When I lived in Los Angeles, I never really experienced spring. It was generally cool in winter and warm in summer, but there wasn’t that explosion of newness in April like there is here in Northern California. In L.A., there were peculiarities like 100 degrees in January that confused the heck out of my peach tree and the annual June gloom (day after day of overcast) before summer really kicked into gear. But no definitive seasons.
But other than the false spring in February that tends to fool us every year, we do have real seasons here in the foothills. Plenty of rain, hail, frost and the occasional snowfall in winter, blistering hot dry days in summer and wonderful green springs and red-gold autumns.
The coolest part of spring is seeing my garden come to life.In particular, I am utterly enamored of tulips. I’ve never had tulips growing in my very own garden. When we pulled out our lawn and replaced it with gravel pathways that meander through flowerbeds filled with hardy water-stingy plants, tulips were included in the design. The colors are just so amazing and the flowers are so long-lasting, seeing them outside my window lifts my spirits. They are such a wonderful messenger of spring.
Another delight this spring was the appearance of a mystery flower in my front yard. I’m used to volunteers popping up. Red pyracantha berries are a favorite of birds and their droppings sprout those prickly shrubs all over the yard. I even have a 25+ foot tall valley oak tree in the back yard that wasn’t here when we moved in. According to the local Master Gardeners mystery plant is a Harlequin flower from a sparaxis bulb.
In addition to tulips, it’s always exciting to see the redbud bloom. A native shrub around here, it’s often the first color I see, its magenta flower a beautiful contrast to the dull green surrounding it. Then there’s the massive wall of wisteria that covers my backyard pergola. Our wisteria is monstrously large, its whip-like runners sometimes reaching twenty feet or more up into our redwoods. I sometimes wonder if that wisteria will be knocking on the door someday, demanding entrance.
A few more pretty photos: