Mar 222012
Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star'
Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star'

The first buds opening on my Magnolia (click to enlarge)



by Avis Licht – Taking a walkabout in the garden each day lets you see the changes taking place in both subtle and not so subtle ways. I take my coffee out in the morning and stroll around the garden.  This quiet time encourages me to see what’s happening, instead of just seeing what work needs to be done.

The first buds on the spring flowers seem to come from nowhere. Overnight they open up.



Lettuce protected by wire and bird netting

Beautiful red spotted bibb lettuce loves the cool weather

The little lettuce seedlings don’t mind the cool weather and are growing like crazy.


But wait, what’s this? Who ate the bok choy? I bend down and find that the tender leaves are being munched.  By noticing this right away, I’m able to protect the young plant before it’s completely eaten.  It’s good to recognize who’s doing the damage so that you can take the right measures to protect the plants.  No point in covering plants with netting if it is snail damage.  And no point in putting out Sluggo snail bait to stop the birds.  Take a look at this photo.  You can clearly see that a bird’s beak has taken a bite out of the leaf.  If you have only a few plants, try this little trick that my friend uses: plastic fruit boxes over their heads.

The Beak has eaten

Tell tale signs of bird damage - a beak bite in bok choy

Protect your seedlings from bird damage

Protecting your seedlings with these reused fruit boxes.










Early morning walks let us hear the birds singing. We’ve had a pair of California Towhees making a nest in the Manzanita bush near our deck every spring.  When it’s quiet out I can hear them rustling around under the bush looking for nest making materials. They have become so used to us that when we leave our back door open in warm weather they just walk on in to the house.  They like the cat food in the kitchen.  Amazingly enough our cats have never shown any interest in these birds.


Since it’s Spring, it’s time to start your vegetable garden in your edible landscape. Do yourself a favor and use my helpful book, The Spring Garden Made Easy.
Here is the information you need to start your Spring garden. Included is information on soil, sites, annuals, perennials, fruits and much more. This is a 20 page guide to get you started on your edible landscape. Forty years of gardening has given me plenty to share. If you have enjoyed my blog, be sure to get my booklet. Great low cost!

Spring Garden Made Easy


Early blooming tree, the Crab Apple encourages bees to come to the garden

Crab Apple, an early bloomer, brings bees to the garden



A light rain moistens the Calendula, which blooms early in Spring. The petals are edible. Use them to decorate your salad.

A little more looking around and I discover that Miner’s Lettuce, Montia perfoliata, is ready to eat.  A native plant with lots of Vitamin C it is mild tasting and wonderful in salads. According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 100 grams of miner’s lettuce—about the size of a decent salad—contains a third of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, 22 percent of the Vitamin A, and 10 percent of the iron. It’s free, it sowed itself and all I have to do is pick it!

Montia perfoliata

Delicious Miner's lettuce, free for the taking

Another plant we think of as a weed, which comes up in profusion in Spring is the wild onion. I harvest it like chives all Spring.  It has a mild oniony flavor. To keep it from taking over, be sure to dig up the roots when you’re weeding it.  Leave a little patch for your fresh early Spring harvest.

Wild onion

The wild onion though lovely in the spring can also be invasive. Keep an eye out for it spreading


Pear blossoms

Beautiful white pear blossoms lighten up the sky

My walkabout this morning had a lot going for it.  Let me know what’s happening in your garden!

  One Response to “WalkAbout – Daily Observation of the Garden”

  1. I think Avis’ idea of getting in the garden every day is very important – one that I do not follow. After I notice a big change I then realize that I am missing the subtleties . . . and my garden and Spring are one of my all time favorite things in the world! I am going to take Avis’ advice tomorrow morning!

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