Garden Photo of the Day

Spring amidst drought in Irvin and Pauline’s garden in California

Delicate spring snowflakes are the first flowers to bloom in spring. They self-seed and their delicate flowers and foliage disappears by late spring as bulbs go dormant.

It's been awhile since we've heard from Irvin and Pauline Faria out in Carmichael, California! Irvin says, "We received some wonderful news about “Pauline’s Garden”. She was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the California Garden Clubs, Inc. for an “Outstanding Private Garden”. We are facing the fourth year of drought. As of April 1, 2014, the measured California statewide water content of the snow pack is at only 18% of the historical average. This is the third driest moment in 119 years of record keeping. Water managers are currently making science-based decisions on efficient use of water. For the moment, water use for home gardens is restricted to two days per week. In that regard, we are applying at least two to three inches of mulch throughout the garden in an effort to moderate soil temperature extremes and slow evaporation. Spring has arrived early with temperatures in the high 80’s this week. The drought conditions have confused the normal blooming timing cycle for trees and plants. For the moment trees are our biggest concern as their new foliage is beginning to show." Always a gorgeous pleasure, Irvin and Pauline. Congrats on the much deserved accolades!

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Snowflakes up close show their beauty in motion

Always the favorite tree in the garden, a 'Katsura' Japanese maple is one of the first trees to come out in the spring. Its beautiful orange spring color changes to golden-yellow during the summer.

Framed by an arbor, a Western redbud (Cercis) opens its brilliant clusters of flowers.

Each year the pink buds of our dogwood trees open into spectacular profuse flowers announcing the beginning of spring. Here a pink dogwood, framed by Japanese maples, is beginning to display its foliage.

'Muraski kiyohime' Japanese maple with new yellow-green foliage. Fall colors become blends of yellow-orange.

Throughout the garden iris are now in full bloom

Sprays of spherical, two-seeded red berries of heavenly bamboo (Nandina) add a crisp feeling during a morning walk through the garden.

Azalea is paired with delicate maidenhair ferns

Azaleas are in full bloom and contrasted with horsetail

Azalea are global plants of the garden. Here a pink azalea adds charm in the early spring

The stone lantern is softened by soft maidenhair ferns.

Our task this summer will be to preserve the Japanese maples of the garden

View Comments


  1. perenniallycrazy 04/02/2015

    Yay! I am always happy and delighted to see Pauline and Irvin's magical garden. GPOD is never complete without its photo updates. It seems that your garden is thriving inspite of the huge environmental challenges you have faced. I hope to visit your garden one day. Congratulations Pauline! Well-deserved! A round of applause from all of us here.

    1. BoxwoodBarbara 04/03/2015

      Barbara ex Stemmer House
      Lovely color combinations, but beware nankin, an invasive plant that can only be eradicated by brute force, once established.

      1. BoxwoodBarbara 04/03/2015

        Sorry, I meant to type "nandina."

  2. jerrysiss 04/02/2015

    Good luck with your task on saving the Maples. Here in Ohio you don't see such a variety. Beautiful woodlands-like property

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/02/2015

    Ah, Pauline and Irvin, wouldn't we all like to take a turn trading places with your frog sculpture...just sitting and strumming without a care in the world and surrounded by so much beauty. His backdrop maple is captivating with it's generous branching and oh, so tiny, delicate leaves. Congratulations on the well deserved award and sincerest well wishes in being successful in keeping all your beloved plants alive and thriving.

  4. NCYarden 04/02/2015

    YES! Please preserve the Japanese maples. And actually everything else too. But I get it, as the Japanese maples are my favorites. Azaleas and maples are a staple in my garden as well. Just curious, of the JM cultivars you have, do you have a favorite?
    I always enjoy seeing your beautiful garden. Love the woodland setting. I am pleased to see how well you are maintaining it under such dire weather circumstances. I hope you get a break soon enough.

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/02/2015

    So great to see your garden again. We've been so concerned about the drought in California. Everything is gorgeous, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the gorgeous new fern fronds growing tall in front of the redbud.

