July First Views (Town Mouse)

In July the garden slows down, takes a rest from the explosion of color. Many of the California native plants start going summer dormant, especially after a dry winter like the last. But I'm enjoying the combination of muted colors, smells, and textures that the summer garden offers. Above, Salvia apiana (white sage) on the left and Lessingia in the front harmonize in grey tones with Salvia leucophilla (purple sage), just off the frame. The gray usually means that the plant's leaves have a lot of little hairs to protect it from the sun.

And a few non-natives fill in the spaces as the garden goes to sleep. The stars of the first picture are the pink bell-shaped flower of Cotyledon, a South African succulent that I divide every year and that is demonstrating what exponential growth is all about.

Meanwhile, the grasses are almost ready to be cut, and the buckwheats are starting to bloom. Above, to the left of the chair, the locally native Eriogonum fasciculatum is adding a welcome wash of color and attracting butterflies and other pollinators.

In the back garden, Asclepias speciosa has come and gone without a spot in a first views picture, but I'm happy to show off Heliantus Annuus (Delta sunflower), a California native sunflower. Quite drought tolerant, it really lights up the garden. Will I get seeds? I want to plant a few more next year!

Here's the sunflower from the other side, photographed toward the seating area in the back. The bright yellowish coler in the background comes from the leaves of thimbleberry, a gift from Ms. Country Mouse, which, being timid, I'm growing in a pot.

The side view is quite spectacular, with Cotyledon in the front, Eriogonum arborescens behind that, and Eriogonum grande rubescens behind that (then some more Cotyledon). I enjoy the play of color and texture, and I'm happy these plants get by without water because I have no irrigation in that area.

Across, near the large fountain, Achillea millefolium 'Paprika' (yarrow) is putting on a fine show (and bringing more butterflies) while the monkey flowers in front are past their prime. 

I took this month's photos early in the morning, before the sun had started to peak through the fog, and was happy to get a final photo with the first rays, showing the birdbath, the bridge, and the leaves of Zauschneria (California fuchsia) in front. Next month, I'm expecting lots of fuchsia and buckwheat in bloom - meanwhile, I'm enjoying the harvest of plums, peaches, and nectarines - more about that in another post.

If you'd like to share your own first views - it's an interesting challenge, really, and a good way to keep track of what's going on in the garden - post your own views and add your name to the widget below. We'll be sure to visit.


Your garden is so beautiful. I don't think I'd be up to the challenge of gardening in such a dry place but yours is lovely. I love how the soft grays, pinks and whites look (and I also like the punctuation of the sunflower!) I like the idea of growing buckwheat for its flowers and for the pollinators. I have grown it in a veggie garden but, so far, have never had it in my flower garden. I might do that soon!
Country Mouse said…
It's wonderful to visit your beautiful garden after surveying the wilds of my own! You'll have to come up for dinner and advice - help me at least with Hummingbird Hill!
I love the muted colors which blend so nicely and make one feel it is time to rest...very peaceful...the sunflower was a fun surprise.
That Cotyledon is beautiful...makes a wonderful statement. And that sunflower is so bright and sunny. I keep meaning to grow sunflowers and forget. I will need to write it down for next year.