediate neighborhood were built in the 1940s. I'd gladly give you some of my lemons! I've so many I don't know what to do with them! I usually take bags of them to the office and leave them there for my colleagues to help themselves.

      The curry leaves have a distinct taste of their own. We add them whole to the curries to flavor them, as one would add bay leaves to stews, etc. They can also be cut finely and cooked with rice to make a type of porridge for breakfast, or shredded and mixed with coconut and other spices to make a relish that is eaten with rice.

      I'm looking forward to the longer daylight hours! Hope you have fun planning your garden. Have a lovely day, Jane.

  4. Your garden is looking good! I have two lemons one is meyer which is quite sour and the other is lemonade which is a lot sweeter and you can eat as is. I also have a grapefruit but very young yet only gave me 2 grapefruit last winter. We are a little bit too south for oranges but we can grow tangerines okay, I might get one this autumn. I also have 2 feijoas and get lot of fruit from them. I am thinking of getting a persimmon tree they are one of my favourite fruit. I love curry leaves we have an Indian corner store that has all things needed for Indian and Asian dishes so I get curry leaves from them,they are fresh so they must have a curry tree at home. Have a lovely day.

    1. Sharon, what I have are meyer lemons. Your lemonade lemon sounds very interesting; I am not familiar with that type of lemon. A persimmon tree would be nice! It's one of my favorite fruits, too! Hope you have a lovely week ahead of you.

  5. Count me among those who thought every lot in California was super tiny unless you were mega rich! Good for you to have so much space :) And the rain really completely transformed your yard from what you had shared just a few months ago!

    Right now it prime gardening season here in Central Florida but I'm not gardening this year. I might buy potted flowers to attract birds, bees and butterflies though. We're barely had any rain last summer and last winter. My orange tree is dying of citrus greening (I think and if it is, we ought to cut it down as it is contagious) and my tiny lemon tree only has about 3 flowers but in the past couple of years it never developed a lemon. Oh well.

    I'll just live vicariously through you!

    1. Sorry to hear about your orange tree, Nathalie. Hope your lemon tree does better, this year. It's prime gardening season, here, too. I haven't planted any vegetables in a couple of years, because of the drought and because I haven't been well enough to garden (I was told not to garden when I was undergoing chemo to minimize getting exposed to any germs). This year, I am thinking of maybe putting in a few vegetables, but I need to do so before it gets too hot to plant anything! I need to figure out a way to keep the stray cats in the garden away from whatever I plant! Last year, I planted some tomatoes and the cats dug them all up! Freshly dug earth? Ooh, look, she made us a new toilet! :D

  6. One way to keep cats from digging up your garden is to lay a piece of welded wire on top of the soil till the plants are bigger..or till you dig them out after they are done if that works with your plantings. I am talking about the flat panels that the big box stores sell that people make the tomato ages out of. 4" by 4" or bigger squares of welded wire. This can be laid down in areas that you have bare too to keep the cats from using it for a sand box too. We made tomatoes cages out of it 20 + yard ago and they still are fine. On the ends we left prongs of the wire to push into the soil. Our cages are 5' and 7' with a few shorter ones to use for peppers. Hope this helps. Sarah

    1. Sarah, thank you! I shall look for the wire this weekend. Between the wire, the citrus peels, chili powder, etc., something is sure to work!


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