Summer Squash Patties

Given that I’ve been buried alive in summer squash, I’ve become very adept at finding the best recipes to utilize it. Other than breads and cakes, squash patties are one of my favorite ways to cook them up. You can find all sorts of variations including substitutions for the plain breadcrumbs with panko or herbed breadcrumbs. I tend to use plain simply because I can toss leftover bread into the Cuisinart and then freeze plain breadcrumbs to have on hand. Like potato patties – use them for brunch or dinner – with ketchup or applesauce – versatility is the word here.

Although the basic recipe doesn’t call for it, I take the pan I’ll be frying the patties in and first sauté the onion, peppers and anything else (think shredded carrot, bits of broccoli) I might want to toss in. I also melt that 2 tablespoons of butter that brings just the right amount of richness to the mix. Scrape it into the pattie mix; re-oil the pan and away you go. This recipe is very adaptable. My neighbor likes to make it using half potato and half summer squash. She tells her hubby that they’re potato pancakes and avoids any funny looks she’d get if she admitted they were squash.

Summer squash patties


2 ½ cups grated Summer squash

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup bread crumbs (a dash of salt and pepper if you use plain breadcrumbs as I do)

 1/4 cup minced onion – raw or sautéed, your call

Optional 1/4 cup minced pepper

*for mock crab cakes add 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning


In a large bowl, combine grated Summer squash and breadcrumbs. Toss with a fork to break up any clumps. Add eggs, salt and pepper and mix again. Then stir in your sautéed onion, peppers and melted butter  and mix well. Shape into patties – most times I just grab my large ice cream scoop, scoop a tightly packed bit of mix (use the side of the bowl to help pack into your scoop) and then flatten it in the pan with the spatula, tapping around the sides to give it a more solid edge. Fry patties until golden brown on both sides.

You can tell from the bits that I use butter, not oil, in the pan.

I’ve gotten cavalier with this recipe and just eyeball squash to breadcrumbs and sautéed veggies. Too many veggies will be tasty, but the patties will break when flipping them over. You can simply sauté the mixture as if you are making hash browns if you want to add more sautéed veggies than the recipe calls for.

Above is the last batch I’d dropped off to our Senior Center – Sunburst yellow squash, Zapollo Italian white pattypan, a few Horns Of Plenty and these strange looking Italian Tromboncino Zuchetta.  The Tromboncino remain tender when harvested up to 3 feet long (they will grow more than six – Territorial seed Tromboncino Info ).

Now that I have a season of growing this Italian Trombocino Zuchetta under my belt, I understand why one gardener had written that he was getting an old swing set and covering it with fencing wire to use as a trellis for his squash. I’m still so very enamored of it. It’s pretty, takes off and is the very definition of prolific – very resistant to squash vine borer for folks who have that problem. It has many aliases, depending on the seller – Climbing Zucchini Tromboncino, Trombocino, Zucchetta, Zucchino or Zucca Rampicante, Italian Trombone Squash, Cucurbita moschata ‘Tromba d’Albenga’. Some seed sold has a more pronounced bulbous end with thinner neck – not my preference. As only the bulbous end has any seed, the bigger neck variety is a more versatile vegetable.  Seeing the Cooks Garden photo, I’ve decided finding the right summer squash soup is next up: Cooks Garden Tromboncino.

This post is participating in the global  Sundays in My City at Unknown Mami – some of the folks go out and about and do things other than garden or cook  and take fantastic photos (ok, I do go out and about as well but haven’t been dragging the camera along enough).

Californians – Murphys Dis de los Muertos is November 3 & 4 – if you can’t book a place in town, Angels Camp is just 9 miles/10 minutes down the highway.

Apologies to those who got this in email with no pictures – I was a tad to quick on the “publish” key.

A few shots to Share

Just a sharing a few shots this week.

Praying Mantis – the magical aphid eater.

Can you find him?

Camouflage master – this one was hanging out on the dry leaves.

Woo Hoo – we had rain one day. Living on a dusty dirt road, it was so great to have everything get washed off. The rain also brought some lovely clouds.

Love that this town was so determined to have a library that they fundraised and community volunteers built their own in 1994.  Murphys Volunteer Library is now a full service branch of the Calaveras County Library system. Local volunteers assist day-to-day library activities and the non-profit Murphys Volunteer Library  Inc continues to fundraise to expand and improve its available services. It’s a wonderful little library.

I’ve mentioned Mark Twain and the jumping frogs of Calaveras County – the library’s frog.

A well tended memorial garden on the library grounds.

