Instructions for the House Sitter

I'm planning several trips these summer, but I'm lucky to have Mr. Mouse or a house sitter here at all times. A lot of my garden is on Techline drip, and the front garden can get by for a few weeks without watering. But the pots, both inside the house and outside, need a little attention periodically.

1. In the house:
  • Water upstairs twice a week, 2 small watering cans full. 
  • Water downstairs twice a week, 2-3 small watering cans full, or use the large green watering can maybe 1/2 full. 
2. Outside:

2.1 The succulents in the terracotta pots need water once every week at the most. They are tough, and prefer to be dry.  Consider adding some water to the hanging birdbath when you're there, the birds will appreciate it greatly, and it's fun to watch them drink and bathe.

I tried tomatoes in these pots once, and I'm sooooo happy I've replace them with succulents.

2.2 The black pots and the two planters with the mini Japanese maples need water twice a week.

It always feels funny to me to water more in the shade than in the sun. But the CA natives that I have in the shade (and the Japanese maples) are from habitats where they get more water.

Ferns like moisture, and Rudbekia California, in the background, is from mountain meadows and streambanks. I really enjoyed the big yellow flowers, so it's worth the extra water - and I actually never use very much. My new Italian spray head (shown in the first picture) has served me well - I can adjust the volume at the top, the spray density at the other end, and lock and release the flow. It cost a bit more, but I think it will be worth it. And the nice lady from Lee Valley Tools who was selling it at the SF Flower and Garden Store said I can return it if it breaks down really quickly. So far, though, I've been very impressed.

When you're in that area, add a little water to the bird bath, and to the small pot in the flower bed right across from the sunroom.

2.3 Before you turn off the hose, water all the blue pots at the side of the house. These also need water about twice a week because they're shade plants that get a little midday sun.

Finally, water the succulents that hang on the fence in the pockets and the green wall contraption.

I'm not yet completely sure whether they need water that often, but it doesn't hurt to give them some, and it takes very little time.

And that's all, really. When I'm here, I might spray a little water over the other ferns or the ginger. But these are all California natives, so the worst that can happen is that they go summer dormant, only to start over green and beautiful when the rains start again in the fall.


Jason said…
You must have a lot of faith in your housesitter. I have to leave 4-5 days at a time, so I ask the neighbors to pick up the mail and fill the birdfeeders once or twice. That is, if Judy is travelling the same time I am, which she is doing a lot of lately.
Country Mouse said…
I do admire how aware you are of watering needs and how organized too! I'm enjoying the same sprinkler gun thingy -- it took a bit of learning. It doesn't spray as far as the other type I've got, but it does feel more robust and I like the way it stays on till you click it off.
ryan said…
It can be a little nervewracking being away from the garden. Be interesting to see how the green wall does. Have a nice trip.
Queer by Choice said…
This is a rather wonderful idea - it not only organizes the information for the house-sitter, but also lets all the rest of us see how we might go about caring for the same sorts of plants. Great pictures, too!