Friday, February 18, 2011


My garden wouldn't be what it is without all the volunteers, so I am going to throw a volunteer appreciation party.

I'm afraid there is going to be a huge crowd and I may have to limit the numbers.

One I won't be limiting this year is our native bluebonnet. The garden is usually overwhelmed with them, but not this year. Many germinated in the fall but whether it was lack of rain or days of low temperatures they are only sending a small group to the party. The best ones are growing in the gravel in the English garden.

Lamb's ears never seem to mind the cold. I will likely move them in with some of the other volunteers who prefer not to have their leaves covered with water.

I'll be hoping for the larkspur to show their true colors. I would really like a large contingent of the blues, purples and whites.

And the love in a mist. I never know which colors will show up.

Not to be confused with lamb's ear, rose campion showed up in two colors last year. All the original seeds were magenta, so I don't know where the white one came from.

Sometimes the volunteers jockey for space. Here the blue eyed grass and the California poppy.

The corn poppies are always the last of the poppies to germinate but the warm weather this past few days has brought everything on.

This California poppy likes to have a spot all to itself.

Many years ago I moved a daisy fleabane plant into the garden. Now I can rely on them to come to the party every year.

The same is true of one of my favorite attendees, the native purple skullcap.

For the last two years there have been so many wine cups I have to pull them out. If only they would stay in a nice clump like this young one.

I am hoping that this year the frilled blanket flower will show up again. I'll just have to wait until bloom time.

In a pot hundreds of viola seedlings and a dahlberg daisy survived the winter. I 'd better be moving a few of them around.

What can I say- there are always a few disrupters. Not that I don't like them, but heart leaf skull cap wouldn't leave a spot in the garden for any other plants if I didn't control it.

Right now it has driven out the Hinkley's yellow columbine to the point that this plant had to settle for a hole in a rock. It seems quite comfortable there.

Gulf coast penstemon has now made a home for itself along one of the raised beds in the vegetable garden.

I'm so happy to see this tiny plant. It is blue flax seeded in the cracks in the sunken garden. It is not where I want it but I may just have to leave it there.

I potted up some asparagus ferns that were growing at the foot of the steps, where the seeds had landed.

There are just too many volunteers to mention but my final one is a clump of the native verbena, sheltered alongside a vegetable bed. It is already in flower. Yes, it's going to be one big colorful party by the time May rolls round.


  1. It will be a beautiful party indeed. I just love your garden!

  2. How nice; they all look so healthy. I can't wait to see the volunteers that made it through this winter in my own *and* my adopted foothills gardens!

    Speaking of Calif. Poppy - those were seeded all over here, but I've not seen any in years...

  3. I'm really impressed that your recognize each guest before they put on their full party dress. Here's to a beautiful spring and summer.

  4. What a party!!! WOWZERS! Will be lovely!!!

  5. What a party you'll be throwing this spring with all the help from your volunteers. Just a thimble-full of your soil contains the most amazing biodiversity, you should bottle it!

  6. Greenwords, thank you. Yes, I think it will be a good year.
    Desert dweller- It's amazing how a couple of warm days can get everything greening up. My citrus were looking so sick and now they are as green as can be. I have never seen a Ca poppy growing wild here but in my garden they really do well. I hope you have plenty of good volunteers too.
    Abbey- I have learnt, over the years, to identify just about every seed that comes into my garden. The problem is, it is very difficult for me to pull a plat out when I know it is a good plant and not a weed.
    Julie- Fingers crossed we have no more freezes- but we will of course!
    Mac- I do hope it will be a good year but I'm afraid I have lost many plants.
    Denise- Yes, and nature detests a bare piece of ground. I see the weeds arriving!

  7. Hi Jenny, great to see some new life returning, and so many after this harsh, harsh winter! My garden looks"brown" at the moment, and I wish I could say my citrus were as green as can be, but, well I just can't.
    The blue bonnet seeds you gave me look like they are doing great in the hell-strip though, my first year with them looks like it is going to be a good one.


  8. What wonderful volunteers you have! Most of my volunteers are weeds, courtesy of the birdseed that falls to the ground, but I do have some salvia Hot Trumpets and some blanket flower volunteers coming up, as well as a couple of tiny bluebonnets.

  9. What a wonderful post! You have the British wit for sure. And what an eye with the camera. You celebrate spring beautifully with this one. And hey, volunteers, at least they made it through summer and freeze, so you do need to throw them a party.

  10. THRILLED to find your blog via Pam's new posting which shows your potager. WONDERFUL.

    I'll keep checking back on you and your lovely garden.

    All green joys,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  11. Clever post! Volunteers keep the garden going round and round! :)

  12. Thank you so much for putting up pictures of these sprouting flowers, I am going to use it for an ID guide for my own garden, I was worried I would weed some of my plants I sowed over the winter, but I am less worried now, thanks to you!