Don’t forget – if you can get out to Murphys (about an hour and 15 minutes from Stockton), our Dia de los Muertos is Nov 3rd and 4th – you can like the Facebook page here.

This post is participating in Sundays in My City.

It’s the Squash Gremlins!

Stripe has leapt into the swimming pool!  I let it have water; I let it feed after midnight, oh noooo!

Italian Trombocino Zucchetta Rampicante – that’s five you see in the one square foot-ish area of vines. This photo posted a few weeks ago shows a baby squash growing right along a hands width from the larger. I’d harvested that squash two days later for the photo here  – showing it on a 20 inch napkin. The neat thing is the squash is very good a bit larger, quite a bit larger, than other summer squash. Even the seed companies tell you it can be harvested anywhere from a few inches to 3 feet long. In There are no seeds in the neck, only in the small bulbous bottom.

Dark shots as I ran out at 7:30 pm to get a few more for this post. I’m thinking this squash could solve world hunger. On the right side of photo you’ll notice that the squash are growing on the vine only about 8 inches apart from each other and there’s another forming off to left. When I grew Tuffy acorn, I was lucky to get two per vine. This roots as it grows so the number of squash per vine (plant) is just limited by the length of your season. For gardeners, don’t let the white flower fool you – I have gourds growing in that area as well.

They are everywhere.

My previous shots of the garden were from the other side. For the bed in the foreground, it’s Maranka gourd, Trombocino squash and lemon cucumber (filling right third of the bed and growing out).

It has a stronger zucchini flavor than the Zapallo or Sunburst, which are both mild. Stays firm and tasty sautéed. It can be grown as a winter squash. At the various garden forums and blogs, unanimous love for it as a summer squash is professed. As a winter squash it has some supporters while others prefer Butternuts, acorns and pumpkins for winter squash flavor. The way this thing is multiplying, there will certainly be some I can test out later in the season.


Hands down – Sunburst is my favorite summer squash. If there could “be only one” this would be it. I love the mild flavor, the stable texture and that you can use it at all different sizes. The baby ones raw dipped in a bit of Marie’s chipotle ranch salad dressing are the best. If I miss one and it gets really large I’ll scoop out the seeds and grate it for Spiced squash bread, chocolate squash bread or squash patties (think potato pancakes made with grated squash). “It’s the earliest (and reputedly most productive) of the yellow scallopini, an AAS winner. Can be picked from baby size up to 8 inches across without losing its tender, buttery flavor” – from the seed packets and positively true. It’s so much earlier and so incredibly prolific, that until a week ago I thought the Trombocino was a dud (boy, was I wrong!). You’ll notice I don’t grow regular zucchini logs or green “8 balls”; not a fan.  I grew ‘Horn of Plenty’ sweet yellow crook neck summer squash this season, and it’s one for the ‘eh’ file. It can become a bit watery when cooked and the seed area in relation to the squash is large. It‘s quite pretty and ok flavor wise, just not the star the others are.

Italian Zapallo white scallopini is firm when cooked and has the most marvelous shape. Imagine this one with the top cored off, a bit of stuffing in the center, and the lid and placed back on. So beautiful.

Shoshana’s gift all of Godzilla Butternut seed and seedlings are really coming along.

The Butternut squash is only planted in the front third of the bed – I keep pulling the vines out and down. There’s nothing below this bed, so it can grow as long as it wants.

Dealing with the bounty a.k.a. my freezer is my friend. With the proliferation of vegetables piling up – I look for the easiest ways to preserve them. Here are the Cherry 100 tomatoes ready for freezing. Just rinse off, let dry and freeze.

The tray for initial freezing is useful as 1 – I don’t have a flat open space in the freezer and 2 – to prevent me from spilling the tomatoes all over the floor when I open the freezer door.

A friend raved about her Food Saver vacuum sealer for over a year before I finally broke down and bought one. I am so glad I did.

Frozen cherries ready to throw into a sauté or on top of a pizza come winter. I like a few green ones for tart; they’re all ripe enough to be soft, no hard nuggets allowed.

When I last made the Summer Squash Spice Bread , I set up my little assembly-line with four bowls for dry and four bowls for wet plus pans ready for four recipes. It’s so easy and so fast. Set the oven to start at 25° higher so the temp doesn’t drop too low when you add the four pans. Reset it to 350 after 15 or 20 minutes. Grab the flour and dump 1 1/2 cups in each dry bowl – and so on down the line each ingredient. Just make sure the dishwasher is empty before you start.

