The Shepherdess Rose The Prudent Homemaker

The garden is becoming rather full and lush lately. We had a beautiful, cloudy weekend, with a bit of rain, which gave me the opportunity to photograph the garden without the harsh light that it normally gets. Rain in April is extremely unusual here, but oh so pretty, and we were happy for the storm to drop the temperature 18º.

April Roses The Prudent Homemaker

Because it had been rather warm prior to the storm, the David Austin roses have bloomed several weeks earlier than normal.

April Graham Thomas Rose The Prudent Homemaker

 These are David Austin’s “Graham Thomas.”

April Garden Armilliary The Prudent Homemaker

April Garden Nasturiums 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The nasturtiums are blooming in abundance. These are all self-seeded ones that came up in January. 

April Yellow Nasturium The Prudent Homemaker

I also collected some seeds last year that I planted in pots. 

 April Garden Pomegranate and Nasturiums The Prudent Homemaker

In a more mild climate, these will bloom all summer. Here, they will die once the heat sets in. 

 April Garden Nasturiums The Prudent Homemaker

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to fill your garden with flowers, I highly recommend nasturtiums. In addition, the leaves, flowers, and seed pods (when green) are all edible (they have a sharp peppery taste). You can buy seeds for them just about anywhere you buy garden seeds, They spread out, and are also a good spiller plant for pots, hanging baskets, and window boxes.

April Beets and Chard Bolting The Prudent Homemaker

The beets and Swiss chard are bolting. It’s easy to see why they’ve been on the menu so often lately. They don’t get bitter when they bolt, but they won’t hesitate to grow 6 feet tall within a few weeks. I’ll pull some beets soon (and can them)  and plant other things in their place. I’ll also leave some to finish going to seed. All of these grew from self-seeded beets from the open-pollinated ones I planted last year.

The grape vines are filling out nicely on the trellis behind them.

April Garden Blackberries The Prudent Homemaker

The blackberries are full of blossoms. These will ripen next month. They’re planted in a space that’s a foot wide, on the west side of the house. They get afternoon shade here, which is essential in our heat to prevent them from burning. This area was originally a slope, which we cut back to the wall, and then added dirt and a low wall (to keep it to the height of the original slope, as the neighbor’s house is built higher). The narrow planter allows us to walk past the air conditioning units that are on this side of the house, and gives us some room for storage as well.

April Garden Snow Peas The Prudent Homemaker

In the same planter, I have planted snow peas. These don’t get shaded from the house, as they are further south in the planter. These are the 30-day Little White Snowpeas from Territorial Seed. They took about 30 days to germinate, and after about 35-40 days, the first ones started appearing on the vines. I normally plant Oregon Sugar Pod in the fall, which are ripe this time of year. (I actually did plant them, but all of my seedlings were munched by bugs, so I planted these at the end of January when the seeds arrived.) I planted them in two places in the garden, and the ones here are doing much better than the ones that have morning shade and afternoon sun. I also had a higher germination rate in this spot.

April Garden Snow Pea Blossom The Prudent Homemaker

In both places, I planted them below some grape vines. These are a shorter variety than the Oregon Sugar Pod, so I can harvest them now before the grapes fill in much more. Unfortunately snow peas last only about a month here before dying of powdery mildew every year, but come that time, it is too hot anyway (at the end of April, usually; I am normally harvesting a bit earlier than now) and the pods become fat and hard almost immediately.

 April Garden Snow Pea The Prudent Homemaker


April Garden Onion and Sage Flowers The Prudent Homemaker

My sage and green onions are in flower. This is a new sage plant that I put in last fall, and a new location for my green onions. I dug them from their old location and moved them here. I’ll collect some seeds and let others self-seed in this spot.

April Garden Sage in Bloom The Prudent Homemaker


I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting my garden today!


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  1. Lovely! I adore spring, don’t you? I tried to pin one of the photos because I would love to copy it in my garden but it looks like only the first photo can be pinned (or I am being an idiot; always a possibility where technology is concerned).

  2. Hi Brandy and your gardens are absolutely beautiful I have to say.

    Like me you experiment with different positions for your plants to see the results, it is surprising the micro climates you can get in just one property and how planting so other plants shade different varieties that you can get more success.

