Yellow: The Color of Summer

Nothing says summer like the color yellow. The spring garden is full of pink, lilac, blue and white. In the autumn, I want depth: oranges, reds, deep purples, golds. But yellow is for summer.

This shaggy rudbeckia grandiflora thrives and returns each year where others fail. It is beautiful in a chaotic, messy way – as if it couldn’t be bothered to fully dress itself or comb its hair in the morning.

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” ~ Sam Keen

I gave up on the drama of planting huge sunflowers. The jack in the beanstalk varieties required constant watering and staking for big floppy heads that wilted and dried almost as soon as they bloomed. So much work – and they seemed out of place.

The Helianthus annuus – or Delta Sunflower – is so carefree that you will find it growing along the freeways in our region. It loves heat, makes do with little water, is not fussy about soil, and it is poetic in its profusion of dancing stems.

It feels right at home in our garden. I’m sure the birds miss the giant seeds – but they have devastated the grapes again – so they can make do!

Helenium looks like little Mexican sombreros to me.

So happy and sunny – it should be a painting!

The daylilies spread their short-lived happiness – from sunrise to sundown.

Gaillardia blankets the garden from June until September,

while beautiful bulbine puts in repeat performances in spring and late summer.

Yellow flies and flutters through the garden. On dragonflies –

bees –

butterflies –

even this yellow bird has taken up residence in the garden.

I have not seen it before…a Western Kingbird, I believe.

“How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh.

And Yellow Labs, too. 🙂 Meet Carter. He’s looking for home.

Summer’s Arrival


Summer is officially just around the corner – as the 100+ degree temperatures last weekend made clear. Deep, bold colors replace pastels in the garden –


sprigs become stalks.


and the bees are so busy gathering that I can weed – or photograph – among them and barely be noticed.


“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.” ― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine


Last weekend was ridiculously hot. It happened on the same weekend last year. 105-108 in early June. Record breakers. But the early heat wave was followed by a much more temperate summer. Fingers crossed that we experience a repeat this year.


While the heat did away with the last of the spring flowers, it did coax out blossoms on the Bee Balm, Agapanthus, Lantana and Rudbeckia…


Now all we need are the Sunflowers and Dahlias which are coming along.


Only a few of the Milkweed (Asclepias) – which was everywhere last year – have reappeared. Probably eaten by those nasty Cucumber beetles. I will need to replant from seedlings soon for our Monarch friends.

The dogs are clearly loving the cooler temperatures this week. This face greeted me early Saturday morning. Hello Milo!


He and his friend Molly are one of three pairs we have recently received.


These beautiful long coats feel much better in cool breezes!


“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ― Henry James


Cheers to the arrival of summer!

A June Night

At 9:42 pm, the thermometer reads 89-degrees.


I made a quick check-up on the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden tonight – when the thermometer still read 106.


I discovered Rob mowing despite his promise not to if it was too hot. He lied. Out of respect, I will not share a photo of him dripping sweat. The fresh cut looks lovely though.


It is too hot for man, woman, beast, or bunny.


“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.” ~ Russel Baker


The plants and flowers surprised me; they have held up amazingly well.


In their second season, they are taller providing shade for their roots which are better mulched this year as well.


The dogs are tucked in. The only sounds are those of nature’s creatures scurrying to feed and drink before night blankets the garden.


“If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance.” ~ Bern Williams


Tomorrow’s forecast: 108. Sigh. I think it will be a good day to spend hosing down doggies.

Garden Party

“You may go down to the garden.”…(Peter Rabbit’s mother) Beatrix Potter

I confess that I did not have to make two trips to the Memorial Garden this weekend.

The temperatures are beginning to cool, which means the need for extra watering is diminishing, and even the weeds are growing a little slower.

But I’ll be taking a little break for some ocean camping, and our blooming days are growing shorter. I want to enjoy summer’s last blooms as long as I can.

Everyone else had the same idea; the dogs were everywhere in the Homeward Bound garden this weekend! Miss Macy with her ever-present toy,

Sunny with her sweet white face and disposition,

Blossom looking pretty,

and Hootie enjoying Laura’s company. (Laura’s the one with the hat!)

Sonny was back for more training classes. He is a certified Canine Good Citizen (CGC) who provides weekly therapy visits to a local Kaiser hospital.

Boulder and Phoenix are new arrivals; a pair who will hopefully find a new home together.

And Eastman – another new arrival who greets dogs and humans with a happy smile and wagging tail.

Even Axel and Bradley, who have perfectly good homes of their own, came by just to see what all the ruckus was about.

Party in the garden!

Some new things are blooming in Ina’s Cottage Garden. I believe this is Obedient Plant.

And this looks like an Aster…Ina?

The Roses are putting on a show; the result of Maria’s feeding them last week.

This contrast of blooms is beautiful in the White Garden.

The Hummingbird Garden was hosting more than birds…

can you find my little Dragonfly friend hiding here?

And of course…the Dahlias.

A riot of color. A splash of sunshine. And dogs. What a great way to celebrate the closing of summer. Does the party have to end?

A Summer Evening in the Garden

There is nothing I would rather do after work on a warm summer evening than avoid exercise and putter around in the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden.

The sun baths everything in this warm glow which coats the imperfections so you can relax instead of focusing on the weeding and projects you know will have to be done.

Out in this country garden, a light breeze picks up late each day off the cool Sacramento Valley rice fields.  Quiet as it is, the bees and birds are still hard at work getting their last meal of the day, while the shadows get long and the plants tuck in for the evening.

The gardens are full of surprises at this hour. You just never know what you will find.