Summer days in Sacramento, when air becomes insufferably hot and soil bakes to Death Valley beige, can test our gardening superpowers. The challenge of keeping plants happy and alive is compounded by watering mandates, courtesy of below normal rainfall and Sierra snowpack.
People and pets need protection and ample hydration when summer’s blast furnace goes triple digits. So do plants. Our leafy friends are not able to bolt for an air-conditioned kitchen and refreshing drink.
Hello neighbor! I am new to this space, but have lived and pushed shovels into Northern California soil my entire life. I imagine you have done some digging, deadheading and maybe even turned a compost pile. As gardeners, we have much in common.
Have you noticed unusually high numbers of joggers, walkers and cyclists in the neighborhood? Sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired more time outdoors, including gardens where we’re soaking up vitamin D, weeding beds and borders, planting vegetables, and becoming reacquainted with hummingbirds and honeybees.
The renaissance of the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery is a remarkable volunteer success story. In the words of the Cemetery Master Plan, the cemetery was “barren and lifeless” until volunteers transformed a “neglected burial ground to a vibrant historic cemetery that is a horticultural attraction.”
The plan states a vision for the historic cemetery, recognizing three major areas devoted to gardens: Historic Rose Garden, Hamilton Square Perennial Garden and California Native Plant Demonstration Garden.
It’s bad enough that we have to fight weeds or deal with unsuitable plants that we inherited when we bought our properties. It’s worse if you are the one who innocently planted something that has turned into a monster. Plants that are described as “vigorous” may be ready to take over your yard. Some grow too big, too fast. Others have roots that spread aggressively. Still others spread by seed.
I don’t really consider plants “invasive” that are easy to remove. California poppies, sweet peas and other plants that self-seed can be readily pulled out if they pop up in unwanted places.
My husband says it’s like being married to Pigpen, the notoriously dirty character in Peanuts.
I might be cleaned up and ready to go out for the evening, but then notice a plant that needs water or run into the garden to check something. The next thing I know, my shirt is wet and smudged, my fingernails are grungy and there is debris in my hair. There have been occasions when I have had to wash up and change clothes twice before we finally pull out of the driveway.
I simply can’t stay clean.