 Now the thing about the Food Saver vacuum sealer is that it’s powerful. My original thought in getting it was that I love home-baked breads and muffins and also enjoy stocking up on bagels and bakery breads at Costco. Imagine my surprise when, not being one to read the directions coupled with the hour and half drive through windy one lane mountain roads plus meeting a friend for shopping and lunch, I took my marvelous new machine out-of-the-box, placed a loaf of Costco hard crusted bakery bread in a bag and hit seal. Vroom, it seals and pulls all air from the bag – and before my eyes my hard crusted bakery loaf shrank to about an inch high. I started laughing. I did wish I had a camera on. Then, I read the instructions and found out you have to freeze many things solid first (ooohhh); thus the tomatoes going in on the tray to freeze before vacuum sealing the bag.

The machine has a small tray to collect liquid so you can just grate your squash, put it in the sealer and go. You don’t have to parboil it first. What will happen is that the moisture being sucked out by the vacuum will prevent the seal from the adhering wherever those droplets of moisture are. Solution is to toss it in the freezer for a few hours or overnight, then reseal it. You can also do this with things like blanched chard or kale leaves – anything with just a bit of moisture. When you defrost frozen grated summer squash, you’ll end up with some liquid and some squash. There are two camps – one:  those who religiously put both the liquid and the squash into their recipes and claim they don’t end up with soggy breads and two: those who only use the squash in their recipes. I’m in the latter camp, the liquid can go into a soup or on the compost pile.

Since my first garden years ago, I’ve been freezing pesto in ice cube trays. The taste has always been wonderful and fresh. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it until I saw others do it, a Homer ‘DOH’ moment – pesto is garlic frozen in olive oil, fresh herbs (basil) frozen in olive oil. So, garlic, herbs, peppers and onions are being minced, tossed into ice cube trays and drizzled with olive oil. Once frozen, into the Food Saver bag they go. Just leave the end of the bag longer and so you can open and reseal it a few times. All those lazy, tired nights – you can skip chopping and mincing and just grab the cubes. Each is about 2 tablespoons of minced herbs.

Egads, this post is a book. But, I saved the best for last. Each of these two linked videos is less than a minute. It’s really worth your time. Saveur – how to peel a head of garlic in less than 10 seconds. I did the garlic bit this morning.

It works. I took the three pound bag up of garlic, courtesy of Costco, and went at it. I did not thwack it with the heel of my hand as he did. I knew I had a whole bunch to get through and that would be painful – so I smacked it with the bottom of my bowl. Some cloves would go skittering across the floor, easily collected. It appears my bowl was not always lined up for the shaking part and I ended up with bits of garlic paper on the counter, the floor and me. It was still worth it. I would shake a little bit, pull out the clean cloves and rinse them, shake a bit more, pull out the rest. Optimum for me was two or three heads in each shaking of the bowl. This really goes fast. You are bruising the garlic, the scent is released and it gets sticky. This is my mess with the plastic bowl of empty papers and the two sticky shaking bowls. Some of the garlic will be frozen; some will be minced, covered with oil and placed in the fridge and some will be left whole, covered with oil and placed in the fridge. The bowl pictured is a bit less than half of the bag.

Trick for separating eggs.

 This one looks like so much fun. I have a coffee ice cream recipe that takes 6 egg yokes. I already have two meringue recipes lined up for the whites. Mine broke, repeatedly. I was all ready with bowls for yolks, whites, breaking and everything.

First thought was that I used the little glass cup and the bottle was sucking up the white with the yoke (which it was). For the second try, I used a saucer for the egg.  Gosh darn it, remembered something from an old cookbook and realized my eggs, courtesy of my neighbor, are simply too fresh for this method.

In really fresh eggs, the white and the yolk cling to each other. Photo courtesy of Time Life books, Eggs and Cheese. Copyright says you can only reproduce a small portion with a review, so – I really learned a lot from this out-of-print book and enjoy the recipes.

Finally, remember the date, Nov 3& 4 – Murphy’s Dia de los Muertos has a Facebook page. Above is a simple scarf for the celebration I’d decorated using an Urban Threads design.

Follow my blog easily by getting the posts sent to your email – sign up in the right column.

This post is participating in Unknown mami’s Sundays in my City, the Gallery of favorites hosted by April at The 21st Century Housewife and Alea of Premeditated Leftovers, Seasonal Sundays at the Tablescaper and Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime.

Milfiori Historic Garden Home

Milfiori is a lovely restored farmhouse that was built in 1861. The historic country retreat is now available as a vacation rental and was the site of our luncheon after the Outer Aisle food garden tour.

