Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Garden in May


Rain's prompt this week is "petals". To me that means flowers - a good opportunity to show you my garden beside all the poppies I blogged about last time.

May is one of the most exciting months in the garden in my corner of the world. In this month, the gardens explode in blooms. Many plants are already past their prime like French lilac and the spring flowers like tulips. They bid farewell a while ago.

Since you already saw the many poppies in my garden, here are just a few examples, including the stunning Lauren's Grape. Mine had a lighter pink-lavender, but usually they are darker. I had quite some of them last year, but only a few came back this year.

Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) is a wildflower with edible root and herbal properties and is feeling very much at home in my garden. It has this huge seedhead and this year, I will try to cut off most of them before they actually get to this stage. In the right picture you can see the tall stalks of salsify - yes, there are a lot.

Another plant that has multilpied through seeds since I first planted it a few years ago is Clary sage (Salvia sclarea), but strangely enough it only sticks to the part of the garden in front of the kitchen. I tried to get it grow in other parts, without any success. It is super drought tolerant and keeps a long time. Spiders like to hang out on the leaves.

Despite the wet and colder than usual winter my peonies underperformed this year. I was a bit disappointed, but am delighted about the few flowers they did get.

Last fall I planted native lupines - it's a dwarf silver bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons). I didn't expect much so soon after putting it in the ground, but was very happy when I saw the first few blooms. It's a stunning flower and I plan to plant more of them. It's living close to my young olive tree that unfortunately the deer love to snack on.

The spider was watching over the ladybugs making new little ladybugs on top of the yarrow "Moonshine" - garden porn!

I love sage (salvia gregii) - they're easy, very aromatic and loved by hummingbirds and bees alike. You can't really go wrong with them as long as they don't get too much water (which never happens in my garden apart from Mother Nature going a bit wild in the winter).

Some more salvia - nemorosa in this case. They have never been as beautiful as this year. 

This I didn't plant - you probably all know this plant well enough. It's Flatweed (Hyochaeris radicata) and has settled uninvited. However, it's one of the first flowers that bees and other pollinators go to in the spring and therefore it's welcome here. I adore the rich golden yellow.

Digitalis is a flower that doesn't really belong to California, however, I did try to plant it last year (they're biennial) in a very weak moment and two of them survived. After they're gone I will dig them up and put in the compost bin since I don't really want them in my garden. What was I thinking?

Apricot mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) on the other hand is well suited for this garden. It is very drought tolerant and I first got the idea of trying it out after I had seen it in the desert. It is also called desert mallow for a good reason.

This is one of the newer beds that I created a few years ago with the sheet mulching technique (my entire garden is a sheet mulch garden - all of this used to be a lawn when we bought the house 11 years ago). It has become one of my faovrite spots in the garden. The Jupiter's Beard is taking over a bit, so I will probably get rid of a few of the plants when they're done. I know that they will come back. There's also scabiosa, calendula, coyote mint (a CA native), silver bush, lavender, pitcher sage, potato vine, a native elderberry (Sambucus mexicana), and a small pomegranate tree. A few weeks ago I wrote that I was afraid the pomegranate tree might have died in one of the freezing winter nights we had, but it has come back more beautiful than before and I'm grateful for that. Pomegranates remind me of Turkey and the wonderful time we had there with the Turkish branch of our family.

The native California grape Roger's Red shows first onset of grapes. They're small grapes and don't taste like much, but the birds love them (the raccoons as well...).

The flower in the left photo is a Watsonia, a bulb flower native to the cape area of South Africa and therefore well suited for the Northern Californian climate. I saw it in a neighbor's garden and admired it. Last fall, that neighbor brought six or seven of the plants to my door. I love this kind of neighborly exchanges. I 'm also very fond of container plants and have a few every year. They get watered with the saved water from my shower. We have become quite the "champions" when it comes to saving water. 

And can you believe this??? Well, I almost couldn't, but I can assure you, they're real.

This brings me to the dinner part for Thursday Art and Dinner Date. Recently I cooked something with tomatoes because I was missing them so much, but I forgot to take a picture - I probably was too greedy (I simply love tomatoes). So here is a "winter veggie" dish I made a couple days ago - farfalle with pancetta, carrots and broccoli.

The veggies are from the farmers market where I buy them from a very sweet Mexican lady. That poor woman is my "victim" to practice Spanish (my pronunciation is probably horrible) - did I ever tell you that I started to learn Spanish at the beginning of the year? I felt I needed to learn another language beside the four I already speak (more or less well). It is a lot of fun, but sometimes also very frustrating. I'm glad that I speak German, because some things are similar to the German language, like reflexive verbs, and Spanish has quite some of them. Knowing French also helps a lot, even though I sometimes use "le" instead of "el" - confusion in my head. However, being able to speak and understand some Spanish, even if only a little, is quite helpful in a state like California.

