Tag Archives: sweet peas

Water, watercress, and catsear.

Dandelions and false dandelions – Over the last couple of years the false kind, or catsear, Hypochaeris radicata L., has flourished in dead or dying lawns in our town. Many people have let their lawns go, because of the drought, and there’s no recovering them now just because the winter was wet.

The catsear is prettier, I think, because the flowers are on long stems that wave in the breeze. I had them before my re-landscaping project began, and several of my neighbors still have them in abundance; here I am showing Ray’s place, as good as it ever looks, because he never does anything but mow once or twice a year….

And below, Vera’s front yard. Unlike Ray, Vera likes to garden, and she gave me my aloe saponaria start many years ago.

I never see real dandelions anymore. They must need more water, and the recent conditions are letting the catsear dominate.

I walk by this rose bush several times a week. It’s not cared for, and looks generally bad, but on this particular morning there was one rare perfect bloom proudly standing out from the mess.

The most interesting thing I’ve seen in a long time on my walks was two Asian women down at the creek gathering watercress.

And the prettiest thing was bees on Russian sage. I can’t resist trying to photograph one more bee on one more flower, especially if it is a pairing of insect and flower that I haven’t captured before. I was so happy on my walk this morning, I didn’t want it to end, so I changed my route to add a few more blocks, and that’s how I happened to see these bees.


Back in my own garden, more plants are blooming. Kim gave me hollyhock seeds three years ago, and I planted them in my new greenhouse last fall and transplanted them to a spot that I think must be too shady, because the plants are diminutive – but the first bloom is out!



When designing my backyard garden, we deliberately planted the salvia near the dodonea, to get this color contrast. It’s working right now!

Above: fig tree, mock orange, and sea holly.

I have two kinds of lamb’s ears: the old ones that were propagated from my old garden, and which are all sending up long flower spikes right now.

…and new ones bought at a nursery, which have broad leaves, more green, and may not flower much. Lots of people have told me that their lamb’s ears don’t. But one of them is sneaking out a flower, only to send it on to the sidewalk to risk a trampling.

June has brought warmer temperatures, and I hope to spend more time in the garden again. Yesterday my dear godmother came over and we did sit eating our ice cream where we could hear the bees humming and the see the goldfinches at the feeder.

And we could smell the sweet peas! I ended up picking four bouquets of them yesterday, including one to send home with her. I also had to trim back some of the stems to keep them from squishing the pole beans. So this may be the peak of the bloom. There’s not much room for me to grow anything else just yet, because it’s the Year of the Sweet Peas!

Sweet and messy every time.



Eight years ago I introduced my blog with a photo of sweet peas from my garden. I’m growing those aromatic favorites again this year. I took the photo below right after I had cut almost all of the flowers I could reach for a bouquet. At this point the only other things in the vegetable beds are a few¬† basil plants, but pole beans are going in, any minute now.

Back in 2009, I didn’t own an olive tree. Now I have two, and they are blooming right now.

I also didn’t have a feijoa (which Jo reminded me is another name for pineapple guava) until my recent re-landscaping. My big bush is blooming much more than during its first spring here. I think it only had one flower last year.

If the fruit tastes as fancy as those blooms look, we are in for a treat!

Disorderly and Beloved Garden


This morning Mr. Glad and I sat eating our Power Pancakes together, looking out the window at a fat robin who was hopping and flying around the garden.

Patty’s Plum poppy












I could see that there are enough sweet peas to make bouquets for eight neighbors, if I would pick them. The seed beds where I planted hyssop and fennel early in the week need sprinkling.

And the south side of the yard is a jungle! For most of our sojourn here it has been a nuisance getting water to that area, because of having only one faucet and the difficulty of dragging a heavy hose to and fro without smashing plants.

campanula and rhododendron

Last fall we installed automatic irrigation, and the plants that had learned to do with intermittent drought are loving the new normal and are having the time of their lives.

Today I will go out and pull up the lamb’s ears that have grown into the path, and trim back the valerian flowers from the same path. I don’t want to touch the campanula yet, as it’s in its glory.

yellow helianthemum w pincushion

The yellow helianthemum that grows now in the middle of the pincushion flowers, well, it has surprised me by blooming for a few weeks so far.


That makes four helianthema (doesn’t it make sense to call the plural that?) in our garden, yellow, red, pink, and orange. None of the others bloomed as long as this yellow one, but next time they show their flowers I’ll take pictures so that I can write one blog post about the lot of them.


I picked one giant bouquet of the sweet peas for my next-door neighbor. She said that she has been noticing them coming over the fence, and that she and her granddaughter have been drying flowers to make greeting cards. I could see the gleam in her eye as she contemplated all the pretty flowers in that bunch.

As for me, I’m not being at all crafty these days, unless you count the neverending creating of order and space indoors and out. Lots of out-of-the-ordinary things are coming up for the two of us in the next few months, and taking some amount of time and mental effort in preparation. It all makes me treasure today, when I can be home and pull some ordinary weeds.