First Views of November - Country Mouse: From the Upper Deck

In our part of this hemisphere, not a lot of change between October and November. Though lots and lots of little seedlings popping up since the recent rains. Ms Town Mouse is taking a month off due to lack of much changing in her garden since last post. I'll provide the Mr Linky thing at the bottom of this post for anyone else who would like to join in this month.

Our house is built like a lighthouse. It has six sides, and two storeys, with the living room and kitchen on top, and a wraparound deck, which Mr Rat recently rebuilt. Just after sunrise, I took snaps from the upper deck, all around the property for this month's First Views set - all around the house. I think it will give you an idea about how the different parts of the garden I might write about in other posts all connect.

Looking down on the path to the front door - my dad's car in its parking spot. 97 this month - he doesn't drive but likes to keep his car. for me to drive him!

Moving clockwise, and towards the south east, in the center you see the chaparral stone steps I built some years ago, and the road below, which cuts through our property. Bee's Bliss salvia (lower right) has been growing there for at least five years. I whack it back every year or two and otherwise ignore it - that's what this salvia likes, apparently.

Looking to the right, the deck by the front door, and the chaparral slope with edging marking the flat "south garden."

I walked to the next point of the six sided deck to show "experimental bed #1" - now all trimmed back and annuals pulled. I left a bit of scrim there at the east (bottom) so I can sit behind it on the ground and watch the birds in the birdbath. Next year will be year 3 of the experiment - What is the experiment? Local natives from locally gathered seeds: how do they behave in a garden setting?

More of the south garden. That's a flat of eriogonum nudum long overdue planting, near the bird bath. The palm trees and building in the upper center are on the neighbor's property - the fence line is right behind our elderberries. The succulent bed that's partly under the deck is looking great - I trimmed back the grasses (left a couple only with their spent flower stalks) and removed the dead lupine and dead bee's bliss salvia - Planted three recently and none doing well. Don't know why.

You could see the greenhouse and patio in the prior photo - here's the continuation of them, and view into the pool garden. I still have to cut back the back fence plants - verbena lilacena and coyote mint long gone now.

Pool garden, looking back at the greenhouse and south garden. The small shade / wetland area is just to the right of the greenhouse.

I've done some cleanup in that far corner, and I'm just snipping off the calla lily shoots when they appear. I hate doing it but I hate the callas spreading more. Behind the black wire fence is the "north garden" - a sloping narrow gulch of a valley that extends on beyond our property to another road below the next property down. It's a wild and weedy area right now.

Swivelling farther to the right to see the bedroom deck and steps up to the big deck there - Mr Rat  built a new garage to protect his truck from his namesake critters, and so we now have a gynormous deck over the two garage roofs. Pool shed, decks, stairs - all built by Mr Rat.

The new garage has created a little nook behind it, used (or abused) for storage right now. The white things are bamboo fencing segments - I'm going to cover up the black wire fencing along the pool garden with bamboo. It was way more expensive to buy than I had anticipated. I'm thinking that, if we can get a tool storage area somewhere else, this can be a nice little quiet sitting area, maybe. You can walk around it to the right there, to the wildlife garden area.

The new gynormous deck. It's watertight and due to other priorities that's the way it's going to stay till spring, when Mr Rat will put in the wooden deck and railings around. We're thinking of having a raised container veg garden back here. That's my dad's cottage above Duncan. 

I did a good bit of cleanup in the terraces below the garage/parking area, what I call the "wildlife garden." It's where I have a lot of ribes and other shrubby things - Needs more work. The composter location is temporary. Behind the cottage nestles the wood storage pile, and other storage. we really don't have a lot of flat areas for utility stuff like this, except down the hill in the corral. The little white rectangle in the upper left is the door to the tack room/stable building. Behind that is the corral, currently filled with two huge burn piles. We're thinking of tearing down that building, which was a jazzed up old shed, and converting the area to potting shed/shade house and growing areas etc. Depends how much growing I do. You can also see the "redwood grove" behind the oaks behind the cottage - and extending down the north valley also.

Looking into the sunrise (and dust on my lens) we see Dad's front beds. I've started to cut back the old rosemary bushes. I plan to take out all that old shrubbery and start afresh. I have a date with a neighbor to go to Gold Rush nursery in a week or two so I better get cracking! The shades are permanently there - this side of the cottage gets hot afternoon sun. We really need to add an awning or a patio cover or something here.

And here we are back to the first photo point, looking north or north east. Edge of new garage showing on the left. This time looking over our cracked driveway towards Dad's cottage and to the right, the driveway down to the road. (It looks especially cracked after a rain, when the cracked areas stay wet and dark longer!) 

Thanks for taking a stroll around our home and its gardens. I'm a slow-evolver of garden spaces I think, and enjoy the unfolding of things that way. We have quite a way to go, I know, but that's what gardening is all about. We also have wilder and weedier areas to restore, but more of those in other posts.

Ms Town Mouse originated and maintains the First Views meme, posts published on or around the first of the month that feature wide-angle views of a garden. It's a chance to take stock, to assess the aesthetics, to think about tasks and the month ahead. And it provides a record for us to see how our garden changes over the course of the year. Ms Town is not posting to the meme this month so I'm providing the Mr Linky gadget below -- Feel free to join in!


We have 2 rather less aesthetic blinds. On the west-facing kitchen window, once we realised that wall gets HOT, too hot to touch. And another across the open west side of the back verandah, which lets us draw in some cooler air. But only needed in summer.
Jason said…
Thanks for the tour. Sounds like you have a very cool house.
Country Mouse said…
Yes, being on a sunny ridge has disadvantages -- we had not thought about this when Rat built that cottage. It takes two air conditioners to keep my dad comfortable in warm weather. Our house on the other hand is literally quite cool most of the time. It is not a fancy home, more like a barn, post and beam, built by the original owners from a kit - you see others like it around our general area. I forgot to mention that the mostl light-housey feature is the six sided cupola that just calls for a proper Fresnel lens! Thanks for coming by!
I love seeing both your gardens and that was a great tour...I have become a slower evolver in my garden as I need to redo and reclaim some areas from weeds and add more natives. I like your experimental beds.