Let's say this up front: The Town Mouse garden is not on the Going Native Garden tour this year. Town Mouse is leaving for a long trip, and a house sitter will take care of the house and garden.
But you can still register to see the many beautiful gardens on tour today (South Santa Clara county) and tomorrow (North Santa Clara county and part of San Mateo county). Go to www.gngt.org to register and get the addresses.
And you can get a virtual tour of the Town Mouse garden, which isn't looking bad at all this year! While the Sierra snow pack is pityful and California is in a drought, we actually got more total rainfall than normal, and the plants seem to like it. Above, one of several native penstenmons I bought last year (is it spectabilis?) with tidy tips, clarkia, and tidy tips in the background.
Elegant clarkia (Clarkia ungiuculata) is more stunning every day - and these plants all reseeded!
And Penstemon heterophyllis (foothill penstemon) is just as brightly blue as ever - though possibly not as tall. This penstemon is also reseeding, and I've found little baby plants in the dry stream bed.
A bladderpod (Isomeris arborea) is finally blooming beautifully this year - it's interesting how the plants from Southern California are starting to do better here than those that are locally native. The little pods to the side of the flowers are going to make rattling sounds, supposedly. That will be fun!
In the back garden, everything is blooming as well! around the fountain, a big patch of Douglas iris, monkey flower, and Allium unifolium, a native onion. The allium has been quite spectacular this year, and I do seem to get more plants over time.
And the iris have never looked better.
Other plants are blooming a little bit ahead of their time, such as this Styrax officinalis (California snowdrop bush).
Tomorrow I'll be off to volunteer at another garden, enjoying this oh so brief spring. Hope to see you there!