Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Parched Summer for Sure! 2015

...and so the drought continues... The wildlife and foliage have been seriously compromised. Lawns across the state are a wispy brittle brown...dead, actually. Gardens struggle to stay alive. No more showy blooms of summers' past. Even the drought 'tolerant' and native plants are struggling as we try to relearn how to water our gardens. They tend to get more water than they need because we go on auto-pilot ~ watering when the ground looks dry instead of actually looking at the plant or sticking our finger into the soil. Everything is struggling.

Nasturtiums are supposed to love the heat and thrive in crappy
soil with very little water. Well, the challenge is ON! 

This little plant was 'drought tolerant' and
doing so well...I cut back the spent branches
(there were tiny leaves already forming at
the base)...apparently, the flowers on this
plant did not see the humor.
July is not here yet...it seems like its late August/early September. Dry, hot, and not very pretty in our garden.  

This barrel should have a plethora of Marigolds and
Lantana and 5' tall Russian Mammoth Sunflowers.
Rather pathetic results, I think.....

Halloween-y Violas are happy in the old log out front.
I absolutely adore this little plant!

New Lantana seems to be acclimating nicely. I may just plug in
several more and let them go!

The wildlife is finding it more challenging to find food. And, so, the circle of life is quite active. This morning, I again heard the heartbreaking cry of the mockingbird; one that is repeated almost daily now. The sad squawking can be heard all over the neighborhood ~ the hurt, the anger, the grief as it sings it's sad song after discovering it's nest has been raided and the babies taken.

Mockingbird on power pole singing her sad song.
Ravens and hawks frequent the trees above. Both have been know to snatch the little birds from the hidden nests in the tree tops. A young hawk has made several visits here lately. He (she?) swoops stealthy into the branches of our Italian Stone Pine tree looking for something to eat. The birds in the branches below and on the feeders are pretty savvy and somehow escape in one big cloud before the hawk can attack.

Two black ravens watch our garden from above.

A mockingbird and hawk face off in the Deodor tree across the street.

Occasionally (and, sadly) the hawk is successful. I will find a scattering of little feathers beneath the tree. There are several feral cats that have claimed this neighborhood ~ a fluffy tabby (we call him Pumpkin) and a light grey (Earl Grey). They, too, stalk the feeder area, hoping to grab a snack. 

When there is a cat nearby, we usually get an alert from a squirrel who is sitting on a tree limb, the top of a fence or perched on the power pole. The urgent barking continues until the cat moves on. Any time I hear the alert, I go out to check what's going on. Many times I find the rouge cat and chase him off. Then, a reward is due, so I get a handful of peanuts and toss them to our security squirrel!

Our Security Squirrel Squad is always watching from wherever they are hanging out!

There is some good news, though. With the relentless heat, the bees have discovered our little fountain in the front yard. How lucky for our garden! (If you look closely, you can see the bees on and around the stones). We fill the fountain daily for all of the wildlife to enjoy. While the plant life is shifting, the watering hole is a constant for the birds and the bees...and other creatures that might be thirsty! The tall pine tree towers over what is left of the garden, offering shade and a safe haven for all.

Drought tolerant plant. Not a native. And, I've just learned,
drought tolerant and native don't necessarily mean the same thing!
'Hawaiian Blue Eyes' seem to thrive nicely...so far...
This is a rock-something flowering plant...and will do well with
very little water once established. We bought six!
These are Juliet Grape Tomatoes.
I think we chose the wrong soil this year...while they are
slowly growing, by now we should have a
boat load of tomatoes!!!
This is where Mousekin lives...though, I think he's on vacation.
I haven't seen him in a while.

This is our resident garden rabbit.
He is patiently waiting for the garden to break out
in colorful blooms and foliage.
Patiently being the operative word......
In an attempt to add some color to the shriveled-up landscape,
he is sporting a new collection of brightly painted Peace Sticks.
That works for me.

There is a 'prediction' of an El Nino this fall...a lot of buzz...maybe 30"! Could this be just another crystal ball, wishful thinking forecast possibility? I guess we will have to just wait and see......Film @ 11.

...maybe I should look into an ark?

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Thank you for stopping in to read my blog! I so appreciate your interest and welcome your comments! ~ peg