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Early Flowers

Crocus Cyclamen coum Hellebore 'Merlin' Snowdrop Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


I cannot believe it is already August. It has been quiet around here. It is also very dry - we have only had a brief sprinkle in mid-July and I cannot remember when the last rain was before that. That is normal as the dry season begins in July and goes through September. Therefore watering is an ongoing chore. 

I have been faithfully keeping the new plants, the pots and the vegetable garden watered but, like of a lot of other residents, I left the lawn to fend for itself.

That is - until yesterday. I got so tired of looking at the parched grass that I have decided to give it a sprinkle now and then. I could not stand looking at the desolate brown stuff any longer.

I was concerned about the trees that I have planted. They seem to be doing well. This is one of the two Japanese Maples planted next to the deck. They are not big enough yet to give us any significant shade but they have grown quite a bit since they were planted back in March.

The vegetable garden is wonderful - I still cannot believe sweet peas and nasturtiums are still growing in August! That amazes me. Still no red tomatoes but even Michael, as much as he loves them, says it is a small price to pay to have this cool weather. I do believe we will have some ripe ones soon. It got up near 90 last week for a few days but the nights are still rather cool and that affects them. The zucchini and cucumbers are producing nicely.
Abutilon (Flowering Maple) 'Variegated Salmon' in a pot on the deck.

Polyantha Rose 'Marie Pavie'

Huechera (Coral Bells) 'Plum Pudding'

We are having so much fun watching the birds. The hummingbirds are back in full force. The other birds love our shallow little birdbath in the border off the deck. We have to refill it several times a day. The birds actually wait in line to use it!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I'm laughing with delight at the fun you are having!

    I have lots of ripe mini tomatoes and have had 3 normal size ripe tomatoes. I had my first tomato sandwich last weekend while Todd and McKenzie were at the beach coast.

    Everything looks beautiful.


  2. Everything looks wonderful! You won't be getting our Ruby-throated Hummingbird any more. You should be seeing Anna's and Rufus Hummingbirds. How exciting!

  3. Brown lawns are a ubiquitous sight this time of year here in Oregon. It's why we dig them up and plants shrubs and perennials. LOL Yours looks much nicer than a lot of them I see. I really love that apricot abutilon. And your Callibrachoa, holy cow! The birds really bring a special joy to gardening, don't they? Have a great weekend.

  4. Hi Phillip, I spent most of my life in the SFO area and now I've been in Georgia for 15 years. When I started gardening at a young age, I realized most of the world doesn't live in such a temperate climate! I love the variegated flowering maple. It was one of my mother's favorites. Glad you are enjoying your new home.

  5. I am watering like crazy today. I have the sprinkler out. The ground is so darned hard and dry it is cracking. I hope I haven't waited until too late. I don't really care about the grass but my DB does. The crabgrass is the only thing happy right now. UGH... Everything is looking good in your garden.

  6. It takes a strong stomach to watch your lawn go dormant every summer. I kept ripping more and more of it out; it's just about all gone now. I hope you'll get to eat your first home grown tomatoes in the PNW. Getting them to ripe is a tricky business but we never seem to lose hope!

  7. Have you talked to the locals to see if that's a common problem with growing tomatoes there? Maybe there are varieties more suited to your new climate. My first thought was to try the Early Girl variety. But you're right, the tradeoff might be that the cool season crops do so much better there!


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