readying the suburben garden for spring - gardening


We have been in the midst of a mini heatwave with several days in the mid to upper 80's.  For those of you dealing with bitter cold I'm sure this sounds wonderful and it was for a day or two but now I just want to have a bit of winter before spring let alone summer gets here.   Fortunately for me my husband loves to work outside in the heat and has spent the weekends preparing our suburben backyard for outdoor living.

He does the really physical stuff and leaves the planting and tending to me.  With the memory of our
record summer and fall temps last year I am on the look out for flowering plants that thrive in the heat.  We've slowly been pulling everything out of this side garden and filling it with hibiscus and geraniums.  They seem to love it in there and their happy unassuming faces always bring a smile to my face.  I love a flower that doesn't mind a little neglect during the long, hot, dog days of summer.

This stone walkway that rings the grass was definitely one of the deal clinchers when we first looked at our little cottage.  At the end of this pathway, just as you turn the bend, there's a small waterfall and pond that adds the right amount of motion and noise to the backyard.

This picture from last summer shows where we planted some tall trees along the back fence for privacy and we've added a couple of more shade trees since then along with a couple of raised bed planters for growing vegetables.  Nothing big, just enough to harvest a few tomatoes and summer veggies.  I am always looking forward to being more self sufficient especially now that I have more time (and less money) to piddle around out back.

Any suggestions for easy to grow vegetables that don't take up too much room?  I know I want tomatoes and peppers but would like to put in a few more basics to round it out.  What about you?  Have you started tilling your soil or are you still in the dreaming of spring stage?

xo, Patty


  1. Your backyard is beautiful! A little jealous od your pond and walk😉We moved to out current home 2 yrs ago. It is an older, one owner home. The owner planted loads azaleas and ground covers. I mostly just mulch and add annuals to containers and window boxes.

  2. Love your backyard. I am so trying not to rush spring, but I love to start things growing for the summer. Geraniums are one of my all time favorite flowers. I grow tomatoes and peppers in pots on the back porch since we have no real back yard. However, we have just purchased some land about 50 minutes north of us and we have tilled up a small space for a garden. We don't want more than we can handle, but are excited about the prospects of homegrown food. This past weekend we planted three rows, one potatoes, one onions, and one carrots. WE will see!

  3. I've always found selecting plants to be a hit and miss process. It is funny to me how a plant will thrive on one side of the house and not the other. Or how you can grow things on one property and another only a mile away and you cannot get it to grow. I know that it is all about the soil condition and the amount of sun and shade . . . I've never had our soil checked, I just add fertilizer and kitchen scraps and keep the weeds out. If it works I continue and if not, the next year I try something else. Last year I planted several roses bushes. Most of them bloomed the first year, but one (the one that grew the biggest) never bloomed at all. It was the one I paid the most for and was excited when I found it . . . a Joseph's Coat climber. I sure hope it blooms this year. I'm giving it one more change. Who among us wants to put up with thorns if there are no roses.
    Happy Gardening!
    Connie :)

  4. Your backyard is always pretty. Ours has been so neglected this winter. My grandson is spending sometime with me this after noon to help get the cleanup started.

  5. Herbs! Basil, thyme, chives, etc. They blend in with the flower garden and add bright flavor to whatever you cook.

  6. Your geraniums are gorgeous already! Wow. Still winter here in central Oregon but some days have been in the 60's which is awesome. We just moved here so back yard is an open pallet! I like planting tomatoes in plastic tubs - they love it. I'm going to try tubs this year with tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers and maybe some climbing beans. Potatoes are super easy and fun.. you can almost put the little pieces of potatoe with an eye in it on top of the ground and cover it with straw. I plant them down maybe 6 inches though and either mound the dirt above them or put straw. Very easy and fun and as the leaves peek through the dirt or straw, add more dirt or straw until they are about a foot high. I've never done them in tubs but think they'll love the warm soil. I'm not sure I'm real anxious yet for 80 and 90 degree days!

  7. Patty, Your yard and gardens are so pretty. I like the walkway. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  8. Love, love love that path! I can almost feel the smooth warmth of it under my feet on a morning stroll through the garden with my coffee. *sigh* Your yard is beautiful. We are deep in garden planning here in Michigan. Our temps are going to be single digit this weekend, but truthfully, I would be almost as uncomfortable in the high 80's you describe having now. If it's that warm in February how hot must it be in the summer! I can be such a hot house flower when it comes to temps. I am comfortable in the 60-80 degree range. Outside that range I hide in the house. I just can't wait for Spring and green grass and flowering trees and the garden. Enjoy yours!

  9. What a beautiful yard. A haven of peace. We are still in the depths of wintertime here in Missouri . . . cold, cloudy, YUCK. Spring is still a couple of months away. But what a breath of fresh air your pictures are. Enjoy your warm temperatures! Our daughter lives in Rancho Mission Viejo and she says it is HOT! Wish you could send some of that for me. I'm afraid I'm not much help in the plant selection department. We live out in the country, I work full-time, and my flower garden consists of a couple of pots filled with geraniums and such. I can't wait to see what you select. I know it will be GORGEOUS! Blessings to you!!

  10. You have a beautiful backyard, Patty! When you were talking about the temps in the 80's, I thought you might be an AZ desert dweller like me, but then discovered you are in Southern Calif. Our temps having been creeping up over the 80 degree mark and 90's are expected soon. The big difference for us is very low humidity & that's good, but when we get into the 110+, low humidity doesn't much's just plain HOT! Your area must not have issues about water, because you have such a beautiful lawn.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving me a sweet comment!



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