Spring into summer in the native plant garden

White Sage (Saliva apiana) in front of mixed border.

How is your spring going so far? Finished planting? Irrigation ready to go? Beds mulched?

Ha!   I try not to feel too bad when there are still tons of projects I want to do this spring, plants I want to get in the ground (but first a new planting bed must be made….), seeds I want to plant.


But it’s good to take some time to enjoy what is already present, either because projects were completed or because nature has a way of surprising us with delight and marvel, if we let it.

Do you know any “gardeners” who are seem more like “subtracters?” Not content to let any plant just be and grow, they feel the need to prune or remove or kill something every time they visit the garden. Sometimes, if there is not knowledge or proper experience, plants die this way or never bloom or suffer unneeded stress.


Carpenteria californica
Bush Anemone (Carpenteria californica)

I’m not talking about gardeners who manage to keep a tidy, clean garden. Subtracters go the the extreme, almost as if they don’t really like plants. Ah, well. I am glad that plant lovers outnumber these types. And daily, weekly, monthly, I am grateful I am surrounded with plant lovers: as clients, customers, colleagues, family, mentors and friends. In a space that is allowed to be a true garden, there are many more friends & allies than pests or opponents.

I count here all the millions of micro-organisms, birds, butterflies, lizards, toads and other creatures who share the garden with me. I am, in this sense, more of a caretaker.

Mini Garden – Detail

This makes me feel much better about projects not done. “Take care, lest you do harm.” It’s okay to go slow and think of ways to accomplish goals without steam-rolling over the many creatures we share the planet–and our gardens–with.

So, as spring turns into our long summer here in the Southern Sierra and Central Valley, I’ll take a little more time to enjoy the beauty and “medicine” our gardens and our gardening friends give us. Flowers turn into seeds, summer bloomers begin, fall bloomers grow and get ready, and there are months of early mornings when the weather will be fine for finishing projects!


Deer Grass with Sulfur Buckwheat



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