Saturday, March 23, 2019

Gardening Ritual - Summer 2018

This might seem like an odd thing to post right now (in March!) but while the gardening season is getting started, i wanted to record for myself how i enjoyed the garden last summer. It gets seriously hot here in the summer, and before 2018, i felt like i would ignore the garden most of the summer. But last year was kind of the first time i figured out how to spend the summer in the garden, and actually enjoy it!

This was also my "welcome home" ritual each weekend, to kind of reset from a crazy week. I need that reminder on a regular basis also!

My summer days would start in the morning, on the patio that i actually made an effort to keep clean and stocked with pillows and candles (for night!)

these pictures are from the summer... would it have killed me to straighten the pillows?!
Breakfast would usually involve a breakfast burrito, juice and kombucha (no, that's not beer...) and books:
the patio is in the shade in the morning, and very pleasant
I kept the hummingbird feeder stocked - keeping simple syrup in batches made it simple - and the birds appreciated it!
the combination feeder & hanging pots was approved by the hummers!
At some point, i would grab the watering can and walk up the hillside to the bougainvilleas on the top of the hill. I actually managed to keep them alive all summer! They are still there as i write this (march) so hopefully they will come back after this winter. But still, this was about 4 months longer than i've been able to keep them going in the past.
they are in pots at the top of hill
Thai Pink

Santa Barbara Red

looks more pink, but whatever
The rest of the pots on the hillside have cacti and agave in them... Maybe i'll try one more vine this year!

I would also water the succulent pots each weekend - using ice cubes! The two wall mounted ones had spilling plants in them - the first time i'd been able to keep those alive all summer.
this pot from Potted

this one i bought at the Austin Fling!
Even as the temperature got warmer, i could make the patio feel cool by using those white curtains i installed. They keep the couch part of the patio in the shade. Some trail and error was required to make them work in our wind, but by the end of the summer, we got there! The hammock was also great as an alternative to the couch for reading... 
and I could look at garden,and every once in a while, do some weeding or other things
 And at time, the combination of candles and solar powered lights made the patio great to hang out in, and have dinner, etc. 

This was really the first summer that made me feel like i used the garden in the best possible way - to relax, to have fun, and to hang out in, even in the middle of the heat. As i look back at these pictures, i can see some things i want to improve (better storage, cleaning up tools, maybe some more pillows?) but if i can repeat this summer ritual again, 2019 will be great summer no matter what the heat!


  1. I love that you found a way to enjoy your garden and relax in it that didn't involve working in it or worrying about the work that needs to be done. I wish I could find a way to do that. I'm trying to put together a similar spot on my back porch. My husband often sits there in the summer and reads, but I never seem to find the time.

    1. Installing curtains (to block the sun and so i couldn't see the weeds!) helped a lot... Plus no one wants to do anything but sit when it's so hot here in the summer!

  2. Yay! Your patio looks like a wonderful place to be, and I love the view of the garden from there. So why are you keeping the bougainvillea in containers? Wouldn't they be less watering work in the ground? (since containers dry out fast)

    1. Well, they were supposed to grow big and over the wall (that didn't happen...) There isn't really a good place to put them in the ground up on the hill. I'm still crossing my fingers that they survived the winter.

  3. Well done, Renee! I tend to hide out inside the house during the hottest part of the summer, although like you I make use of the cooler morning hours to hand-water my potted plants and the raised beds in my cutting garden (where the thirstiest plants hang out). I should follow your example and invest in some solar lights for the patio so we can make better use of the cooler evening hours too.

    1. Lights on the patio was my #1 improvement last summer... this summer, i may try something to keep all the bugs away. Our evenings are too nice (usually!) not to spend it outside.

  4. Love your post. Too often we create these great places to relax in but never do. Kudos for doing so!


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