    Yourself being like us, we find it a true blessing to be able to feed ourselves predominantly from our own gardens and having the added bonus of being able to eat organically grown produce. I was looking at the cost green beans online at our local supermarket, they have now hit $7 a kg, my husband was saying ohh boy we need a break from beans but after I told him the price he said well we will freeze them and use them gradually 🙂 . After this crop of beans we will stop growing them for a while and shall eat down the beans in the freezer somewhat. We do that with most of our produce to sustain us over the winter months and also because we quite often get hail storms here. If we have all of our crops wiped out as happened in October we always have back ups till we are able to replant.

  3. So lovely! I enjoy your site immensely and look forward to each post. I’m so amazed what you’ve done in a desert climate.

  4. Brandy, I do love to see your garden pictures. I have a co-worker who wants to see your pictures too if I check them at work. Her mother had a white garden and she lost her mother about 3 years ago now last fall. She was able to move some of the plantings before they put the house up for sale. My coworker has a 100 year old historic house in the city and has turned much of the E side of the property along the property line over to the drive into the white garden, about 15 feet deep x 45 feet long.

    Here things are just starting. Some trees have buds but not enough so that you see that “haze” on the trees. Lots of green shoots everywhere. Our daffodils are up but not blooming yet…the last of our snow melted Saturday. But it is still in the 30’s.

  5. So gorgeous!
    I think i need to follow your lead and start listing everything that i’ve done, that needs to be done and where the plants, seeds etc. come from. I’m really lazy when it comes to keeping track. I keep mostly herbs instead of flowers and just a few vegetables.
    Thank you for the garden tour!

  6. I had to smile when I read this, not just because of the beautiful pictures, but because every time a question popped into my mind, i.e. “What kind of rose is that, I wonder?” you would answer it. “I wonder how she plants the nasturtiums . . . ” – “they are self-seeded.” Now I need to go add nasturtiums to my list? I know they are edible, but do you actually eat them? I would like to grow something to replace arugula in the hotter months.

  7. I would compare them to arugula in taste, but they are stronger tasting. I don’t eat them, but I have one child who likes to eat them. Some people like to use the buds to replace capers. I’ve tried growing capers (should make it in our climate, but mine died) and I’ve thought about trying the buds that way. You can toss leaves and flowers into salads. Once it gets hot, though, my nasturtiums die. If your summers stay under 100º I have read they will make it all summer.

  8. So beautiful! Thank you for the tour. Sadly, it doesn’t look like we’ll have much spring here…spring flowers were beginning to bloom and then the temperature plummeted, snow fell…and we’ve been back to winter (30s, some 40s) for a couple weeks now, unusual for April, so your garden photos are desperately needed food for the soul. Thank you!

  9. Brandy, your gardens are absolutely beautiful! May I ask, do you have any advice for finding large pots and urns such as the ones you have pictured here, at a frugal price? I am sure you have likely figured out the best source for these. Thank you!

  10. Hi Leigh!

    I had another reader ask me this recently and I am thinking it would be best if I referenced this question in a separate post, as it is likely to keep coming up. But the short answer is: Sam’s Club for most of them! You’ll want to look this month and next; that’s when I usually find them.

  11. Your nasturtiums are amazing! They look like confetti from across the garden. For some reason, I haven’t had much luck with them the past few years, but you inspire me to persevere. I noticed flower buds on my sage plants today. Thank you for sharing your garden. It’s always a treat.

  12. Thank you so much for the report on the new snow peas. I really wondered if 30 days was realistic. It sounds like it’s a little longer, and doesn’t count germination time. I still might try them, as I am always experimenting, when I have a garden again. This year, I am sharing with my sister, and we are using up leftover seeds that both of us have. We did put in some Oregon Sugar Pod II because I had a few left in the packet. I am so thankful and happy that I get to still dig in the dirt this summer.

    Nasturtiums do last all summer here, but often get covered by many, many black aphids, which ruins them, too. I have a place where I’ve often let them trail down over a rock wall, in the past.

  13. Laurie,

    I used to have trouble getting them to germinate too. The self-seeded ones aren’t very deep; they just drop seeds. I think I was planting them too deep. Eventually they grew for me! The yellow and orange have done the best (obviously) but I did get a few red “Empress of India” to grow and drop seeds.

