Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Garden in August

I took a stroll around the back garden, today.  Much of the garden is parched and sun baked!  These two pictures of the back garden are taken from the back door:

Looking Slightly to the Right

It's depressing, isn't it?  Once upon a time, I had almost 100 rose bushes growing here (98 to be exact!).  But, we are currently in our fifth year of severe drought and watering restrictions have taken a toll.    Not to mention my recent ill-health (I was told not to actually do any active gardening while undergoing chemo, to minimize being exposed to soil bacteria, etc.)

Looking Slightly to the Left
The white building to the left of the picture is my detached garage, with two of the lemon trees growing in front of it.

Next year, I will start re-landscaping the garden with more drought tolerant plants.  In the meantime, the garden will limp along as best as it can!

The jasmine plant I had pulled out from behind the shed (the main plant had died, but this was growing in a sheltered spot) and transplanted in a pot is growing:

Jasmine Transplant

The lantana/plumbago hedge that was trimmed:

Trimmed Hedge
I wish I had remembered to take a "before" picture.  But it was taller than the top of the wall and sprawling out at least two feet into the garden.

There are some colorful berries on the schefflera plant:

Schefflera Berries

The poor peach tree, struggling to stay alive after it got scorched during the heatwave earlier in the summer:

Peach Tree
And the loquat tree which was pruned to encourage recovery from being scorched, earlier:

Loquat Tree

The oranges are still holding on:


One of the plants that seem to be thriving in the garden is the Sprengeri fern.  It has self-seeded itself in various places and, although it is considered a weed in some parts of the country, I have been allowing it to grow wherever it pops up, as it adds a bit of green to the garden.

Such as, at the base of the loquat tree:

Sprengeri Fern

Or a corner of the agapanthus bed:

Sprengeri Fern and Agapanthus

Or the corner of the garden shed:

Sprengeri Fern

Where it is flowering:

Sprengeri Flowers
The flowers will form berries that birds will eat and drop the seeds which will grow into more plants, if the conditions are favorable. 

On the other side of the shed, the purple flowered geraniums we cut back almost to the ground are starting to regrow:

There was something in the middle of one of the older leaves:

Butterfly on Leaf

It looked like a butterfly but it didn't move!  At first, I wondered if it was sleeping? Or maybe laying eggs?  But something didn't seem right and I put on my glasses to check it out. 

Butterfly at Final Resting Place
Unfortunately, it wasn't moving because it was dead!  In fact, an adjoining leaf held a dead bee!

And that's my back garden in August.

How is your garden coming along? 


  1. Ah, that is so sad indeed, but also so amazing that plants manage to grow in that drought! We also have some Sprengeri fern (I didn't know that was the name of it!) that the previous owner had planted around 2 oak trees in our front yard. One of the trees had to be cut down but that plant is thriving, even in the sun. I love that I don't have to take care of it at all.

    Here I'm torn between wanting to add water to the bird bath that is completely dry and the threat of Zika. So I didn't add any, we have two lakes within 1 block so I think the birds and bugs can travel a little further for now.

    I had to water my plants this morning, we haven't had any measurable amount of rain in days. My hibiscus' leaves were all curled up and so were the roses. We've had the driest summer than I can ever remember, living here for close to 30 years! Yet, all around us it's been raining because there was an article in our local newspaper this morning about some people clamoring for the Water Authority to lower the lake levels. Sometimes I feel like there is an invisible dome over our neighborhood that keeps all the rain away.

    I hope you guys get some rain soon.

    1. Yes, good idea to keep the bird bath dry until the Zika threat is over.

      I water the garden once or twice a week, for less than 10 minutes each time; the plants that survive are those that can tolerate the conditions.

      I can't remember when we last had any rain, even a drizzle. I know it didn't rain in June or July and we haven't had any so far in August. It probably won't rain in September, either (usually our hottest month).

  2. I'm sorry you garden got so scorched and you lost all those rose bushes. :( I've had to replace several of mine too. If it's not the heat one year, it is the bitter cold temps the next that kill them off. I have many spots in my backyard that are looking like your's is. I have a rule that I only water food producing plants and my favorite flowers. :)

    1. That's a good rule to have, Debbie. One that I might adopt, myself! :)

  3. It's amazing how we can grumble about rain until we don't have any for ages. I can see that it is a sad thing to have a garden in several years of drought. We were very fortunate when our rain came back as it was a steady gentle rain that could seep in, not a massive downpour that would just run away, and we have had a fair amount of rain since. When we get a lot of rain, the yard turns into a jungle! In a drought, like you, we find out which are the most drought tolerant plants. Ironically, a forsythia that we actually tried to destroy last year because it was totally out of control, is growing back marvellously this year in spite of total chainsawing and then trying unsuccessfully to haul out the huge root with the 4-wheeler. Go figure!


    1. You have to let that forsythia grow back, Bushlady; it is trying so hard! I have a plant like that in my garden, too - a walnut seedling that suddenly showed up, growing too close to the side wall. I cut it back, got the gardener to dig it up, etc., and yet, every year, it grew back! We finally gave up and have allowed it to grow! It is about 5 feet tall now!

  4. So sad that your plants are struggling so. How often are you allowed to water them? Still amazes me that some areas get no rain at all for so long. Our area saw record-setting flooding in May and then we didnt have any measurable rain until this past Sunday. We've had rain and/or thunderstorms each day since ... Including today. Our drought-loving plants are drowning. But, I know better than to complain! :)

  5. Carolyn, I am allowed to water 3 days a week, for 8 minutes each time, if using sprinklers. No such restrictions if watering by hand. However, I am also allowed only X amount of water at the lower tier of pay. I try to stay under that limit to keep the water bill at a reasonable amount. So I water only once or twice a week.

  6. BLess, so very sad.. Your garden was so beautiful.. Will pray for rain for you.
    Hope you have a nice day.

    1. Thank you, Judy. We rarely get much rain in the summer, anyway. Our rainy season is in winter, except, the last several winters, we didn't get much rain at all. Thus the drought and water restrictions.


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