Gardening in solar, rain and lack of rain – Marin Impartial Journal


Marin Gardens got such a lovely deep bath this week that many lazy gardeners including myself have a welcome excuse to step back and let Mother Nature do the work.

My six chickens basked in the warmth of the sun that shone between showers for the past few days. They fanned out their wings to catch the afternoon rays before heading out to take a nap under the palm trees.

A few years ago they lost their gentle guardian Bada Bing, a rescued dwarf rooster who watched over them as they looked for insects in all directions around the courtyard, knowing that he was ready to accept any alien danger.

Like a talented ringmaster, Bada prevented her from squeezing under the fence to run around outside the yard, resolving quiet arguments, and protecting new chicks from the older girls’ pecking beaks.

Since his death, the girls have mostly stayed in their walk-in run for their safety, but for the past few sunny days I’ve let them out and kept an eye on them.

They were so happy with the added freedom that I was rewarded with an abundance of eggs – five in a day – even though the weather is still cold and they are older.

As I walked through the garden, I noticed that the tiny translucent bells of the blueberry plants had popped up, promising delicious berries for the months to come. How long will it be before Piper, my fruit-loving terrier, notices?

Last year I showed her how to harvest a blueberry yourself. She then promptly showed me how she could harvest all of them – from around seven plants – with just a few bites.

When I pointed out a juicy brown turkey fig hung from a branch just above her nose, she immediately decided she liked figs and picked another one.

When the time comes to remodel my edible garden, I need to create a garden just for them.

I also need to consider my garden watering plans.

As the IJ reported, the Marin Municipal Water District Board has passed a resolution declaring first measures to protect against dry water.

PJ Bremier’s chickens had a lot of eggs – five in a day – even though the weather is still cold and they are older. (Photo by PJ Bremier)

According to a press release from MMWD, Marin reservoirs, which are normally 90% full at this time of year, are only 56% full.

The district has a water usage support program if you would like to arrange a telephone consultation.

MMWD suggests that “the greatest water savings can be made outdoors” and suggests the following steps to conserve water:

• Make sure you have water-saving faucets, including a shut-off nozzle on your garden hose and aerators on your faucets and shower heads. MMWD will send you aerators or hose nozzles free of charge.

• Turn off your irrigation system voluntarily. If necessary, water by hand no more than three days a week. To reduce evaporation, water before 9 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

• Consider replacing your lawn with drought-resistant plants.

• Install a smart irrigation controller that automatically adapts to weather and landscaping.

• Sweep dirt off patios, sidewalks, paths, and driveways instead of hosing it down.

• Drive to a car wash that uses recycled water instead of hand washing it at home.

• Look for leaks and fix them as soon as possible.

• Do not refill decorative fountains, swimming pools, or hot tubs until drought conditions are eased.

In the house, MMWD asks the residents:

• Replace older washing machines with a highly efficient model.

• Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with a full load.

• Take shorter showers.

• Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth.

The MMWD offers discounts on smart irrigation controls, washing machines, laundry landscaping kits, rainwater harvesting, and lawn replacement. You can see what’s available at

To schedule an appointment to have your water usage checked or to have free aerators or hose nozzles sent to you, call 415-945-1523 or email

Don’t miss any events

• Take an eight-hour course, “Plants for Pollinators and Beyond,” which will help turn a front lawn into a pollinator’s paradise. The monthly course takes place on Sunday morning from March 28th to October 17th and includes a private consultation. The price is $ 475. Register at

• Take a peek inside some beautiful homes, many of them on the coast, and listen as four architects discuss their history and the insights and choices behind each new design in a free illustrated presentation: “How a home is made: Like four partners from Robert AM Stern Architects design residences for the last generations. “The talk, sponsored by the Institute for Classical Architecture and Art, can be found on the Articles tab at


With so many of the popular home tours off the calendar this year, consider this your invitation to share the pictures and descriptions of your garden or your newly designed or remodeled Marin house with fellow readers.

Please send an email describing either one, what you love most, and a photo or two. I will publish the best in the coming columns. Your name will be published and you must be over 18 years old and a Marin resident.

Every Saturday PJ Bremier writes about house, garden, design and entertaining topics. She can be contacted at PO Box 412, Kentfield 94914, or at