May In the Garden — a joy even during drought

Flowering Crabapple with bumblebee
The tiny rain freshened the leaves. The garden is green now but summer will be a different matter with only 12.5 inches of annual rainfall unless we get some lucky late rains.
Even a Sprinkle Is Welcome During Drought!

A few days after my last garden blog post, we received a tiny bit of rain: about a tenth of an inch. Even such a small amount was welcome to ease the drought we are facing here. The garden is still green–as is the norm for spring–but with only about 12.5 inches of rainfall this year, it will likely dry up to crackly brown before long unless we get any unusual late rains. (Hoping!)

I know! I was hoping for more rainfall too!

Before the forecasted rain, we shored up our rainwater collection barrels. According to this site, you can expect about “600 gallons of water for every 1,000 square feet of roof area for every inch of rain”. My opinion is that rainwater collection is the most useful in climates that receive some rainfall throughout the year. However, with our severe drought, I’m for saving anything possible. Our metal roof seems to yield a small amount of dew as well. This drought inspired us to get some larger rainwater harvesting containers for future years.

I’m getting good at saving all sink water in buckets and using on landscaping plants, and minimizing water use in every way. We’ve put everything in the garden on drip irrigation.

Drip irrigation exceeds 90 percent efficiency, whereas sprinkler systems and hand watering are 50 to 70 percent efficient.

http://sonomamg.ucanr.edu/Drip_Irrigation/
The white wisteria is in bloom and smells oh so good! I wish I could tuck my head in the blooms like the bumblebees!
The May Garden

I had to give myself a week off of the blog because I’ve been so busy in the garden that I couldn’t keep up. But, I’m guessing all of us gardeners are in the same situation. It seems like the Twitter gardeners are less active now that spring is in full fever, so I expect I’m not the only one too busy in the garden to find time at the computer to post about it!

Seasonal garden veggie rotation / garden planning journal | Yeah, I often can’t read my writing either!

I’ve been outdoors so much that my gardeners tan is coming on quickly in its crazy-quilt design–according to whatever garden clothes I’ve worn.

The weather was warm this week and veggie seedlings just got planted out. In addition to my other garden journals, I keep a basic seasonal garden planning clipboard for where to plant which vegetable. See photo left. On it are our raised beds and a list of veggies that we often grow and how much–to remind me what to try to fit in. I keep the sheets from the seasons before so I can check back and rotate crops accordingly. If there is a multi-season crop growing, I make a note like “garlic ∆ lettuce” — which reads for me as “garlic changing to lettuce (after garlic is harvested)”. I also keep a printout of companion plants in the clipboard, to help give me interplanting ideas.

If I lived in a climate with year-round rainfall, great soil and no gophers, I’d probably grow a lot more veggies and share with as many people as possible. But everything here must be grown in gopher-protected raised beds and using well water during our dry summer climate. Happily, we do get some garden over-abundance at times, and it gives me joy to put out extras with a FREE sign to neighbors and passersby when that happens.

The May flowers are adorning the garden and the pipevine butterflies continue to be out in more numbers than we’ve ever seen, and some of the eggs have hatched into eensy caterpillars. Here’s the photo gallery for the May garden. Hope all of you are well and finding some joy in your gardens or nature spot or whatever brings you peace and happiness. Warmly, lisa

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies seem to love the wild radish as a nectar plant! Sorry for fuzzy photo–they almost never hold still!
This one is for you Amelia! I love seeing your cute bumblebees in France.

Saunter through more of the garden (blog posts) here!

More about Pipevine swallowtails? See here.

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4 thoughts on “May In the Garden — a joy even during drought

  1. Thank you for the photos of your bumble bees! Ours like the Wisteria too. Your garden must smell divine with all that blossom around. You do so well with such a low annual rainfall but you make more efforts with the irrigation than I do (note- must do better). We have just had some rain! Not a lot but enough for the moment. Amelia

    1. I’m so glad you got some rain Amelia! Hope we both get more! Glad you like the bumblebee photos. 🥰 I just saw your blog post today and love it! I think I have one of those roses too, but wasn’t sure about the name. Yours looks wonderful! Your frog is SO cute. I could swear he’s put on weight since the last photo. Must be happy there! Adorable pic of him on the watering can. ❤️ It’s so fun to get to virtually visit other gardens, like yours! If anyone reading this is curious, check out Amelia’s blog too at:
      https://afrenchgarden.wordpress.com/2021/05/07/plants-and-places/

  2. I love your photos Lisa, they are magical! The bumblebees tucking into all that yummy nectar/pollen and your gorgeous cat are among my favourites. That Chinese fringe tree looks interesting too, I’ve never heard of it. I must say my experiment with Azaleas failed due to the very thing occupying your mind – drought, or in my case just very dry conditions under overhanging mature trees. You’re doing well with the rain collection efforts, here in Belgium our water barrel also ran dry but since then we’ve had some welcome rain, quite a relief.

    1. Thx Sel! Ha—yes, the azalea was planted in winter before it was clear about the drought. I hope it won’t be it’s first and only year here! We’ll have to see what survives this year. Luckily, most of the garden is well-established, so I’m hoping the trees and shrubs have deep enough roots to hang in there. So glad you got some much needed rain for your area! I’ll relay your compliment to Puffball Kitty. She’s a sweetheart who was a stray and sort of forced us to adopt her. So glad she did. I’ve never had a nicer housemate! We call her Puffball because in the winter, her coat gets SO full and fuzzy. Our vet asked us if our daughter named it. I blushed and said no, I’m afraid it was just my inner child who did. Love your blog Sel!

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