Wednesday, February 27, 2013

wring buds

The Vernal Equinox will officially usher in Spring on March 20, and until then Steve and I will enjoy wring, the spring-like days that occur during winter. Winter will assert itself from time to time. I remember once when March 17 was the coldest night of our year, and the record low temps for this current week are in the 30s.

Meanwhile, our white azalea, the 'anchor' plant at the southeast corner of the garden, is covered with buds. One west-facing blossom has opened. At first glance I thought there were two azalea flowers, but then looked more closely and saw that the second was actually an African white iris* poking up through the lower branches of the azalea. 

A couple of fat freesia buds are showing hints of their purple and white colors, and look ready to burst open any day. Unfortunately, this is not true of the buckwheat for which I had such high hopes last fall, but sweet alyssum has stepped into the breach thanks to my shaking their seeds hither and yon when the flowers faded last fall.

Calla lilies are starting to unfurl against the background of creeping fig that's finally filling in the width of our chimney, as so hopefully predicted in my first blog post back in January 2010.

In the cactus and succulent bed, a tight bundle of buds is barely visible at the center of a thick leaved aloe.** Clusters of bright orange flowers will emerge at the top of a tall stalk and will last far into spring. I am especially glad to see these buds, since several years ago I almost exterminated our dense clump of aloe and saved only this one specimen.

I am surprised by some of the plants that are not participating in this virtual frenzy of budding. None of the volunteer sweet peas or hyacinth beans is showing anything like a bud, and the Idaho daffodils, though they produced a few blossoms last year, show foliage only. 

In Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost talked about how the leaves of deciduous trees look like flowers when they first emerge from their tight golden buds:
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
The buds of wring give us the SoCal equivalent of that shining hour: a week of promise on the verge of full-blown spring.
- - - - -
* The white iris is an evergreen and blooms intermittently year round with flowers that last for only one day. Years ago, Kay gave me a small clump which has spread to form a dense border along the south side of the garden. I am surprised that this plant has not been declared invasive, but the University of Florida Extension website claims that it is "not known to be invasive." Obviously they never saw how it filled Kay's north garden in spite of dense shade, or spread unkempt along a neighborhood alley.

** This is not aloe vera but a pricklier, thicker leaved cousin which I hope to identify soon.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License