The Spring Flush That Isn't (Again)

ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9April 15, 2014

After some late rains at the beginning of April I had the hope that this spring might be fairly good, but alas that won't be the case. It was just too little and in spite of plenty of hand watering the ground after one day is just so much dry dirt. I've tried hard to keep everything mulched but even the mulch seems to disappear into nowhere after a short time. The hot, dry winds lately haven't helped. I'm afraid we'll have to depend on the rainy areas further north and then hopefully further east (after you've dug yourself out of the snowdrifts) for most of the eye candy. There's been talk of a wet winter late this year but right now that seems far away. There are buds and flowers, of course, but not that cornucopia of plenty of past years before the drought began to set in. I'll water as much as I can and have food and water for the wildlife so they don't decimate the garden. Other than the gophers it seems to work and the bunnies and squirrels and even the roadrunners have become friends of a sort. They've become the "outdoor pets" and I feel it's my responsibility to pull Sammie, Braveheart, Bravebunny, Tripod and the Meep family and all the others through the harshness of summer. They have so far repaid me by not eating the garden, although it's a harsh fact that the predators keep their numbers down. Tripod the bunny amazes me in that he's lasted here with only three legs through at least three years, and we admire his cleverness.

Sorry that I got off topic since I know offense has been taken in the past about my feeding wild animals. They're such an integral part of the landscape and contribute so much to the enjoyment of our surroundings that I felt the need to mention them. The three feral cats that live in the area also get their share even though I know they threaten all the other animals. I can't bear to see them hungry and thirsty just because some cruel and ignorant human beings have left them to this miserable fate.


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Keep your chin up, Ingrid. I know these are painful times for you and a lot of gardeners.
We passionately hate deer here, late arrivals in our countryside and horribly destructive to trees. But a benevolent attitude toward nearly anything living is worthy of respect. I hope you enjoy your wildlife as you continue to take care of it.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:44AM
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Ingrid, no glowering from this corner. I put squirrel, raccoon, bird, stray animal water out during the hottest period of last summer and just sighed when my neighbor's thirsty rats...yes, rats...came to drink, too. I know. Bubonic plague and all that sort of thing. They're actually quite dainty little creatures...all 2000 of them hiding under my neighbor's house. Carol

This post was edited by PortlandMysteryRose on Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 2:36

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:35AM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Ingrid, your compassion and caring for all living creatures is something you should be proud of!
I love your bunnies' names. I used to have free range bunnies until I realized trying to garden and have bunnies were incompatible...(I'm a slow learner). Now I just have one, "Bear" a Netherland dwarf.
Hang in there. You will get some blooms.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 7:45AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

I'm sorry Ingrid. The spring photos that you posted were really lovely. You had that beautiful time and and shared it with us. I believe that if it was too easy we wouldn't care as much about our gardens. Thank you for your kind heart in regards to the animals.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:51AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

I mean to add that I heard they are predicting an El Nino year for California next year.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:56AM
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I love that you take care the little beasts.

Mendocino_Rose's perspective is interesting and I agree with her.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 9:17AM
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The roses you've posted have been lovely, by the way. I neglected to mention them in my response even though I carry their beauty with me. I wish I could send you some of the flood water we received this spring. Carol

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:38PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

Melissa, I'm completely with you in regard to the deer. They would completely destroy my garden in no time and our hilly terrain is impossible to fence.

Carol, I hope you weren't even remotely serious about the number of rats your neighbor has. If they're roof rats and not the horrible Norway ones then they are cute. One of them astonished me by actually running toward me for food until he was only about four feet from me. I think all the animals here have figured out what suckers we are, day and night buffets 7 days a week and all you can drink. Only the lobster tails are missing!


    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:04PM
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I hope there aren't really 2000, too! I'm not a rat ID expert, but I fear they are Norway. Anyway, rats aside, I spent the lunar eclipse with an adorable raccoon. And I saw my first hummingbird today. If you get a chance to photograph a roadrunner, I'd love to see it! Carol

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 1:28AM
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Ingrid- I'm sorry you don't have more roses, but I the ones you do have are beautiful :)

As for the wildlife...I'm glad you're looking after them. To me, they're as much a part of the garden as the plants. That includes the deer, too...but I don't have the problems some of you do. I've just gotten very good at finding deer resistant plants and hiding the rest behind them.

Although I will be putting a fence up around the veggie garden, it will only be 4' tall. The deer can still get in, just not munch through from one side to the other...and with the fence on one side and herbs on the other, even the raspberries should be more protected.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 1:47PM
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I feel for you. Here in TX, we are in major drought and have been for several years. Since rainfall is so scarce and many streams and rivers are running dry, we put out water for the birds and other wild creatures all year.

Many of the roses have succumbed to the drought, but the remaining ones (mostly antiques and quite a few Austins) are doing quite well and we are having a decent spring flush.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:10PM
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There is a sweet ground dove who built her nest in one of my pots of epies. This was a gift from a neighbor and I'm going to have to ask for a new cutting since I can't water the one the dove is raising her family in. I think she chose it because it was under the eaves high up. Maybe I can show him the bird on the nest and he will give me another one. Maybe the leaf has enough reserves in it to live through it.

I got just enough rain to bring on rust to short HTs and not really enough to soak the soil so my flush is so-so but some plants that are tall like peach silk are doing very well. I'm just giving this year a pass

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 3:40PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

kitty, what a neat thing to happen; I always feel honored when a bird chooses a nest in my garden. I hope your epi can live through its ordeal. It's funny, I have the same situation in regard to the rain; I just noticed rust on one of my La France. I really hate rust!

Carol, here are pictures of the roadrunners that you requested. They're such comical birds. Sometimes I can hear a cracking noise outside and will see it's one of the roadrunners breaking open a snail on the concrete. They often make a big mess in the garden and on the pathways when they're digging for snails and slugs.

Mr. Meep Meep (males have the facial markings)

A sunbath is a good thing

I'm really rather gorgeous!

Nice wheels!

Just moving right along

When it rains I look for snails and slugs (ignore the hairdo!)


    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 1:10AM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens, Greece)

Ingrid I wish I had such funny looking 'walking' birds in my garden. Instead the 'walking' birds I have are Collared Doves (Streptopelia decaocto) which have a very annoying voice and screech before they land and make a big mess. I kind of hate them but I leave them in peace. I can't say the same about my golden retriever Irma (about leaving them in peace that is..).

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 1:50AM
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Ingrid, I LOVE the photos! Thank you. The captions are hilarious. I wish road runners inhabited this part of the country. What's a little mess in exchange for so much delight? Your bird buddies are very nearly as much fun as your roses! Carol

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 2:12AM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

Nik and Carol, I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. The garden wouldn't be the same without them (although it would be tidier). They have a routine every night where they walk along the path to the pepper tree in the back yard which is their sleep platform, snagging the odd snail and caterpillar along the way. If we're on the path we respectfully step aside to allow them a stress-free commute home.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:06PM
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Marvelous photos of New Mexico's state bird! Kind of makes me homesick . . .

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:19PM
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ffff(Calif. 9)

After varmints (a legion of squirrels mostly, joined by the occasional possum, raccoon or rat) started eating flowers off of Gloire de Dijon, Don Juan, and most of my centifolias, then added insult to injury by eating the hips off some of my breeding stock (Iceberg hips are apparently especially delicious), I bought an owl decoy. It's solar powered, and its head rotates ala The Exorcist. The squirrels still give me a little trouble, but mostly they find it too disconcerting to stick around.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 12:36PM
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