The Rainy Day Garden


After today, it should be clear for a few days. We're having perfect winter weather for the Bay Area: a few days of rain, followed by a few days of dry and sunny, followed by a heavy storm, followed by a minor winter "heatwave" where it's 75 degrees F for two weeks, repeat.

Except that we haven't had the major storm yet; I think that's coming next week. Me, I'm looking forward to the heatwave. All the temperature weights in the Galileo thermometer have floated to the top this morning.


I don't think it's much colder than 50 deg F. Maybe 45.


Anyhow, the rain we've had is sufficient to bow the bamboo.


And many other plants.

Tibouchina urvilleana

And some are just decorated with beads.

Echium wildprettii

Cerinthe major

Including these little moss body parts on the birdbath. I used to know their names.


I can see why people would be excited about having a moss garden. (Loved the one at the Bloedel Reserve.)


The Hardenbergia violacea is very pretty in the rain.

Hardenbergia violacea

So is the manzanita in a container next to it. This is Arctostaphylos rudis 'Vandenberg'. It's a young plant. In a few years, watch out.

Arctostaphylos rudis 'Vandenberg'

I don't like spiders, but I'm learning to live with them because 1) they eat pests, and 2) birds eat them.


Something's been chewing on my lemon.


Probably some moth caterpillar or leaf roller (or both). I saw a lot of moths last summer and fall.

This is another common insect in my garden.


I saw two without even looking. It looks like a walking stick, and it could be something in that order.


As a kid I was fascinated by walking sticks, reading about them in books. I spent hours in my backyard searching for them--for years--but I never saw one. Here, they seem to be everywhere.

I see signs of spring in leaf buds. This is Symphoricarpos, but the Ribes are leafing out too, and I have daffodil leaves poking up here and there.


Cymbidium orchid. Very slow process with this plant. But these flowers should open soon.

cymbidium orchid

No sign of the foxglove flower stalk. I keep looking for a sign.

Digitalis purpurea

Really, I ought to be thinking about what I'm going to replace all the foxglove with after it flowers and dies. Because I have quite a bit and its sudden absence from the small garden will certainly be noticeable.

Maybe I've sown something I can use, but I doubt it. I'm pretty sure most of those containers have seeds for full-sun plants.


(The Lilium pardalinum on the bottom shelf could work, but they're still very young and they're dormant half the year.)

These wildflowers are ready to be planted out.


The finer-foliaged plant is Platystemon californica (Cream Cups), and the coarser one is Layia platyglossa (Tidy Tips). I've learned the Cream Cups can go out small and will thrive, but something likes to eat Tidy Tips when it's young. Wait until the plant has at least three inches before planting it out.

I sow flats of wildflowers in succession--a new flat every couple weeks.


I don't remember what seeds I tossed in the hanging baskets, but they're doing fine. Might even be last year's Nolana paradoxa, but I think there's some Nemophila maculata (Five Spot) in there too. I read that it trails.


There's some muscari too. Can you see the rain-beaded blue mini-inflorescence?


I hung one hanging basket from the bottom of another.


Finally now the tree fern fronds are over my head so I can walk past it without having to bat them away.


It will be a long time before it's really a tree tho'.




Anyhow, that's what's happening outside.

Inside, we still have our Christmas lights up.


We didn't get a tree this year because we were afraid what the kittens might do to it.


All we did was put up a string of lights draped out of kitten reach (not that they haven't tried) and hung a few ornaments on it.

We have fairly traditional (tho' secular) ornaments. (And, actually, these are all Guy's which is not an accident because he put them up. I tend to be the one who takes the less traditional approach...)

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He positively hated these "PURR" and "MEOW" ornaments his sister gave him this year. I found them in our Goodwill box in the garage.



The stockings are felt decorations that used to belong to my grandmother. I like them because they remind me a little bit of Christmas at her house.


And speaking of meow and purr... how are those little kittens?


Not so little anymore.



They continue to be very close.


And they like to spend time on the top floor of their condominium...


Watching over Bernal Heights.




Susan Harris said...

Thanks for all those great plant AND cat photos - I'm a fan in both categories.
Now I'm really contacting you for the link to your posts about rain barrels so I can add them to my rain barrel overview. And I've lost your email address but comments in Blogger work again, right? We'll see.

chuck b. said...

Hi Susan, I my reply to this request directly on Garden Rant in the most recent post about rain barrels.

Do you know that I just totally love Garden Rant?

Frances said...

your regular sowing of wildflower seeds is an inspiration, just thinking about having plants to fill in after others have finished blooming is reason enough, but they are also so very cute.

chuck b. said...

I've really felt for the last few years my garden has had insufficient flowers. I've grown very few annuals, and focused on perennials and shrubs. This year I'm letting the perennials and shrubs be and it's all about the annuals. And I chose native wildflowers. Because they deserve to be cherished more by gardeners.

lisa said...

This post reminds me of our spring rainy weather, my favorite time of the year in the garden. The girls really look "teenage" these days, huh?

JvA said...

Did you grow up with fireflies, Chuck? Those are still amazing to me. As are hedgehogs.

Your kittens have grown up to be very handsome little cats.

chuck b. said...

They're behaving like teenagers. They tear their toys to shreds. We gave them some feathered fur balls (just what it sounds like), and when I came in from outdoors it looked like Cher exploded.

lisa said...

OMG, that's funny as heck, Chuck! (Poor Cher, anyhow!) I actually saw her with Sonny when I was a kid, my parents took me. (Something amazingly hip for MY parents!) It was amazing.

Annie in Austin said...

It was a pleasure to hang out in your rainy day garden, Chuck - looking at ferns and water droplets, gracefully bending bamboo and cool stick insects.

Philo and I were gone for nearly 2 weeks - my hope was to catch up with my favorite blogs - like yours - but my time is limited right now and catching up seems impossible!

As to the Christmas stuff still on the walls, the women on my mother's side of the family have a century-old tradition of keeping the decorations up until January 6th of January and I'm not about to break the chain.

After seeing the new kitten photos I had to go back and look at P & P when they were tiny and realize how much they've grown.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

mightymatt1313 said...

I love the wet pictures in your garden. They remind me of a few pictures from my Zen of Watering book.

Ewa said...

Hello Chuck, I am first time here and before I go any further I'd like to comment on this post, cos I absolutely loved your pictures. Your plants are beautiful and they look so fresh while wet. Were they taken in December?
Kittens are adorable too.
Greetings from Poland,

Ana Maria B said...

Hi, I just visited your blog and liked it. I also like plants, flowers and cats. And nature in general.
Can I add your blog to my favorites in mine?