Garden Photo of the Day

A dry summer in Pauline’s garden in California

This lower creekside garden is an oasis for deer during the heat of the day.Today’s photos are from Irvin and Pauline Faria! (Check out their past posts HERE.) Irvin says, “We continue to deal with severe drought conditions here in Carmichael, California. Water restrictions limit us to watering only two days per week and no watering allowed on Monday, Thursday, or Friday. Between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. watering is not allowed. The only exceptions are that trees, shrubs, vegetables, and community gardens may be watered any day by means of drip irrigation, soaker hoses, or hand watering.

Here the Inner Garden is shown with ostrich ferns and begonias with shining green leaves and bright waxy pink flowers.For the moment our garden appears to be coping with limited water while the temperature remains 90 to 100 degrees. It is fortunate that much of the landscape is shaded by a canopy of 70 live and valley oak trees. So for the moment we are in garden survival mode hoping for early fall rain.

Lagerstroemia (crape myrtle) is an excellent hot weather tree for our valley conditions. As an entry tree to our garden we selected several for their colorful and long-lasting flowers that occur in summer months.

Looking back over the 50 years we have worked to create a woodland garden, we hope it will survive the next few months until the rain arrives.”

Crape myrtle bark adds interest throughout the year to this wonderful tree.

It does not look like your garden has suffered at all, Irvin, a testament to it’s quality and health. Kudos, and keep the updates coming!

This wildlife area of the garden abounds in ostrich ferns.****How does everyone like this format? I’ve been experimenting. If you still want the photos in the comments, let me know.****

Our hydrangea garden serves us well in the valley heat.
Blue lacecap hydrangea.

Pink Lacecap hydrangea

Japanese maples along maple lane include ‘Okushimo’, ‘Vitifolium’, ‘Okagami’, ‘Moonfire’, ‘Sherwood Flame’, ‘Sekimori’, ‘Murasaki’, ‘Kiyohime’, and ‘Aoyagi’.

Digitalis purpurea (common foxgloves), with theirskyrocketing spires, do well in the garden area where there is partial shade.

For a change of pace this pot has been added next to a waterfall.

We enjoy watching Libellula saturata (flame skimmer or firecracker skimmer) circle our fish pond, grab flying insects in mid-air, and then touch down on a bamboo stake in our yard to eat them.
Two black chinned hummingbird chicks await mom’s return with their food.

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View Comments


  1. perenniallycrazy 09/16/2014

    Your garden remains one of the dreamiest gardens on GPOD Irvin and Pauline (inspite of the drought which we do hope ends as soon as possible). Like the adage of wine, your fine garden only gets better with age.
    The photography is fabulous but I can't seem to enlarge them. Would love to see details of the 1st, 2nd and 8th photos. Thanks Michelle.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/17/2014

    Goodness, Pauline and Irvin, my heart felt such a pang as I read of your challenges in dealing with your drought conditions. And, yet, your garden looks as wondrously magical as always. I adore the airy cooling effect of those generous swaths of ostrich ferns and your close-ups of the lacecap hydrangeas have made a believer out of me. And what a delightful treat those two final photos were...ha, who (or what) wouldn't want to spend time in your garden!

    Michelle, I like the separation between the pictures and, of course, it worked out particularly well since there were comments under each photo.

  3. Chefin1950 09/17/2014

    Pauline and Irvin, I am continuously amazed at the lushness and especially the size of your garden! It appears to go on for acres and acres – so much so that I can never imagine how two people could maintain an overview of such a large garden. Someday (maybe in the darkness of winter) it would be wonderful to see a rough drawing of your site with all the various gardens labeled, just to get a handle on the scope of it. It is beautiful as always. The goal of creating a "natural forest" garden is certainly realized. The hummingbird nest is an archtectural wonder!

    Michelle, I like today's format the best – photos separated with comments under each. Now, if they could only be enlarged too ;o)

  4. SherylSherman 09/17/2014

    I also like this format the best, especially when there are comments under each picture to identify the plants!

  5. user-1020932 09/17/2014

    i always always love Pauline's garden and i now feel as if i have visited with old friends. it certainly does not look like a garden in a drought stricken area!
    format is great but i can't enlarge the pics today but the ones posted are CLEAR!

  6. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/17/2014

    Thanks for continuing to share your wondrous garden, Irvin and Pauline! So sorry to hear about the drought, but these photos show what hard work you put into being great caretakers. That dragonfly is just amazing!

    Michelle, it's no surprise that you put so much effort into making this blog an enjoyable experience for everyone. This format is great for me on the iPad. The images are not badly downsampled and degraded like the slideshow and I can zoom in on them a little. Full-resolution pop-ups would be nice, but this is definitely a great format! Thanks!

  7. joycedaffodilhill 09/17/2014

    I do like this new format, really well. For past few weeks have had issues trying to open the entire story. But more important, what an outstanding garden. In the North East we had a miserable winter and our hydrangea produced no blooms. We were used to seeing huge drooping blooms and plants remained bare of color. Maybe next year. Your garden is a paradise. Thanks for sharing.

  8. NCYarden 09/17/2014

    What a delightful woodland garden. Those Japanese maples are something. I am pleased to see the garden doing so well under such adverse conditions. Relief will come soon I hope. This is really gorgeous, as I long for a stroll. Thanks for sharing.

