Welcome to Our California Drought Garden

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This year, there won’t be a vegetable garden at my home.  I won’t be planting any flowers or shrubs because the extreme California drought is still here.

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The name of the game is saving water.  Like many of my friends who garden, I have agreed to limit the number of plants around my home.  Mister Jack planted a tomato plant.  I have a garden box of onions and garlic.  That’s it!

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Sure, I’m very disappointed, but there is nothing I can do.  I can only admire what I have, and they’d better be bulletproof. 

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I miss digging, weeding and planting, but I’m beyond throwing tantrums and pouting.  You can plant in pots, but when the valley heat hits as high as 115 degrees in the summer, you are stuck watering potted plants each day.  That’s how fast the soil evaporates.  If you want your freedom, it is best to plant directly into the ground.   

Spring is the best time for colorful growth, so I don’t want to miss a thing.  In the morning and in the evening, I stand in my front or backyard and take in the view.  The drought is just a test to see which plants can survive on weekly watering.  I was ready to lose a few roses, but they are still blooming.  After all, I see them as weeds with thorns.  They grow and somehow survive where they are planted.

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While waiting for this drought to end, I’m planning a front yard with more drought-tolerant plants.  At the same time, I also want plants that will attract hummingbirds and beneficial insects.  We have turned our front yard into a bird sanctuary by constantly keeping clean water in the birdbath.  And stocking our bird and hummingbird feeders.  Watching the birds has become our entertainment.  This practice will continue long after the drought is over.         

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For me, there will always be room for another rose.

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7 comments

  1. marlenebertrand · April 10, 2014

    Roses are so pretty. It’s hard to believe they can be thought of as “weeds with thorns”. But, someone else had said the same thing to me once before now. It’s a good thing roses are as sturdy as they are or my roses would be ugly for the little attention I give them. It’s so sad about the drought. Just as I was getting the hang of gardening, the drought happened. And, even though I boast of living on well water and how I’m not limited by government sanctions, I know wells can run dry. So, I still need to be concerned about the drought. I think our roses and succulents will do fine, Arlene. I do have a full vegetable garden planned for this year, however, this year’s garden is much smaller than last year. If my tomatoes, lettuce, and onions do well, then I’ll feel satisfied. I have a lot of peppers and herbs planned for this year, but if they don’t do well, then I’ll just have to settle with salt and store-bought ground pepper. Oh well, I’ll be OK.

    • Arlene Poma · April 10, 2014

      Marlene, a lot of people won’t have roses because they find them intimidating. If you think of them as weeds, you will find that they like to be pruned. They aren’t that hard to grow, and they will grow back if you hacked too much off. Very forgiving. As long as you have 4-6 hours daily sunshine, water and fertilizer, they will do just fine. I started with hybrid tea roses from Jackson and Perkins because I thought that was it. Hybrid teas are picky. I’ve gone to old roses. I have learned to propagate roses from stock dating back to the Gold Rush. They are bulletproof. Some can thrive in the shade. Hybrid teas that are grafted throw suckers. I find that irritating because suckers do not produce blooms. They need to be removed. Along with the drought, I can’t garden this year due to doctor’s orders. They do not want me digging soil because of the microbes and whatever. Believe me. I’m not too proud to beg whenever I see one of my doctors. But they have stuck with their decision. I have to wait for their okay to play in the dirt. I’m glad you are growing things this year. All I can do is water.

  2. forestmtnhike · April 10, 2014

    Arlene, I think it’s great of you to stay away from planting this summer due to the drought. I wish I could do that but I have to get the vegetable garden planted in- drought or rain. I’m glad, however, that you have a flower garden to enjoy anyway this summer. The flowers in your pictures are very beautiful.

    • Arlene Poma · April 10, 2014

      Rose, I enjoyed your April 7 post with the little bouquet of roses. So pretty! I will return to digging in my garden after my recovery. I need the doctors’ okay to do that, but I will have to wear a mask and gloves whenever I work in my garden. I don’t know how I’ll do that in the valley heat, but I do miss gardening. Please keep me posted on your garden. Your property is rural Paradise.

  3. marlenebertrand · April 10, 2014

    Arlene, I can see your doctor’s point of view. It’s wise to stay on the course to recovery. It’s a good thing there is a drought, otherwise, I can imagine you wanting to be out in the garden clipping, digging, and planting like it was just another day. Relax and stay well, my friend.

  4. ChgoJohn · April 14, 2014

    As difficult a decision it was to make, going without planting a garden or new plants is the way to go, Arlene. The reports I’ve read of the drought in your area pretty much charted this path for you … well, if you’re going to be responsible. Choosing to go with more drought resistant plants in your front garden sounds like the smart thing to do.

    • Arlene Poma · April 14, 2014

      John, I went through the 1977 drought, so since then, I don’t waste water. Some people never learn when times get tough. Instead of making some wise decisions and facing problems, they continue to waste. I don’t. I have my values, and I stick to them. The thing is, utilities only go up. I am on a meter. When there’s drought, then the utilities company can jack up prices because they are finding ways to save money for the next drought. Yep! Who knows what these people really do with their money? Anyway, I love my roses. Because of the drought, I was willing to let them die. Then I would design my garden with hardscaping. Built a simple patio with brick or cement. Now I’ve learned that my roses still thrive with just a buck or two of water once a week. I am very good at making sacrifices. So now I sit in my garden and enjoy my roses. And I will buy produce from local farmers. I don’t whine about anything. I simply make other plans because it is what it is. Thank you for your suggestions on pasta machines. Still doing research, but when I get one, I will be able to follow along with your recipes. Many, many thanks.

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