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More Spring Color

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About two weeks ago, the blue iris burst out.P1000417

These came with the house.  That is, I found two very small clumps of leaves.  I didn’t know what they were.  When someone said they looked like iris leaves I transplanted them and they began to expand.  Only this last year did I get a lesson in when to feed them.  They appreciate being looked after.

Another plant which came with the house is Indian Hawthorn, now in bloom.P1000418

In the space vacated by a very overgrown sage plant (why would anyone plant something that wants to get six feet wide in a less than two foot wide strip?) I put this small cactus.  Its blooms, photographed last week, are already spent.P1000432 cactus bloomThe mesquite tree leaves are filling out.  That pale green color is appearing all over the desert areas: there’s a lot of mesquite in the area.P1000434One of the two little iris clumps turned out to be a white iris.  It is now in full bloom – but only one – while the blue ones have faded.  Obviously, this color is more finicky.  I’m hoping more attention will increase the blooms.  This one is planted outside my study window.P1000435

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What’s There to Say About Poppies?

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The poppies started showing up last week, here there and everywhere, and this week, some in our yard.P1000408

When they arrive I want to celebrate.  It’s spring.  I thought about poetry in their honor.  Could I do a riff or a twist on Wordsworth’s “Daffodils”?  It didn’t work.  The following is all I could come up with.

Gluttons for sun,
they shine it back,
closing at night.

They persist, pop up
every year, sometimes
fewer, sometimes more,

not in the same spot,
windblown annual
new every spring.

Poppies.  Spring.
Nothing more
to be said.

While poppies are the most colorful sign of spring, it is the mesquite tree that has the honor of signaling when winter is really over and there is no more concern about frost.P1000414

You can see how close I had to get to one branch of the tree to show the leaves beginning.  The apache plume, on the other hand, didn’t wait for any signal.  It went ahead and bloomed.P1000415If there are no poppies where you are, I hope the daffodils are coming up!

A Few May Flowers

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Each week there are different plants in bloom.  Some last a while, others change so quickly I can’t catch them on film.  I’d do better if I took my camera out with me on every walk.  I can’t seem to make it a habit.  Some of these pictures are plants I’ve run out to the backyard to photograph.  Others belong to my neighbors.

One of the plants in my yard which I classify as a wildflower, but I suspect many call a weed, is wire lettuce.  It is named for the fact that its leaves look like stems.  It has a very small white flower tinged with pink.  Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to capture that pink edge on film.

Wie Lettuce

Wire Lettuce

Another plant in my garden is blooming for the first time this year.  It was a volunteer; its seed must have come some distance since I haven’t seen this in any of my neighbors’ yards.  It is an acacia, and, yes, those round yellow balls are the flower, not the fruit.

Volunteer Acacia

Volunteer Acacia

I have two small desert willow plants in my yard.    They’ve only put out one or two flowers so far this year – one last year.  So I admire the mature trees in my neighbors’ yards.  On this one, you can see many blossoms, along with last year’s seed pods.   I think I have quite a few years to wait for this kind of display.

Desert Willow

Desert Willow

One plant I’ve been wanting for my yard and haven’t found a place for is cholla.  It is much better behaved and less weedy than prickly pear, so I may yet find a spot.  I love the way the flowers appear among the pods from last year.  At some point in my youth I was part of a class in colors, for clothes, in which we were told not to mix purple and yellow.  Nature missed this suggestion.  I see yellow and purple flowers together every all, and here, the purple flowers among yellow seed pods.

Cholla

Cholla

 

 

How Native Plants Behave

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primrose 2Several years ago I planted Mexican primrose.  I thought I had killed it after a year.  There was no sign of it the third year, nor the fourth.  If I had known it could still come back, I would not have planted the chamisa bush quite where I did.  But it turned out that this was just what the Mexican primrose wanted.  Native plants do not need to be spaced.  In fact, they are happier in each other’s shade.  And the Mexican primrose sends its stems in all directions to take its flowers to the sun.

Other native plants have been active.  Poppies come up where ever they choose.  This one is sharing space with a plant I know as “wire lettuce.”  It has a small pink flower, when it decides to bloom.P1000078

Yucca plants which spent years squeezed by a prickly pear cactus have taken advantage of the space in the course of the two years since the cactus collapsed in an unusually deep freeze.yucca close

The yucca is the state flower of New Mexico  There are many varieties and the legislature neglected (or perhaps refused?) to specify which one is the official one.

 

Another Stage of Spring

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The little mesquite tree in my backyard is leafing out.  I’ve been told this tree knows when frost is no longer an issue.  it is safe to plant out those tender plants now.  P1000064 Of course I am not ready.  The plants I started from seed two months ago are no where near large enough to transplant.P1000072 This mesquite tree is one of the triumphs of my uneven gardening career.  I bought it eight years ago in a seven inch pot.  I can no longer reach the top.P1000068Near the base of this tree I discovered a volunteer pansy.  Very small – it had sprouted with almost no water.  I was not expecting it there at all.  Most of the seeds from plants blow across the yard in the opposite direction. pansy volunteerNow I need to make it feel welcome – even though it is in the middle of a patch of sand.

Beginning Again, Again

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In a recent post, Marylin Warner pointed out that today, March 25, is Old New Year’s Day. She posted this information a few days ago so that readers might think about what they would like to do over from the January 1 New Year. A New Year is an opportunity to make a fresh start, to correct past mistakes and begin again. You can read her post at: http://warnerwriting.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/unfinished-business/

I was aware that March 25 is the Feast of the Annunciation, honoring the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to Mary to announce the incarnation of Jesus. What I did not know until I did some research is that there is a direct connection between the Annunciation and the old New Year.

The Christian scholars of many centuries ago understood that the incarnation of Christ marked the beginning of a new age. They set the beginning of this incarnation at conception, nine months before the birth of Jesus. Since a new age began on March 25, so must the year of the new age’s calendar, the Years of Our Lord, from which the suffix A.D. (Anno Domini) derives. To know which year it was required starting the year on the same day as the day of the incarnation.

It makes as much sense to start the year a few days after the Spring Equinox as it does to start it ten days after the Winter Solstice. Any day makes a good day for a fresh start. But I’m glad we don’t start our year on March 25. For me, the Feast of the Annunciation has a different significance. Coming as it most often does before Easter, it suggests to me that things have a way of beginning again before the last cycle is over. This is how ritual includes a whole lifetime in its rhythm of days and seasons. It is also a reminder of our human condition. We believe that one thing should end and then another can begin. Things often don’t work that way.

Whether you celebrate a new year, a new season, or a new day, take time to make something right if you are aware of something that is broken.

Spring Color

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A week or so ago I realized it was time to bring my camera on my walks.  There’s not much color in the desert, and probably won’t be until after the summer rains, but things are blooming in the neighborhood.  Of course, I didn’t remember to take the camera immediately – the purpose of walking is exercise, after all.  But a few days ago I caught up with what is happening.

Rosemary has been in bloom for some time.P1000052

One of my neighbors has two young peach trees.peach blossoms

Another neighbor lets desert marigold grow between the sidewalk and the street.P1000047

On this walk I saw my first poppy.  It’s time to watch for their feathery shoots in my yard.  I don’t expect many because it has been so dry, but the seeds will be there for next year.poppy

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