Have a great rest of the week, everyone!


Elephant's Child said...

I am LOVING your garden and would love to wander through it, admiring the insects, the blooms and inhaling deeply.

Soma @ said...

Your garden looks amazing, Carola!! A lot of work, and so rewarding.


David M. Gascoigne, said...

Your garden is looking wonderful, Carola, such a riot of colour and diversity, a reflection of humanity in fact, but I suspect we treat flowers with greater tolerance than people of a different hue. You are to be congratulated on learning Spanish; one can never have too many ways to improve relationships between people and language is key to it. Buen día querida amiga, Carola. Recibe un feurte abrazo de tu siempre amigo David.

Valerie-Jael said...

Fabulous flowers, your garden is gorgeous! And love that food! Sorry, short comment, not feeling good today! Hugs, Valerie

Christine said...

Gorgeous petals and yummy pasta such a happy theme this week

Andrea @ From The Sol said...

Oh, your petal garden is magnificent. All perennials I assume, from the ones that you listed. And tomatoes already ... how did you do that? I love your Farfalle with pancetta. It looks delicious and healthy. So have you no shame ... showing the ladybugs in action :0 and a spider voyeur. what a hoot :) I also took French and Spanish years ago. Now I find myself combining the two languages when I try to use them ... like the el verses le :) Been too many years and too little practice I guess. This was a lovely post, Carola ... Happy Spring to you (and I love that you are saving water).

Andrea @ From the Sol

Gretchen Joanna said...

I saw an identical Desert Globe Mallow in the desert two years ago, and thought it very beautiful -- but I never dreamed of planting one here... until now! Did you grow it from seed, or a plant?

The flatweed, as you call it, I had only heard named False Dandelion or Catsear. It is prolific in my neighborhood and I think I've learned to identify it, after first thinking it was a very odd, long-stemmed regular Dandelion. I'm sure there's a lot more of the False than the actual around here. It's prettier, I think, because of the way it waves in the breeze.

Many of my favorites are shining in your garden. I enjoy so much looking in. Thank you!

roentare said...

The floral photos are truly magnificent!

My name is Erika. said...

Your garden looks like it's in full bloom and looks just amazing Carola. You definitely have a green thumb. It's always interesting to me how some years certain plants just don't grow or bloom quite like they do other years. Have a great rest of your week. hugs-Erika

Tom said...

...Carola, thanks for taking me around your colorful garden, it's full of colorful delights! Dinner looks great too!!! Enjoy your weekend.

Lorrie said...

Carola, I very much enjoyed this tour around your garden. What a lovely variety of plants you have, giving colour in every corner. My peonies are beginning to bloom, and the roses. Enjoy your weekend.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

You have a beautiful and certainly very colorful garden, Carola. Thanks for not only the photos but also all the descriptive information. And, you dinner looked as colorful as your flowers, and surely much tastier to enjoy.

Barwitzki said...

Mai und Garten, ja das ist es :-)))
Wundervolle Farbenvielfalt, ein Foto schöner als das andere,
ich könnte mich niemals für eine Lieblingsblume entscheiden,
sind sie nicht alle wunderschön.
Meine Rosen haben bereits Knospen und bald werden sie aufblühen...
gestern habe ich auf dem Markt die ersten Erdbeeren gekauft, eine Stunde entfernt geerntet im Weinbaugebiet... dort wo es am Wärmsten ist in unserer Gegend.
Danke für deine herrlichen Fotos... und viel Spaß beim Sprachenlernen,
ich bin auch dabei :-)))
Herzliche Grüsse zu dir Carola, ich wünsche Euch frohe Pfingsttage.
Hug from Viola

Michelle said...

Wow! I love the look of your garden! I have many things planted and am waiting for seed to sprout.

Lowcarb team member said...

Such beautiful photographs, your garden looks amazing.

All the best Jan

PS Delicious looking food too.

Yvonne said...

I'm over here from David's blog to check you out. You enjoy your garden so much, and I'm glad I came for a visit to enjoy it also. I miss the Desert Mallow from my childhood of growing up in Nevada. It grew on its own in our yard. I see it grows well in your garden also. It's been an enjoyable time reading your post, and the 'winter veggie' dish looks delicious.

Teresa said...

Vengo del blog de David. Me encanta tu blog, me quedo por aquí, tu jardín me gusta. Un abrazo.

Veronica Lee said...

Your garden is gorgeous, Carola.
The photos are stunning.
And your dinner looks amazing.

Hugs and blessings

Tom said...

...Carola, thanks for the tour around your garden. My garden is coming into bloom and I love cutting flowers and making arrangements.