  6. wGardens 04/02/2015

    As always, fabulous photos of a FAVORITE garden! I just love the pot combo of the azalea and maidenhair ferns. Everything looks wonderful and could never guess your drought issues. Best wishes for a successful garden this year. And congratulations for your MUCH-deserved award!

  7. janeeliz 04/02/2015

    Hello Irvin and Pauline.Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos of your garden with us. It is hard to imagine you are dealing with a drought; everything looks so healthy. I wish you well in protecting it all. From the delicate snowdrops, maidenhair and other unfurling ferns, your luscious azaleas, gorgeous assortment of trees in their spring foliage, it is simply EXQUISITE! Definitely worthy of your award...congratulations! What is that little purple gem to the left of the horsetail and fern..a bletilla (sp.?)

  8. GrannyMay 04/02/2015

    Congratulations for winning the Certificate of Recognition for your garden, Irvin and Pauline! From the photos you have shared with GPOD, we can see the award is most definitely well deserved. In spite of many challenges, including severe water shortages, you have created a beautiful haven for people to enjoy and plants and animals to thrive in.

    I hope that the measures you are taking will be sufficient, through the worst of the summer heat, to keep your beloved trees going. Changing weather patterns are threatening to cause new problems for all of us who garden. Yet, we gardeners are natural optimists and create opportunities from disasters. Best of luck to you!

  9. user-6891665 04/02/2015

    Very beautiful. Congratulations

  10. GrannyCC 04/02/2015

    Congratulations on your award. You certainly deserve it for all your hard work in your beautiful garden. I love all the Japanese Maples. For some reason I have never had much success with them but they certainly thrive in your woodland setting. I hope they survive this drought.

  11. sheila_schultz 04/02/2015

    Congratulations Pauline! The award for 'Outstanding Private Garden' certainly belongs to your magnificent gardens that have been created with so much love. They always make us GPOD'ers happy!

  12. thevioletfern 04/02/2015

    A-MAZ-ZING as in ZING! I don't need Spring to arrive here (which it hasn't), because I just experienced the ultimate spring in your absolutely perfect garden!

  13. Meelianthus 04/02/2015

    Hello Irvin & Pauline ~ Your Spring gardens have such peace and beauty and I always enjoy. I continue to be very anxious about the terrible CA drought and what it means for gardeners and people in general. I hope your gardens will make it thru another hot summer. Mulch is a huge savior for the gardens so hopefully that will save things along with your appointed watering schedule. WA state where I am located is at the beginning of another dry year, although not nearly as severe as your area, we have very little snow pack this year, shrinking rivers, and only small amounts of rain which will all lead to drought this summer. I guess we gardeners have to work extra diligently to save the things we cherish. Your gardens are so beautiful and perhaps the fact that they have been in place so long will save them. I hope you will continue to share their beauty with us and thanks you both.

  14. Cenepk10 04/02/2015

    Totally hard to believe that garden is experiencing drought.. Looks lush and gorgeous…Enjoyed seeing !!!

  15. Nurserynotnordstroms 04/02/2015

    Irvin and Pauline,your gardens are one of the many I so love on this great blog,such beauty and perfect combinations. I am a huge fan of ferns and Japanese maples so naturally I would love your gardens. Pauline you you are so deserving of the award for "Outstanding Private Garden"I am thrilled for you. It was such a wonderful treat to see your gardens again today.

  16. user-7007327 04/02/2015

    Just beautiful. The maple is stunning.

  17. foxglove12 04/03/2015

    So beautiful! Congratulations on the award. The proof this is an award winning garden springs from the photos. My favorites are the snowflakes and the lantern. Great job and well deserved award Pauline.
    I just arrived north of Sacramento yesterday. I was delighted to see the thriving peach, olive, almond orchards and wild flowers in the fields along my drive. Beautiful in April. Let's pray for the well needed rain to get them through the summer months. I'll do my Seattle rain dance while I'm here. ?

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