In the Pink of My Ocean Beach Garden

by on May 22, 2020 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

by Kathy Blavatt

May has brought out various shades of pink in my garden. These cheery blossoms nicely contrast with the green foliage, and blues skies that peek through as the gray burns off through the morning’s May gray.

Multi-colored pink Geraniums. All photos by Kathy Blavatt

The growth in my garden has been spectacular. People walking by stop to take a good look and talk with me (at 6 feet, or more). Many end up taking plants, cuttings, or seed home with them.  I have replanted a large section of my neighbor’s yard, and a neighbor down the block has redone his front yard with many of my succulents and geraniums. It is so great to find homes for my extra plants.

My cactus and aloe vera have plumped up with the spring rains, so I have been fileting them and adding them into stir-fries and smoothies.

The Opuntia Ficus-indica, the prickly pear, is a cactus species that has long been a domesticated crop plant grown in agricultural economies such as Mexico and throughout arid and semiarid parts of the world.

I carefully take of stickers off the paddles of cactus by rubbing it with a thick rag, and I use a sharp knife the aloe vera spikes. Then I cut them into smaller pieces making it easier to remove the skin and dark layer under the skin. The light green, moist jellyish inside section is the edible part that I chunk into smaller pieces to cook.

The coronavirus pandemic caused the Ocean Beach Historical Society to cancel the O.B. Wisteria Garden Party for 2020. This March was one of the best blooming of the wisteria vines ever seen! So, it made not having the party even sadder.

“California Garden” magazine cover features Ocean Beach’s Wisteria Cottage and Garden.

Amazingly, not all was lost. “California Garden” magazine put a lovely photo of the Ocean Beach Wisteria Cottage and vines on the cover of their May June Magazine and wrote a fantastic article with wonderful pictures of Ocean Beach.

Another positive for the plant world is the coronavirus pandemic has inspired a large upswing on the number of people planting edible gardens. They are worried about the food supply chain, the need to stay healthy by eating fresh produce, and working in their garden is relaxing and provides good exercise.

Some gardeners give some excess fruits and vegetables to friends and organizations that distribute food to those in need.

Victory Garden Book

The interest in home produce-gardens has sparked a renewed interest in Victory Gardens of WWII, and seed banks. A 1943, silent film made in color, that focuses in Victory Gardens, the title “Gardening for Victory,” film link is available online – and was produced by the Sacramento Bee and KFBK radio to document and promote victory gardens during World War II.

This nostalgic film first shows the garden of Mr. and Mrs. Victory Gardner’s, one of the estimated 30,000 such gardens in Sacramento county. It also shows the Victory Garden Harvest Festival at Memorial Auditorium. You are transported back in time as the filmmaker Robert Handsaker captures community gardens, a family eating their garden produce at a dinner, the victory garden committee planning the annual festival, a contest judging of the best vegetables, and the crowd in attendance.

The film inspired me to plant some more seeds. I wish I knew where they got their  seeds for the giant Zucchinis that won the contest!

Laguna Mountains

As much as I love my garden, I still like to get out in nature in a natural environment. In late April, we celebrated my husband’s birthday with a drive to Laguna Mountains. We drove up Sunrise Highway to check out Kwaaymaii Point, to look at the view toward the Anza-Borrego Desert.

Wildflowers frame view from the mountains at Kwaaymaii Point facing east toward the Anza-Borrego Desert.

The roads were almost completely empty because of Covid 19, but a few people were visiting some of the scenic lookout points.

Dainty wildflowers hug the hillside and rocks.

Most of the Spring flowers had already flowered, but there were still outcrops of bursts of color and lingering blossoms among the rocks.

Purple blossoms seen from the road.

The clean air has made the mountain sky the bluest I think I have ever seen. The clear air also made for spectacular views.

Blue skies and blue wildflowers.

There were were still areas lined with charred trees from the past fires, but new growth was starting to fill in. Some oak trees and other kinds of trees that were fairly burnt were spurting new growth, and the under-bush was filling in around them.

Our day at the mountains was a great break from home during the coronavirus pandemic and provided a pleasant birthday memory for my husband.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar KathyFan May 22, 2020 at 4:10 pm

Thank you for all your work keeping OB beautiful. It is calming to see these both online and in person.

My cacti have gradually gotten bigger over the years but have not been producing nearly as many flowers as they used to. More fertilizer or more water or both? They look green and healthy.

“redone his front yard with many of my succulents and geraniums”

Great choice, they look great, are easy to plant and spread from cuttings, and are close to zero upkeep.

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Avatar retired botanist May 23, 2020 at 3:05 pm

Always enjoy your articles, Kathy, thanks! A breath of clean air in these toxic times, indeed! :)

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