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Without warning, our lovely spring weather has succumbed to summer scorch. Valley heat scares the un-acclimated. We natives deal, though. You garden in the cool mornings and early evenings. During midday? Well, you stay inside in a preferably air-conditioned building or seek deep shade outside. Don’t go jogging. Don’t do roofing or lay asphalt.

Every morning I have the same ritual. I get up, go downstairs and pee my dogs in the backyard. While they’re doing their business, I walk the yard. It’s cool, birdsong arrives on cue, and the light is soft. In fact, my backyard is mostly in shade in the mornings because it faces south and west.

The front of my house gets most of the morning sun, but except for retrieving the paper in whatever god-awful ensemble I deemed “pajamas” the night before, I tend not to hang out there in the mornings. Not private enough, and you don’t really want to bump into me before I’m holding a cup of fresh-brewed coffee. Not because I’m unpleasant. I’m just a little bit mute. Clouded. Whatever they put in coffee… it brings clarity and after a few minutes I am awash with this overwhelming sense of… civility.

Here’s what caught my eye this morning, pre-coffee.


‘Munstead’ lavender and ‘Moonbeam’ coreopsis


Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum) and Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’


Yellow zucchini squash


‘Celebrity’


‘Black’ (heirloom)


‘Costoluto Genovese’ (Italian heirloom)


‘Costoluto Genovese’ (foreground) and ‘Early Girl’ (background)


‘Black from Tula’ (foreground) and ‘Copia’ (background)


Peace stake in purple eggplant


Tri-color beans climbing bamboo teepee


Immediately after peeing, lie down and sun yourself before coming inside for breakfast. Yeah, it’s a dog’s life around here…”


This is my “sunny Mediterranean” bed, where I grow all the really fun stuff like lavender, phormium, echium, verbena bonariensis, a hot-pink flowering sedum, etc.



Props to Costco for their affordable teak furniture and to Smith & Hawken for their portable firepit that doubles as a grill.


Succulents planted in a rusted metal bowl


Ornamental millet, angelonia, celosia and heuchera in a green ceramic pot


My garden has an inconvenient truth.


Lilium


‘Medallion’ roses and an old watering can


Hanging tomatoes (‘Sun Sugar’) and strawberries


Delphinium… also hanging because it’s the only way to save it from certain snail death.

Weed disclaimer: You will see some…times-a-lot-of weeds in my flower and vegetable beds. That is because I am lazy, just like the late, great garden writer Henry Mitchell, who confessed–

“Fortunately, I am myself as lazy a man as ever lived and you are in no danger whatever of reading here that you should stand on your head and bow thrice before planting basil in the full moon’s paralactical ecliptical balderdash the third hour after the fifth rain in March.”

You da man, Henry.

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