The gardens surrounding the home are beautifully designed to display a different vista around every corner.

A wrap-around porch is chock full of comfy seating.

Recycled  art sculpture provides a focal point in the garden.

Fresh water in the handcrafted birdbath assures a steady stream of avian visitors.

Some of the art is hidden way in the back of the property.

The old barn is truly picturesque.

My favorite thing about this garden is that weathered Adirondacks seating is popped into a shady spot every which way you turn. In the shade of the beautiful tree,

under a grape arbor,

in the shade of another majestic tree,

or, an alternative of the garden swing with a magnificent view back into the property. Perfect for curling up with a good book, making progress with a knitting project or browsing on your iPad.

This arbor must be a knockout when the wisteria is blooming in spring. There’s so much to do here between town and the mountains – Milfiori offers the perfect place for a vacation stay.

My Garden Update – harvest time is on a roll:

Heirloom tomatoes, Anaheim peppers, Raveena eggplant, Japanese cucumber.

Tromboncino Rampicante on a 20 inch napkin.

Summer squash, Sunburst scallop, Tromboncino Rampicante and Zapallo Italian pattypan.

This post is participating in UnknownMami’s Sundays in My City

Outer Aisle Foods Tour & Garden Update

Don’t you hate it when you feel guilty for not buying something – but you really don’t need, can’t use whatever that is?  Outer Aisle Foods was kind enough to open their organic farm for an informative tour, followed by a spectacular lunch of fresh foods at historic Milfiori and shopping at their store. I so love what they’re doing (they also support the grade school’s garden), but am completely buried in fresh veggies at the moment as my own garden is cranking out an abundance of yummies (above is my all time favorite tomato, Eva Purple Ball, grown by yours truly). I will be back to the shop (they carry wonderful items other than fruit and veggies) but skulked away at the end of the day, skipping the store stop.

Outer Aisle Foods & Goods

The Calaveras County Garden Club tour was not for the faint of heart. Reports were 106/107F degree temperatures – my car registered 110 by the end of the tour!  But, gardeners can be a crazy bunch, and quite a few of us donned sunscreen, hats and comfy shoes to go check this out. I’m glad I did as Eric has been growing for 25 years and had so many good tips to share – he’s quite the advocate of sustainable farming, pointing out his consistent use and choices of cover crops. Diligently following the rallying cry of organic gardeners everywhere  – “grow the soil” – he’s created a beautiful Eden in the midst of our critters, bugs and scorching summers.

With our heat, it does take a lot of water and shade cloth. That’s potatoes with the white flowers in the foreground; they plant a cornucopia of various varieties.

Outer Aisle Foods is also a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture – where locals sign up for weekly or bi-weekly deliveries of fresh produce, fruit and more;  a “Farmer’s Market in a Bag”. CSA is a popular concept across the country – support local small farms by committing to share in the abundance of their efforts as well as share in the risks farmers face.

He shades his peppers (I’d meant to add shade cloth to my beds, even got the shade cloth out of the garage – but then it got soooo hot and, well, you know how that goes).

So that’s what you do with excess summer squash you let get too big – anchor the shade cloth 🙂  (101 uses of summer squash – we’ll have to start a comment thread on the topic.


And there certainly is a lot of shade cloth to anchor.

Basil is protected from the relentless sun with row covers, and the covers extend their cool season growing. For an easy how to on hooping home vegetable beds, see my instructions , more info and a good photo here.  Eric was happy to share his information on rodent trapping (note open space surrounding the farm), but with the heat – we left the trap inspection for another day.

Pinterest  fans have seen many variations of the angled vegetable trellis – including those made from cattle panels and pallets (check my “likes” for trellises). The lemon cucumbers are easily harvested by walking down the row and collecting the fruit. No digging around amidst scratchy leaves required.

Showy pollinator attracting flowers like tithonia and sunflower border the vegetable plantings.

Garden Update

Cook, bake, eat, freeze and share with the neighbors – the garden is hitting full swing.


To do list includes freezing up Sunburst squash and about 7 portions each of kale and chard.

Happy chard nestled in the shade of tomato plants.

Young Italian Trombocino Zucchetta Rampicante (note that rampant is part of the name) provides an afternoon napping place for a paper wasp (they eat bad bugs, so keep em happy).

Love small sugar pie pumpkins and the first ones are almost ripe. This is my absolute favorite winter squash.

