There is a moment every almost-Spring when I become painfully useless at doing anything other than being in the garden. If I’m not in the garden, then I’m probably near a window looking onto it, doing that awkward open-mouthed stare that makes everybody around me wonder how I get myself dressed in the morning (spoiler alert!!! I don’t always because: pajamas). Generally, I am useless at getting much of anything accomplished.
Diagnosis: Garden Brain. (The struggle…oh, the struggle).
Here’s where you expect me to tell you that the only cure for Garden Brain is to ‘get out in the garden!’, or ‘put your hands in the dirt!’, or ‘skip through the flowers singing your own custom, off-key version of The Hills are Alive!’. No, my friends. No. THIS ONLY MAKES IT WORSE. Because the more you work on it, the better the garden becomes, and the more it sucks you in.
I’m so weak. So very, very weak.
(Washi tape and cocktail straw seed tag flags for the win!)
And looky there! Seedlings! More things to cram into nooks and crannies.
I just can’t quit the garden. Especially when there’s peonies blooming:
What the WHAT? In the entire eight years we have lived in this Zone 10B house…I have tried and failed at peonies countless times. But here they are, finally blooming and making me beyond happeeeeeee. The summer heat has always been an issue with peonies here in the past (but I’ve never even gotten them to bloom so this, in itself, is major!), but I’ve got some strategies that I’ll implement this year to combat the imminent plant-fry. So, fingers crossed, my precious peonies will get through the rest of this year. For now, however, I will sit and enjoy this flowery little moment with ‘Julie Rose Itoh’, ‘Buckeye Belle’, and ‘Raspberry Sundae’; they just get me.
The chicken garden is also making me all heart eyes right now. Between the El Niño rains and the endless supply of chicken poop, this little garden is bursting. Especially given the fact that the majority of it is rocks and dirt (because those are the only things that my chickens won’t destroy, and frankly, they move rocks and dirt around without batting a single chicken eyelash). Despite it all, there’s a lot of happy green things happening out there.
The rose jungle, as I like to call it, takes up the majority of the chicken garden. These roses went in the ground a few years before we got chickens (as this was my rose/cutting garden before it was a chicken garden), so by the time the chickens showed up, the bushes were quite established (which always helps a plant survive the ultimate garden pest: poultry). We added some large stones around the base, so that those meddlesome birds can’t dig them up, and then we let those bushes get leggy and tall and jumbled. The chickens keep the lower 18 inches or so of every bush leaf-free, but that just encourages the bushes to grow taller. Which is what we want, as this provides the poultry with a huge expanse of protective covering from aerial predators, as well as a large, shady area to escape the heat during the summer months. But also: roses. Lots and lots of gorgeous roses. That foreground lady is a Julia Child floribunda, and dang she is an impressive bloomer.
The roses also give the chickens a little bit of shelter from the rain. Not that they care, because they’ll stand in the rain all day if I let them.
An ‘Eden’ climbing rose grows over the chicken garden gate, and was so heavy with blooms this year that sometimes it was hard to even get through the gate.
An ‘Eden’ and a ‘Mermaid’ climbing rose on the left, and grapevines on the right merge and create a leafy tunnel over the entryway to the chicken garden. It feels very ‘secret garden’ back there. Look at those darned chickens kicking rocks.
At this point, some of you might notice that we changed out the pathway to, and through, the chicken garden. Unfortunately, with all this rain, our drainage problems in this part of the yard really came to a head–and I had to scrap my beloved scrap wood walkway–it was adorable, but it didn’t allow water to drain properly.
RIP beautiful, quirky scrap wood path.
The gravel isn’t quite as cute, but it is permeable (ehem, drought), and a little bonus is that it camouflages the chicken poop better than the wood did. Silver linings, people.
Back to the rest of the garden…
It’s so funny to me that this used to be a lawn. It’s hard to even picture it now.
Oh, here we go:
When I run out of space in my raised garden beds (which happens a lot), I add miscellaneous containers. They multiply rapidly. Somebody should probably stop me but I’d get really cranky and ain’t nobody got time for that.
One of the best parts of this garden is the way it hums with bees, butterflies, and the occasional dragonfly. I could sit and soak it up for hours. I enjoy a useless garden stupor every once in awhile (ie: every day).
I think we all know that the real point of this post was just an excuse to share current garden photos (another manifestation of Garden Brain).
I’m in the process of drawing up a rendering of my garden ‘plans’, which I get asked for quite a bit, and I hope to share that in the near future. It might help shed light on how ‘unplanned’ my garden actually is. Ha! But for now, I have spent enough time in front of this darned computer… the garden is yelling at me and I must go.