OMG! That’s an acronym for MORE rain. I’m getting grumpy. My soil is soggy. My fields are too wet to go into for farming. My peach trees have leaf curl despite being sprayed and cared for by a professional. I slipped on a slug. And on top of all this, I can’t plant my summer flower bulbs. I’m a grumpy gardener.

If you were one of the many millions across the United States who went to the big box stores to buy your tomato plants thinking you were going to make pizza sauce before me, have you not figured out that Nature is Nature? She controls all. We complained for years we had no water. We wondered if it would ever come back. Global warming had California in its grip forever. (At least that’s what the politicians thought.)

Like the sun peaking out from behind a cloud, a story popped up in the newspaper declaring the drought over. Shhhh! Don’t tell anybody. It was one story on one day and we will probably not see it again. But I’m laughing a little bit because I was crying about the drought and now I’m crying about the rain. Even our Governor has had to succumb to the fact that we have water. Grant yourself a large sigh of relief and know that hopefully for now our grumpy gardener years are behind us.

So, back to the tomatoes. Plant as early as you want to no avail. When Mother Nature warms the soil, blows her temperate breath and offers sunshine of a longer day, then and only then will you be making pizza sauce. For now, our tomatoes are tucked into our greenhouse, cozy as a bug. Right where they should be.

Let’s not forget about the lessons learned from the last five years of drought. As we have learned that we are not in control of Mother Nature, and therefore we don’t know when the next water shortage will besiege us, conservation (in all things) is always a better choice. Let me bullet point what I have learned from the drought:
• Maple Rock Gardens survived on a third of the water. We took this opportunity to understand the water threshold of the garden.
• Technology works if you trust it. If applied properly, as you know with your cell phones, technology can benefit your garden, i.e., smart clocks, etc.
• In most cases, plants flourished with less water. Here’s a fact. During the drought we had less returns due to people killing their plants than when there was no drought. Everybody assumes that if a plant’s not looking good, it must need water. So we kill it with love.
• The drought in some cases forced roots to go deeper, which has made plants more tolerant of dry conditions.
• In some cases, the drought gave trees no choice but to send out more surface roots in search of water, bringing to point that planting the right tree in the right spot is key to long term success in any condition.
• I became water independent and, in general, a much smarter gardener.
• I used less fertilizer. I mowed less grass. I trimmed less and my garden still looks great.
• The drought has taught me to respect Mother Nature, to seek innovation and it has deepened my passion for plants that are versatile and rewarding.
While areas within California are still recovering much slower than we are here in Placer County, we can take comfort in knowing that the water situation is at least heading in the right direction. Breath and apply the lessons learned and your garden will continue to thrive. Take a walk through your garden and acknowledge the journey the two of you have been through and be proud.

Come Celebrate Spring!

We are fast and furiously preparing Maple Rock Gardens for a beautiful day on May 13th. Mother Nature is not necessarily cooperating, but we are trying not to be grumpy gardeners as we prepare the gardens.

Tickets for Maple Rock Gardens are $10.00 and can be purchased online at www.highhand.com or at the nursery. Parking is free and our new entrance from Highway 193 to the garden is wide open and easily accessible after a year of construction.

Walking the garden the other day, I came across something I don’t see very often in this area. I knew it was there, but it is way out of its comfort zone. This coastal plant native to South Africa is called a honey bush. I know you’re focused on the flower, but I think the leaves are actually much cooler. To me a flower is a byproduct of the plant (I don’t like flowers in my grumpy gardener voice). Just kidding, but I always tend to focus in on foliage first and flower second. In recent drought years I’ve noticed the pattern of this plant change. Some years it came up. Last year it did not. This year it did. I just pointed it out because it made me smile as I was reminded of how amazing plants can be in the ways they adapt.

Still feeling like a grumpy gardener? Here’s a rhododendron in our nursery. Thought it would make you smile.

Bright and Sunny

Still feeling like a grumpy gardener? Belly up to the bar!

In four easy steps we can solve your grumpy gardener hangover. Give it a try. This is a remedy that really works. High Hand Nursery’s succulent bar. The sign says it all.

On a side note, Petunia, our nursery cat moved away.

I was extremely relieved, however, to find out she had just moved down the shed to the Tin Thimble. I asked Petunia, “Petunia, why did you move to Tin Thimble?” She stared at me and without saying a word pointed to a pile of yarn.

I was so relieved. Petunia had just moved there for the 10th Anniversary celebration at Tin Thimble. On your next visit to High Hand Nursery and Cafe stop in and say hello and see for yourself the reason why they’ve reach their ten year anniversary. It’s quite amazing, frankly. hey would love to hear from you.

The rain is back and Spring is here. It may not seem like it, but it is.

Popping up like bunnies do, these ceramic bunnies keep multiplying. (I’m told that I’m not allowed to say “breeding like bunnies” in an email and I’m not going to ask how the ceramic bunnies keep multiplying.) Join us this Easter at High Hand Nursery. Walk the shops in the shed. Enjoy the succulent bar in the nursery and don’t forget about the Art Gallery and the High Hand Olive Oil store.

Happy Easter. See you at High Hand Nursery.

Scott

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