I didn’t get all the tomatoes staked (that’s what the remaining roll of fencing is for) and a few plants are languishing, but I am loving my garden. Renee’s Garden Portuguese Garden Kale gets stars for it’s heat resilience, productivity and tasty sweetness. Note these photos were taken on a 106 degree day – the garden is much hardier than the gardener (I just let it wilt and do some extra watering at night).

I’ll share more on Milfiori Historic Country Retreat in my next post.

This post is participating in Unknown Mami’s Sundays in My City and the Gallery of Favorites hosted
by April at The21st Century Housewife and Alea of Premeditated Leftovers.

Summer Squash Spice Bread

The garden’s cornucopia of fresh veggies and herbs has begun – and that makes me one happy camper. I’ve begun searching my favorite recipe sites to ensure I have a diversity of flavors to apply to the bounty.

The Sunburst squash is absolutely delicious simply harvested small, cut into wedges and served with a creamy spicy dressing. However, all the jokes about people leaving summer squash on their neighbors’ doorstep exist for a reason.  With the right conditions, summer squash is prolific. My Sunburst and Zapollo (Italian white pattypan) are doing me proud.

So, how does a gardener go about making Zucchini bread?






Six: Sieve through recipes, books, magazines;  wander the web. Today’s winner –  Zucchini Spice Bread from

Seven: Bake

I made minor adjustments to her recipe.  First, I used smaller pans instead of making one large loaf. In my corn muffin post (also adapted from Martha) I passed along the tip to open the dishwasher, place the pans on the open door and spray there (next wash and the inside of that door is cleaned off); then tip the pans over to let any excess oil drain off while mixing the recipe (tip originally from NordicWare’s site).

Lining the pans with parchment (long side only see photo) is something I’ve been doing with the tea breads. Place the parchment in the oiled pan then lift and turn it over so the batter side has some as well.

Spiced Summer Squash Bread (slight adaptations from Zucchini Spice Bread from

Oven 350 degrees

1 large pattypan summer squash (to yield 1 3/4 cups when grated)
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup walnuts broken into large pieces

Ready your pans (3 mini loaves or one regular loaf pan).

The major change I made was that Martha’s folks didn’t drain their zucchini. I grated my squash in moments with my small food processor. You could use any grater with larger holes (no micro-planers – you’d end up with slush). Sprinkle the ¾ tsp salt called for in the recipe into the squash and place it in a double layer of cheesecloth, wring it a bit and leave it in a colander while mixing the rest. Skip this step if you let your squash grow really big as it will be a bit drier – you can tell if you grab some of the grated squash and squeeze – if water come out, then drain it.

Whisk together sugars, oil,butter, vanilla, and eggs.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt together.

Wring the squash again thoroughly as the salt will have drawn more of the liquid out. I’ll note here, my final loaf was VERY moist although I’d squeezed out at least a cup of liquid from the squash and not added any extra liquid to the recipe. Wondered if her folks also did the squeeze thing but forgot to mention it.

Place the squash in with the flour mixture and use a fork to break up the squash clump and incorporate it throughout the flour mix.

Stir in the egg mixture then the walnuts – just to combine well (never ever over mix tea breads or muffins).

Pour into the prepared pans; lightly sprinkle the tops with sugar if you like.

 Bake 25 to 30 minutes for small pans, 45 to 55 minutes for a regular size loaf.

Cool 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack, then roll over to top side up (with a towel or mitt, it’ll still be pretty warm). Don’t you love how all the recipes say cool completely? Really, does anyone? My personal recommendation is to dive into it while it’s warm – don’t burn yourself, but go at it. This is truly a wonderful loaf with just the right amount of spice.

This post is participating in UnknownMami’s Sundays in My City; the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, hosted by a bunch of folks including April at The 21st Century Housewife and Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and My Meatless Mondays .

Tuolumne Master Gardener’s Garden Tour

Last Sunday, I joined a friend for the Tuolumne master gardeners’ garden tour. For those of you not enamored of gardening, this post may get a bit long. The photos are simply “quickly snapped records”. First up (below), the demonstration garden in Sonora:

Purple coneflower, Echinacea – This is something I did start seed of; we’ll see if they get big enough by fall to survive the winter,

Woolly yellow yarrow, Achillea tomentosa – Stopped by Murphy’s nursery and picked up one of these as it looks like a great dry garden addition.

Walking onion – Mentioned I’ve been looking at getting some of these and was generously handed a ripe seed head.  They’re called walking onion as in addition to the bulb in the ground they form small bulbs at the end of their stems. These then fall to the ground and grow; thus your onion plants walk or travel across your garden.