  9. lindanewber 09/17/2014

    Pauline and Irvin, your garden is beautiful. No one would know there was a drought looking at these pics. I too am trying to develop a woodland garden and am in absolute awe of what you have done. I would also like to see a rough drawing of your site. How large is the garden. Looks like it goes on for acres and acres. Love the ferns. Thank you for sharing the garden with the rest of us.

    Michelle, I like this format too. Look forward to these pics each morning and love the comments beneath the photos. Keep them coming please. Thanks :-)

  10. terieLR 09/17/2014

    Oooo... my all-time favorite garden to aspire to. I can just imagine your heavy hearts as you greet your gardens each day with hope of rains. We have never experienced drought to that extent but have always been able to water when it does threaten. We thank you for indulging us once more with the beauty of your wondrous woodland. The juvenile hummers are SO sweet. One day I will spot a nest. A dream come true...
    I am a bit perplexed by the Ostrich fern this year. Our rains have been generous but it browned out half way through the season. Anyone else experience this?

  11. Yogarow 09/17/2014

    Irvin & Pauline - 50 years! How rewarding! I'm pleased after working and playing just 4 years in my new garden! Your photos are beautiful and expertly capture your amazing gardens. Thanks for sharing!
    Michelle - love this format w/ captions under each picture! Thanks!

  12. Jaynespaulding 09/17/2014

    What a paradise! Looking at your photos gives a sense of coolness, defying the stubborn drought you are experiencing. Your choice of plants is the hydrangeas in particular. The Japanese maples are also a favorite of mine...would love to see more photos! Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden and photos!
    Michelle- this is my favorite format. Works well with my iPad and can easily enlarge the photos. Thanks for continuing to work on this for our viewing pleasure. I open this email before all others every morning. What a wonderful way to start my day!

  13. thevioletfern 09/17/2014

    What drought? This is an oasis! Must be a mirage. Love the wildlife - my favorite part of any garden. The Myrtles are gorgeous.

  14. Nurserynotnordstroms 09/17/2014

    Irvin and Pauline I remembered your gardens as soon as I saw the first photo ,they are so inviting and a true gardeners dream. I especially love the dragonfly and the baby hummer photos. I would love to see more photos so I can get a better sense of the topography and size. I'm not sure how you have managed to keep this so lush with your water restrictions,it must be labor intensive. I hope your drought conditions change quickly to make your gardening chores more bearable,and life a little easier again. Thank you so much for sharing a piece of your paradise with me.

  15. GrannyMay 09/17/2014

    Visiting your garden again is a wonderful way to start the day. Oh walking along your maple lane or creekside garden, lingering by the amazing rhododendrons, watching for birds and bugs in your wildlife area, relaxing in your beautiful inner garden, Irvin and Pauline, thank you for sharing this! I can only imagine how hard it must be to keep this lush look under the constraints of drought, heat and watering restrictions. I do hope that the rains come before there is any permanent damage.

    We have had similar conditions (not quite so hot) so I've been watering diligently, but my hydrangeas and rhododendrons are not happy. Even my trees tops are drooping and the perennials hang their heads by the end of the day.

    Michelle, this format is very pleasing and yet, the ability to enlarge photos when I want to see the details, is more important to me. Thanks for asking for input.

  16. greengenes 09/17/2014

    Thanks so much Irvin and Pauline for sending in these pictures from your gardens. I have been wondering about your place and how the drought has been affecting your garden. Your gardens are so beautifully green and its as if when I look at them iam cooled off. These areas I have remembered quite well throughout these months because it has aspired me to work out in our woods. Thanks again!
    And thanks Michelle for all your labor! I know it must be frustratingly hard at times!

  17. lesliefarrelldelongpre 09/17/2014

    I think that you've shown what gardening is all about. You've taken the hand dealt you, and turned your garden into a paradise. No one looking at the pictures would believe the conditions you garden with. That is a testimony to your good gardening skills. What a pleasure to see your pictures. Thank you!

  18. sheila_schultz 09/17/2014

    Irvin and Pauline your gardens always make me so happy. Your canopy of oaks has served you well over the years not only for their beauty but also for their shade... never more important than during this drought and your intense and prolonged heat. Watering only 2x a week is pretty frightening in the beginning, but it is surprising how well most established plants can do! Thank you for always making me smile with the thoughtful beauty you have surrounded yourselves with.

    Michelle... I like this format. As always, enlargements would be wonderful if ever possible. I did get new glasses though, and they seem to help ;)

  19. marsha_williamson 09/17/2014

    Irvine and Pauline, your garden is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing.
    Michelle, really like the new format. Easy to view on my iPad.

  20. marsha_williamson 09/17/2014

    Ooops, Sorry Irvin

  21. Meelianthus 09/17/2014

    Hello Pauline & Irvin ~ I have revisited all of your wonderful postings. Your photography is wonderful and your gardens are some of my favorites. Such an incredible job you have done over the decades and your love for these gardens shows in every photo. Truly a beautiful place that I would love to wander thru for hours. Thank you for the visit.

  22. megfuentes 09/18/2014

    love this format! thanks for sharing photos of your fantastic garden... can only drool in envy.

  23. grannieannie1 09/18/2014

    Having just returned from California and seeing the sad state of vegetation, stunted to brown, your garden seems to be sailing along which attests to your good soil management. You also have incorporated lots of lovely color into a woodsy garden which often is sadly missing in many shade gardens. Maple Lane is a wonderful idea also. Thank you for sharing with us. I'll pray for rain for your state.

  24. grannieannie1 09/18/2014

    Oh, and yes, Michelle, having the comments below each photo is a wonderful upgrade.

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