After three consecutive days of rain, fring (that spring-like season brought on by fall rains) is here at last, and the narcissi are blooming on stems as tall as thirty inches. Fring is two months late this year, but well worth waiting for.
I must revise some of my optimistic forecasts for fring. Calla lilies are nowhere near ready to bloom, and I've not seen as many freesias and hyacinths as expected. None of these well naturalized beauties received any supplemental water, however. Just maybe, now that I've worked out an easier way to save laundry water, I won't be so stingy when the dry seasons start (generally in that month when certain eponymous showers are supposed to "come your way").
When our earliest and most inconsequential rains came, I had sown buckwheat to stand as a freesia cover, but it did not start sprouting until last week. Then it looked very much like the volunteer nasturtium seedlings that are coming up everywhere. I went on line but could not find a close-up picture of buckwheat seed leaves, and so Steve and I visited the nearby garden where buckwheat had been blooming last May. Sure enough, there were identifiable sprouts bearing their first true leaves as well as the original pair of seed leaves. Now I can tell the difference -- nasturtiums are the ones with the white dot on each leaf (a characteristic retained by their largest adult leaves).
I feel very lucky to have any buckwheat at all. Several on-line sources talk about planting the seeds an inch deep, whereas my seed packet recommended a mere quarter of an inch. With 200 seeds on hand, I had just thrown them on top of the perma-mulch, hoping that a sufficient number would find their way into cracks between Chinese elm leaves and stay viable during the weeks without sufficient rain. I still have about 50 seeds, and will plant them one each deep if all else fails. But if the buckwheat follows our nasturtiums' fine example, it will also be volunteering next year.
In spite of being so preoccupied with buckwheat, I have noticed that some of the tallest freesia leaves are sticking up through a clump of dogbane which is covered with fuzzy buds. This will create a lovely mixed bouquet if both are bearing flowers at the same time. So the same kind of effect I want to create with buckwheat and freesias is happening right under my nose. Maybe I should start some dogbane cuttings to fill in when the freesias fade.
Other stars of the fring garden include a promising bromeliad 'pup,' scads of volunteer sweet peas, refreshed succulents, violets sending out runners, and the inevitable oxalis -- daring me to weed it out of the parking strip to make room for the sweet alyssum that's on its way.