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2010 Flowers in Full Bloom at Rawganique Off-Grid Homestead

This year, our garden is more delectable than ever. Years of hay mulch have yielded rich black soil that plants thrive in. The unseasonably wet and mild spring has prolonged bloom times across the board. Everything looks fresh, and the air is fragrant with subtle perfumes from showy and humble flowers alike. Ahhh, the joy of organic gardening without digging. Just pile on the mulch and sit back and enjoy the spectacular blooms that get better year after year. Visitors are often surprised to hear that the soil in our garden are created almost exclusively from spoiled hay, as our garden sits atop a ridge that used to be a gravel pit (meaning, when we moved here, there was no soil, just lots of gravel and baking hot sun).

Many customers have written to ask how our garden is doing this year, so here I am posting some photos from our garden. It's easy to do since I'm always walking around our property with a Leica D-Lux 4 and Nikon D700 in tow. You never know what's in store. So here are some photos from our garden this year. Enjoy!

Top: It's so relaxing to be in the garden anytime of year. Late spring, of course, is the most spectacular time of all. We love standing at this vantage point in the garden and take in the vista of the beauty that surrounds us.

Our peonies have grown bigger and wider each year. What a joy. The elegant blooms are both showy yet refined.

Lilies are showy, there are no two ways about it.

The pond up on the ridge is teeming with plant, insect, and all kinds of animal life.

I love climbers. They are so vigorous and good-natured, ready and willing to grow and flower without much care from us.

An unfurling rose, full of mystery and refinement.

The dazzlingly red color of Dublin Bay, a climbing rose, never ceases to elicit an awed comment or two from visitors.

Sunset is always a special time for us. The chores are done for the day, the animals are locked up for the night, and we have a moment to soak in the beauty that surrounds us. It's a lot of work running a homestead but worth it to us. The fresh-cut greens are crunchy and delicious, the fruits are amazing, and the flowers spectacular. We sit on the balcony, eat out salads, and take in the great show of colors that Nature puts up just for us (or so we selfishly think).

California lilacs are beauteous. Bees buzz heavily around their blooms. Too bad, the flowers don't last that long.

Queen Elizabeth is our favorite rose. This one is now 14 feet tall and still growing. The blooms are fragrant with subtle scents: deep and relaxing.

Honeysuckle is a favorite among birds and insects. Hummingbirds love to feast on its fragrant flowers.

While gardening is hard work, the reward is equally enormous. Here a resident hummingbird sucks on a comfrey flower.

A California lilac encore. We just love this vigorous bush.

This is the covered walkway under the lookout balcony. Many flowers, fruits, and greens line the living green wall with their blooms and fruits.

We love vigorous climbing things: we grow them all together: honeysuckle, akebia, clematis, silver lace vine, climbing hydrangea, and Virginia creeper.

We always look forward to May, when the calm water lily makes her entree for the first time each year. But this year, spring was mild and sunny and wet, and we were blessed with the water lily in April already.

The blue Himalayan poppy is showy but short-lived.