Today I bought showy milkweed, silver bush lupine, sticky monkeyflower, scarlet bugler, evergreen currant, Sonoma sage, California skullcap, California goldenrod, and two rather large trees that I'm going to have trouble figuring out places for: California buckeye and California bay laurel. The bay laurel, in particular, was a somewhat unrealistic purchase. But it was only $4, so if I can only grow it for a few years before it dies or I have to kill it for lack of an appropriate spot for it, so be it. In the meantime I'll at least get a few years of enjoyment. (And apparently it sometimes reacts to being poorly located by just staying tiny for a very long time, so maybe I'll get lucky and manage to turn it into a permanent dwarf somehow?)
It's always interesting trying to plan a garden while having no idea what plants I'll end up with. Native plants are not easy to find, and there are many species I found once at some point years ago but have never found again since. So I make long lists of plants I'd ideally like to find, then buy whichever ones I can find that are on the list. Today one of the nursery owners saw me with my list and said, "You look very organized and on task." I agreed. I study better for native plant sales than I ever did for exams. I take native plant sale studying very seriously. The bay laurel was not on my list, though. I disobeyed my list and bought it anyway.
There was a native-plant tea-tasting booth at the plant sale. I tried a native blackberry tea. The woman at the booth made it extremely weak, so it mostly just tasted like water. I've never met a tea that I liked the taste of, though, so the taste of water was an improvement.
Also I inexplicably volunteered to bake my mother's birthday cake this year. This was not sensible; I have neither much free time this week nor much knowledge of how to bake cakes. But I do have a good head start on the baking; I actually already baked the actual cake. What I need to do now is extract the second half of the cake from the pan without breaking it, then invent some sort of frosting and use it to stick the two halves together, then frost the rest of the cake, then decorate it. And then freeze it until next weekend. Hmm.
It is an orange-pecan cake, made from my homegrown oranges and pecans. This is the only explanation for why I volunteered; I must have wanted to show off my gardening skills, because my cooking skills are not generally something I want to show off. There was a conversation on Easter about how all the family's birthday cakes for the past couple of decades have been storebought, and it was entirely unnecessary for me to volunteer to change that, but I did. Anyway, the cake now requires homemade frosting just because its other ingredients are so homemade and homegrown that it would be wrong not to continue the pattern. Even the eggs I used in the cake are from chickens that, although I didn't raise them myself, I have met them and even taken care of them for a few days; they belong to my friends Alyson and Jackie, and I house-sat at their ranch last year and fed the chickens (along with the ducks, guineafowl, goats, donkeys, etc.) The only thing in the cake that I can't claim any role in creating is the sugar. I did not grow and harvest my own sugarcane. Sorry. (Oh wait, there's also one teaspoon of baking powder in each half of the cake. I have no idea what one would even do to create one's own baking powder, but whatever it is, I didn't do it.)