My Garden

by Diana Tumminia

January waxes cold with rain and soggy turf. My cats sleep in the garage and wait for spring.

February heralds the flowering quince bush, rosy blossoms standing alone in a dormant landscape.

What's blooming in March? Daffodils, camelias, lilacs, early purple irises, pansies, and violas.

Late March? Sakura! Cherry trees. Spring is here!!! Plants are awakening from their winter sleep.

What's blooming in April and May? Irises. Many varieties.

Hummingbirds visit, as well as butterflies. Possums sneak through the garden about ten at night. We see racoon tracks when we awake in the morning.

A Meditation Story: We often use the garden for meditation because of its serene pockets of green plants growing around benches. One afternoon, Rick sat at the back boundary of the garden on a white bench counting his breath and becoming one with the Universal Spirit. This is a particularly lovely place where one can sit with one's back to a wall of green ivy next to a small Japanese maple and sheltered by a Douglas fir tree. As he counted his breath letting go of the illusions of the world, he heard a sound behind him. Something landed in the ivy behind his back, but keeping focussed on emptiness Rick continued to relax. Again he heard the sound, and ignored it to stay in his meditation. Then something hit his head. Was it a leaf, a branch, or falling insect? He continued on breathing in and breathing out. Plop. Another object landed it his lap. What was it? A dog turd! Why was the sky raining dog turds? He waded through the ivy and peered over the fence. The neighbor boy was cleaning up his yard as per his parents' instructions. "What are you doing?" Rick said. The boy ran. A cosmic lesson? Do people try to get rid of their own "excrement" by throwing on others? When we meditate and excrement falls from the sky, is that a cosmic lesson? Shall we just be objective? Shanti (Peace).


Buddha sculpture I carved in volcanic rock.

My garden has dozens of irises of many varieties.


 Many butterflies

 Many daylilies



 More Irises



  Many insects scurry about the garden.

  Roses bloom in spring, summer, and fall


 Buzzing about, bees pollinate the plants.





 Kitties make a garden warm and fuzzy.


Twaji and Shabad, our cats snuggle

Cats, Twaji and Shabad, snuggle

Shabad is a Maine coon cat, a native cat as big as a racoon. His name means the sound of God.

By popular demand, more pictures of Twaji and Shabad.

Twaji came from a shelter at four weeks old. A blue-eyed baby that I carried in the vest pocket of my overalls. Her name means the gaze of grace.

As kittens, Twaji and Shabad patroled the perimeters and still do. Squirrels beware, and bugs are fair game.


My cat, Mukti.

His name means spiritual liberation.

My cats work to keep the garden rat-free.


Caution: Do not eat the psychedelic bugs. 


a kitten named Iris

the kitten named Iris

It's a funny story.

Twaji and Shabad found Iris in a neighbor's yard. For about two weeks, my cats would disappear under the fence for hours. They were visiting a tiny kitten a few houses down. Afterward they taught the kitten to escape, bringing her to our yard. When the kitten would not go home, we adopted her. Sorry, she has no exotic name. She was already named Iris and she took her place amongst the flowers.


Trees we planted.

 Kwansaa Japanese Flowering Cherry, spring flowers with pink flowers.

 Japanese Maples: 3 Burgundy Lace, and 1 Japanese Maple (Bloodgood), and 2 small regular ones.

 Fern Cloud tree.

 Autumn Flowering Cherry, White blossoms, but it flowers in the spring.

 One fig trees, Black Jack fig.

 Two dwarf orange trees, Valencia. One dwarf cherry tree, persimmon, and grapefruit.

 White with pink-edged camellia bush.

Other trees that were here, Gum tree,  and oleander bushes, honeysuckle bush, red flowering quince, pink camellia bush. .




Other plants


Azaleas, foxgloves, sweet basil, two passion flower vines (incensata odorata and one regular), morning glories, lots of ferns, lots of ivy, gardenia, daisies, Nandina dwarf bamboo, roses, hydrangeas, a cactus garden, nasturtiums, moss gardens, and lots of lovely rocks.


Praying mantis, lady bugs, who eats the aphids, ants who farm the aphids, and lots of others I don't know about.

Mr. Mukti and me by the California Poppies


Cats,  squirrels, lots of birds and hummingbirds, rats , possums late at night.  I have a plastic frog planted by my friend. A painted stone frog that came from Eureka where I used to have real frogs in my garden and greenhouse.

Nature Spirits In my garden, there are nature spirits there, called Devas. You have to believe in them before you can see them.