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Our first day of summer is typically overcast. Nonetheless, that light allowed color to glow from the lush growth in our garden. While there are plenty of neglected spots & even some substantial weed patches, my camera found views which celebrate the results of the cool & rainy days of our lingering spring weather.

The work of polishing out the new bell masters & molding them for production has kept me in deep nocturnal mode for recent weeks, so I have not gardened so much as I would wish. But I have been working to distribute more of the compost we’ve had delivered.

Our south lawn is shady, a composition of textures in numerous greens…

The Acanthus, or “Bear’s Britches” has become an annual stalwart inhabiting that part of the garden. Its sturdy spikes are beginning to reach sunward

Like the Lady’s Mantle above the greens begin to give way to other hues. The spots on this plant for which I do not know a name, hint to remind me that it later sends up delicate spikes with small red flower balls. We are learning that the St. John’s Wort we appreciate for its lively beauty of red & yellow blossoms-becoming-berries is also good for holding slopes, so we are transplanting the seedlings down on our lower reaches..

An area beneath the window over my wax desk seems like a small fireworks display… energetically sending sparks of healing blessings toward nephew David, [read about that in Stephen’s blog here] for whom Stephen planted the Dianthus inside a bed already blooming with Lavatera, Allium, Peony, among others… plus a seeding bunch of Festuca grass!

The Allium is such intriguing sculpture…

The north yard is more open… sunnier for the food crops in the four raised beds & adjacent borders. The new deck sits on the edge.

The circle in the lawn is the bed of Roman chamomile which began as a cover for our cat Gertie’s grave, which I’ve been keeping groomed & will soon cut a spiral out of it to plant more area. We love this sturdy ground cover for a story at the beginning of our acquaintance & I intend to replace large portions of the lawn with its fragrant softness…

The raised bed with a trellis is planted with snow peas, lettuce & a cabbage. It also supports several wind chimes, one a Paolo Soleri bell my parents gave me when they closed their house in Monument, Colorado.

The Cardoon, which is an artichoke’s cousin, got tucked too closely between two Rhodies several years ago… I tried to move it, but too late, I’m afraid it has settled where it is. It is raising itself even taller in bloom this year, like the Mustard I am letting develop seed to save for planting later. It’s obviously being a fine year for foxglove [digitalis]; there is an entire meadow of it nearby!

I’m also saving seed on both colors of Swiss chard that fed us over last winter. Their stalks are gorgeous structures…

A smoke bush gives the north border the wildest coloration combining deep silvery purples with orange accents, particularly on the undersides of the leaves!

A simply sweet small old variety of rose & the white papery Cistus also live nearby.

A Calla lily floats in the space beneath a Fuchsia…

Something newly fuzzy, a “goatsbeard” which Stephen brought home last week, is planted in front of a Hosta.

The birdhouse in the apricot tree housed a family of chickadees this spring, keeping the parents busy! I had hoped to see the young ones learn to fly, but that probably happened while I slept one morning after a nocturnal work session…

This year’s big project has been the new garden on the clay slope north of Stephen’s writing cottage, his Forge. It had been our typical clay, packed by the equipment which did the retaining wall a year ago. Steven Shaun helped me build the zigzagging gravel path from which we could begin working organic material into that density to build tilth. I had a load of okara delivered, since it is a free resource from our local Island Spring Tofu factory. The material, derived from soybeans, is like wet sawdust. It seemed ideal for this project, but it does have some drawbacks… it can smell! We covered it with compost before the Open Studio to mask that increasing odor, since it did not have any opportunity to dry out in our weather. Even now I am only gingerly beginning to fork it up to add more mulch into some of the deeper areas of those new beds… I believe it is a good material — I just wish it were more pleasant!

The result of all that process has been pleasing to watch as the plants we’d been collecting over several years in pots or temporary spots during that period of upset on our cliff settle into their new places, taking off better than could be expected.

The Lacinata kale plants which had been growing in one of the raised beds took up residence & have mostly tripled in growth! They are wonderful food, especially during the cold winter months, & can perennialize for 3-4 years in this climate, building meandering trunks & huge inflourescences of yellow blossoms.

The last of the iris dance with several white digitalis above a row of Sedum which also will live in their temporary spot for another year… there just was not enough gardening time between the rains to accomplish soil building in time to plant… There IS Always Next Year!

The next couple shots were made several weeks ago, when the Siberian iris were at their prime against a rhododendron.

This rainbow last week was the flattest one I’d ever seen… a rainstorm traveled through it as I watched…

Tahoma then came out to say her bon soir with the pink backlight of sunset…