  14. Keep in mind that it could be my climate. For here, I consider that a win. I usually find that everything I plant takes [i]double[/i] whatever time it says on the seed packet. So for it to take just a few more days was fantastic! Also, your weather will affect germination times and growth times.

  15. Breath taking. Your garden is so pretty and edible ;). It much be a pleasure to sit in the yard for leisure as well as a great place for the children to play!

  16. We are only beginning to see the first hints of spring here, so it was lovely to see your lush and beautiful garden. Those roses are gorgeious! And you have inspired me to plant more nasturtiums. Did you know you can pickle the seeds and use them like capers in recipes?

  17. You garden is absolutely lovely! You have inspired me so much over the past few years, and we are now adding grapes and more fruit trees to our property. I’ve told my husband that if you can do it in the middle of the desert, than there is no reason we can’t do it here on the east coast.

    I do have 1 question though, what do you use to trellis your grapes?

  18. Hi Brandy, your gardens are beautiful! I love your blog! Just curious your grape leaves look so beautiful and healthy. Do you cut them and use them for meals? I have a great recipe for stuffed grape leaves.(dolmas)

  19. Long time reader, first time commenter. I just had to say how absolutely stunning your yard/garden is. How I’d enjoy laying in a hammock, reading a book, and taking in the lovely sights and smells. What an oasis it must be!

  20. So beautiful! The peas are so plentiful! I have many of the same things you do. I’m just in a different zone and I’m further behind. We had a threat of a freeze (it got down to 33) and have had some issues. We are well past our last freeze date too!

    Thank you for inspiring me to garden in my tiny space over the past years. I live in a town home, my property goes back 6 feet and I have six feet on the side (corner lot). When people see my space they can’t believe that gardening in a tiny space is actually possible! I always tell them it was you who inspired me!

    Enjoy the weather!!!

  21. Brandy,
    The garden is beautiful! I also have a (mostly) white garden in part of my yard (there’s a little bit of purple). The previous owners planted it. I’ve been slowly cleaning it up and adding plants, especially white-blooming groundcovers and things with green & white variegated foliage.
    Can you tell me what variety/varieties of nasturtiums you’re growing? Are the yellow & orange ones just the trailing Jewel blend?

  22. Stephanie,

    I am using concrete wish 6″ mesh (6″ is the size of the squares). You can get it on a roll at the hardware store. It comes about 5 feet tall that way. The ones I have on the wall I got from a steel place in town and they are 6 foot tall, and come in long lengths.

  23. I am a new follower and found you through your comment on my blog.

    Your garden is very lovely with your flowers and veggies. I plant a few since it is just me.

    Have a great week.

  24. How beautiful your garden is. Here in England I can only dream of roses, we still have 3 months to wait for our first. Could you tell me, do you have problems with slugs? If you do how do you solve the problem. I put young plants out and over night they can be decimated. The best thing I have found to try and stop them eating my plants is pelleted sheep’s wool but this expensive. Thank you for your wonderful web site I have learnt so much from it.

  25. Diane,

    One of the advantages of the deserrt is not dealing with slugs and snails. If we get them, they’ve been brought in with nursery plants, but they are very rare (I have other things that eat my plants, though; pill bugs and roaches will decimiate new seedlings as soon as they come up). I’ve heard diatamaceous earth helps, but it does have to be applied after every rain, which would not be very frugal! Crushed eggshells are another option. Hopefully my readers with slugs can give you more ideas; if not, I’ve seen several on Pinterest.

  26. I have had great luck with a product called “sluggo”. It is just phosphate so it is safe for pets and people since it occurs naturally in the soil. Very simple just sprinkle it around the garden. Good luck!

  27. Thank you, Brandy and Libby, I will try both your ideas. Don’t think I’ll have to worry about slugs for a few days as it has just started snowing hard!

  28. Are the yellow roses a vining variety or can you train all roses up a wall? I have a pink rose with the same cabbage-y appearance (I don’t know the name- I bought it for it’s heavenly fragrance ;D) and never considered training it to the wall, if it’s possible

  29. They are a climbing version of Graham Thomas. They still need to be trained to climb.

    For your rose ,it will depend on how tall it can get. In warmer climates, some non-climbing David Austin roses can be trained as clibers, according to their website. But often roses are limited in height; they will only grow so tall and then stop producing blooms without being cut back.

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