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GARDEN SURROUNDINGS: April Showers Bring May Flowers

By Francesca Filanc, for Let’s Talk Plants! May 2023.

Francesca Filanc.
The author's garden in Olivenhain, CA.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Living in the time of climate change our climate here in San Diego County is continually changing.

We live in a Mediterranean Climate. That means that we are fortunate to be able to grow plants and vegetables year-round that people in other areas of the country can’t without having greenhouses. In past years we would have had little or no rain at this time of year. In 2023, measuring from January to March 15, we have had 9.11” of rain. Last year, in 2022 we had 5.90” for the whole year. My cousin shared a graph on a family group chat that shows, as of March 14, a 54’ snowpack in the Central Sierra Snow Lab. The snowpack this year is only rivaled by 1983 and 1952 at almost 70‘.

UC Berkeley CSSL

Although we are officially out of the drought, April has seen extreme weather. Temperatures dipping low and to freezing and below in some areas of our county. These odd temperatures; quite cold and extreme wind can play havoc when we have planted our spring vegetables and are looking forward to enjoying the blooms of beautiful flowering vines, such as Petrea volubilis (Queen's Wreath). I have two Petrea vines that are blooming and three that froze because of varying temperatures in different spots of the garden. It is important not to cut back plants that freeze until there is no more sign of frost. This can be a little tricky with the extreme weather patterns lately. In the case of Petrea I will not cut it back at all. When the temperatures warm up it will finally bloom its vibrant blue purple.

Lady Banks, the only thornless rose, originally from China, has had a showstopping bloom over a pergola at one entrance to the garden. I planted Petrea above to have the show of vibrant yellow and then vivid blue purple as one strolls through the garden.

I have lots of fava beans growing that I grow from seed in three different areas of the garden. I love to mingle edibles throughout the landscape. Citrus: lemons, limes, Valencia orange, for juice in winter and navel orange to eat in spring and summer can be found next to garden paths. I also have two espalier apples for eating and baking.

The wonderful thing about roses is that they are a hardy plant and actually like freezing temperatures in the winter. Coming into bloom, Golden Celebration, a yellow rose, is a stunner on Tuteurs. Altissimo, a single petal red climber has put out her first blossoms on a large pergola in the garden. Pink jasmine is still blooming. Wisteria is still a showstopper in several places in the garden.

Sadly, I have long Covid. Once a super smeller, I have not been able to smell or taste for a year. A man remarked yesterday,

“Fran, I parked my truck on the street and the smells were amazing.”
Francesca Filanc.
Fine Art by Francesca Filanc. Art inspired by nature and the universe.

Enjoy Gardening!

~ Francesca


The author, Francesca Filanc, in her abundantly blooming garden.

Artist, author, photographer, fly-fisher woman, Francesca Filanc grew up in old Del Mar and these days lives, paints and gardens in historic Olivenhain with two dogs.

Find her art and writings here:

She can be found on social media here:

Have gardening questions or want to learn more about Francie’s art? Contact:


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