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Friday, February 20, 2004

Elms and Daffs

As you can see from this picture, the new daffodils are about ready to open in the front, street-side bed. The yellow against the purple lantana will make for a nice effect in those areas where I under-planted the bulbs inside the sprawling lantana.

I don't know if it is the rain this week, or just the lengthening days, but the large Elm tree in the front yard has started to leaf. I have never noted before exactly when this happens, but it seems early this year. We had a big storm a few days ago and now it is just a slow steady, soaking rain. Just what we need.

I am expecting the locust tree in the back to start soon. I noted the date last year and put it in my computer calendar to remind me for 2004. I am doing this with any major occurrence in the garden in order to get a better idea of what happens when. You would think after nearly 8 years I would know already, but some things still catch me by surprise.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Azalea from the Garden

Click for larger image

Wisteria gets started

As I was walking through the garden today, picking up tools and such in preparation for a large, Winter storm that was approaching, I noticed that the Wisteria had started to show its Spring coat of leaves. Just yesterday I hadn't noticed anything, but today it is obviously moving along.

I really like this Wisteria, despite its persistence in trying to get off its trellis and onto the garage. It doesn't bloom prolifically, probably due to its somewhat shady location. Each year, though, I get 20-30 long, purple spikes of flowers.

For more information on Wisteria you can visit:

The Rippingale Nursery Wisteria FAQ

North Carolina State University Wisteria Info

Pruning Wisteria

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

It is snow!

...not here in the Valley, of course, but we visited the mountains this weekend.

It was my 40th birthday on Saturday and my wife was out of town delivering a paper at a history conference., so my son and I trekked out to Palm Desert to visit my sister. Whenever we visit her we try to spend a few hours "up-the-hill" in Idyllwild. This is one of my favorite spots and I would love to have a home there, but for now, I just have to enjoy it when I can.

The town sits at around 5,400 feet, so they get snow during big Winter storms, but it usually doesn't stay too long. On Saturday, a front passed through very quickly as we walked through town, visiting shops and galleries. It started to snow hard pellets and then turned into fat flakes that looked wonderful against the backdrop of the dark green pine trees. It only lasted about 10 minutes, but it was a perfect way to celebrate my birthday. I miss the snow sometimes, so this is a great way to get the feeling without all the mess and trouble.

I do love the smell of the mountains in Winter. The odor of pine mixed with wood smoke from fireplaces and an overwhelming clarity to the air. You just feel you can breathe more deeply. I think this has as much to do with the stress-relieving qualities of a small, mountain town, as much as the clean air itself.

I know some of you will be amazed at my rhapsodizing about snow, since you are probably cooped up inside just itching to get into the garden. That to, will come to pass. Spring has almost sprung and the time for digging is quickly approaching.