Thursday, March 27, 2008

Playing in the Dirt

Yep....I have spent the day out playing in the dirt. It was such a gorgeous day and the outdoor chores were calling my name. The hollyhocks had taken over the flower bed and were choking out everything else. I left two stalks with flowers on them as the grandchildren would be so disappointed if I had removed all of them. They love to make hollyhock dolls when they come to visit. Does anyone remember making them as children? My grandmother always had beautiful hollyhocks along the garage wall and my sister and I played dolls by the hours. I suppose that is why I grow them to this day. The flower bed looks a little bare without the overgrown hollyhocks.





The roses are about ready to burst. The warm weather that we have had for the last two weeks has really accelerated their first bloom of the year. I try to avoid spraying them as a routine in their care, but there are certain times when they really need it. In June we will generally have what we call our "June Gloom." Being only about seven miles from the beach, we get the ocean influence. As the deserts heat up they spill their heat over and it collides with the cool beach temperatures. This all makes for foggy, cool mornings which tend to make the roses develop mildew. Spraying keeps it somewhat at bay.

While puttering around in the flower bed I spotted a very interesting snail. It is the shell of a decollate snail. Our snails are more rounded while these carry a pointed type of shell. They sell them at the nurseries around us. They are purchased because their diet consists of eating the type of snails that are native to us. I was glad to see this little guy as we have so much damage from snails. Hopefully he (or she) has brought his whole family with him because he has a big job to do here. He also has to have a LARGE appetite to consume a medium sized snail.
I was kept company by a male quail sitting on top of the fence and calling out to his mate. I just love their calls. They nest in our jasmine bank. Their young are so cute when they grow big enough to follow their parents. This is a great time of the year to be watching the birds. The male orioles have also returned and will be followed next week by the females. The males are busy making nests in the banana and palm trees. I often wonder what happens if she returns and finds that his nest is not up to her standards. They, too, have a very distinct call.

Our hills around us have been so green this year with all of the rain that we have had. It would be nice to get a few more showers before we enter into our dry season. It would be unlikely for us to get much after March but we can always hope. After that we will not get any rain until October or November. Meanwhile we will enjoy the hills covered with lupine and wild mustard.
The sunsets have also been beautiful. Since the evenings have been so pleasant we have enjoyed sitting outside and catching up on our days events as we watch the sun get lower on the horizon.
I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend.

22 comments:

Artsy Etc. said...

I don't blame you for playing in the dirt! How pretty your gardens are. I wish I could play along with you.

Suzy said...

Glad to hear that someone else is excited to get out into the flower beds! Thanks for stoppin' over at my blog...and I'll be back!]
Suzy

Dawn said...

Sounds just wonderful! I don't do gardens, but love the fruit of my sweet husband's labors.

The hollyhock doll is wonderful! I do snap dragon "talking" to the kiddoes.

We got a big more snow this morning, but it was really wet and didn't stick - just took it from 70 yesterday to 30 today. Crazy place! But good for the grass and flowers!

palmtreefanatic said...

so beautiful your photos are! It looks so nice and warm there and so peaceful and calming! love it!!!
thank you!

Terry@quilt-nut said...

What lovely Hollyhock dolls. And the land is so beautiful.
To answer your question your comment on my blog. No, I did not have to embroider them. They are preprinted. I will color in the second set of blocks to add more color though. Terry

nancygrayce said...

That flower makes a beautiful doll! I've never seen that before! I was just thinking how badly I need to mow the grass. It is on my list of to do today if nothing else comes up! :)

Annie said...

After reading your post, I feel like I have been "out in the dirt" with you, with those bird sounds and those lovely hollyhock dolls - they are exquisite, and I've never seen them before. I too grow hollyhocks, and will try one myself. Our garden is very dry at the moment from lack of rain. We have just installed a tank to help us through.

Midlife Mom said...

Oh how I long to be out in the dirt digging away in the sunshine! BUT.....it's snowing today so I guess that is out! I did repot a few more inside plants yesterday, does that count???? I didn't realize you live in such a rural setting. I just think LA and all that traffic! We head to Boston tomorrrow to visit R's sister and family. I'm going to go to my nieces riding lesson with her so she is excited about that. They have an adorable pony for sale there too............no..... I won't let it tempt me!

GardenGoose said...

your garden looks so pretty.
thanks for your kind comments, and yes..I too hate going to a nursery and seeing dried up plants. I'm hoping that if I get the job at the garden center that I can be instrumental in making the garden area an exceptional one. It could use some help that is for sure.

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

These pictures are stunning! I would be out playing in the dirt too if I had that beauty to look at! Thank you for sharing the! I needed it here in cold Michigan, lol!
Hugs,
Amy

Mississippi Songbird said...

Great pictures... Have a wonderful weekend...

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

The garden looks great, I love hollyhocks but have never seen them as dolls, I will have to grab some seeds in town tomorrow, it is the perfect time to plant here i would imagine and my girl will love that in the Spring, Tracey

Valerie said...

I love playing in the dirt. I just love that doll from the flower. I have never saw that. Thanks for sharing.

Barbara said...

Your garden is lovely even without the hollyhocks, as are the hills around you. The wild mustard looks stunning. What kind of mustard is tht I wonder, so unlike the mustard tree. You obviously live in a very pretty place.

Alice Grace said...

What a lovely place you live in! I relate to the hollyhocks. It was one of my Mom's favorites, and she had beds of them. I have acquired some seed from a friend, and they were beautiful last summer. I thought of them today, and hope to have more come up this spring.
Thanks for your encouraging words on my quilting. I love your blog, it is one of my favorites!

Susie said...

Looks like you had fun playing! Love the hollyhock dolly..
Interesting info on the decollate snail. I think I need some here.
Your sunset is breathtaking. How lucky you are to be only 7 miles from the coast!!
xo

G'G'ma said...

Beautiful pictures. I worked in the yard Friday. The hyacinth plants were under leaves and had grown to 4 inches and were bright yellow. By the end of the week the sun should have gotten the leaves green. Our Baltimore Orioles arrive the first of May..give or take 2 days early or late. Good Friday we had 10 in. of snow. Have fun playing in the soil!!

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

OOh, guess what absolutely gorgeous piece of mail i just wandered up the lane with!!! I hardly had to check to know it was from you, gorgeous!!!!!
Will probably put a pic up tomorrow, the calls cleaning so the men can have a meeting in my house tonight are taking precedence.LOL and thanks again, Tracey

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

That was the "cleaning calls" -but your probably figured that out! Tracey

Kelli said...

Beautiful pictures! I LOVE your hollyhock doll! I've always wanted to make some and have plans to plan some hollyhocks this year.
Hugs,
Kelli

harts4Him said...

what beautiful landscape you have!

Hugs!

AJ said...

You are a talented photographer, I really enjoy all of your photos.