Debated about including this picture, but I have a few friends who’d like to see it. That monster shrub smack dab in the center is a butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii). Most of us keep them as a small shrub.  I think Sunset recommends cutting them to two or 3 feet each winter. The other point of interest for the crafting folks is the partially completed drinking fountain. You can see a bit of rebar, the wire frame and that they’ve been mortaring stones from the base up.

The community garden in Twain Harte planted pollinators all around the fenced perimeter with herb and flower beds beautifully done within. For anyone in that neck of the woods I understand they still have raised beds available for rental.

I want to remember the blue oat grass as it looks precisely like blue fescue although double the size. Mixing the two could be interesting.

Now we’re into the private gardens. These folks used seven hoops on their beds, where I used only four. I think it’s a smart move on their part as it’s a much better support for row cover in winter when snow might weigh it down.

Love horsetail, but I have no plans for a water feature as that would be a sure lure for the larger critters I’m not looking to attract my garden.

This is another ‘note to self’ picture. I have small hardy passion vines (Passiflora caerulea) that I’ve been nursing since digging bits up from my previous home.  Nice to know if I move them off the porch (but keep them close to a structure), they may survive.

Although red-hot poker (“torch lily, Kniphofia – also called tritoma) is on my list of plants to get, I’m liking the yellow these folks used in quite a few places. My absolute fav is a stunning red I’ve seen locally.

My little seed started Gaura Whirling Butterflies are just one wispy fragile stem. It will take more than a few years for them to reach this size. But, when they do they are one of the re-blooming stars of hot, dry summers.

I actually love Mexican Evening Primrose (Oenothera berlandierii). For awhile in California it was overdone and in the warmer zones it takes off like a pernicious weed. My gardening friends in the Bay Area would shudder at the thought of planting it.

If I ever get my garden in (loud sigh, forget “Hawaiian time” the guy I’d hired for some things is on “Molasses time”) need to remember that something like a birdbath/feature in the middle of a large flower clump (daylilies, hemerocallis) is an easy “pop”.

Although they do take a bit of water to look good, we saw Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum superbum) in pretty much every garden visited. They have a strong scent (a reason why some folks won’t plant them) which helps them survive our various critters. My phormiums (big spiky things) bit the dust a few years back. This garden is a tad lower elevation with a bit more warmth in the winters.

Easy to ignore, this hillside is the result of someone carefully killing off all the weeds (no small feat out here with everyone close to constantly weedy open space) then carefully putting in irrigation and planting this tufting grass. I’m not sure which one it is – like a stipa, but stipa has a more feathery plume.

Dwarf grey santolina is another at the top of my wish list (I know High Country Gardens has one called “nana”, if I can get it from a local nursery first, I will). Lavenders are the “go to” plant in this area, so they’re easily found in all varieties.

Trailing rosemary really takes off here, if you don’t let it get woody, it’s a great culinary herb with beautiful small blue flowers.

Manzanita branches (abundant when you clear a space for planting) are the railings.

If critters don’t chew through the above ground irrigation lines, each of those plants should triple in size resulting in a many hued hillside. Critters chew through them underground as well, so you’ll see many folks leave them where they have easy access. For my meager beds and planting, the plan is PVC for all the main lines as once in, they’ll be so much less maintenance (some, but less).

Note to self about heuchera, hydrangea and phlox (plus I like the birdhouses, although mine are always occupied and birds do their business where they live, not a pretty site).

People in this region do go to lengths others don’t have to in order to grow their favored plants. I’m thinking this would be great with climbing vines.

Hiding the propane tank plus the wood, rebar and filler method of easy stairs I’ll most likely resort to on the sloping sides of my house.

More shastas with lavender, that’s Julie – my master gardener “tour guide”  in the hat (not sure I’d have found my way around the recesses of Twain Harte without her).

Berberis thunbergii (a barberry) with copper carex. If you ever watch Bing Bang Theory and see them leafing through comics in harmony – “got it, got it, got it, got it, got it, got it, got it, got it, got it, got it), I have a similar mantra – “had it, killed it, had it, killed it, had it, killed it, had it, killed it, had it, killed it”. Keeping potted plants alive in summers that tap 100s for weeks is not an easy task (see molasses comment, intent was never to try to keep them in pots for years). These have both met that fate. Won’t let myself get another until the beds are in.

For locals, the Calaveras County Master Gardeners are available to answer our questions.

 This post is participating in Unknown Mami’s Sundays in My City (where everyone else is substantially more succinct than this post!).