Spring Colors: Some Like it Hot

Orange nasturtium

This orange nasturtium has a banana-yellow center and a lovely pair of eyelashes

Nature always wears the color of the spirit.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Unless you’re an allergy sufferer, you probably love spring. It’s a magical time in the garden when spring colors emerge from winter’s slumber while the birds sing their happy tune.

Red and Pink

 

After years of planting assorted bulbs and spring-mix seed packets, it’s fun to see the color assortment burst forth. Wrapped around the perennials, and sometimes hiding below, touches of spring color emerge. To be fair, many of the weeds are colorful too. You just have to decide what stays and what goes.

Orange

 

According to birder Melissa Mayntz of The Spruce:

Different birds are attracted to different colors. Individual bird species may see the “best” colors as indicating a food source. Other birds may be more attracted to the colors of their own plumage as those could indicate a potential mate or another bird that is surviving well.

Most bright colors, however, can be used to attract birds, with certain bird species being more attracted to particular shades.

Red and Pink: Hummingbirds
Orange: Orioles, hummingbirds
Yellow: Goldfinches, warblers, hummingbirds

Yellow

 

Interesting that red, orange and yellow are the first three colors of a primary rainbow. I think nature is on to something, don’t you?

Not to be undone green, blue and violent show up every spring as well. They’re the cooler colors, providing a lovely contrast to the heat of the spectrum. Stay tuned for their turn in the garden.

Winter Solstice in San Jose

Sunday we honored the shortest day of our year. It’s winter solstice in San Jose.

Do you know what that means?

It means that spring is only three months away!

Seriously though, you have to look a bit harder for signs of winter in California. We’ve had a few weeks of back to back rain storms, a welcome break from the drought but temperatures remain mild. Most of the deciduous trees are bare of their leaves but others remain evergreen.

Here’s a peek into the winter garden. It asks for little and gives a lot. Nature is like that.

orange cosmos buds

Cosmo buds, no sign of slowing down

orange cosmos

Cosmo in bloom

hummingbird in chinese pistache

Hummingbird in the Chinese Pistache tree

chinese pistache winter

Stripped bare of its leaves, but covered in buds waiting for spring

California poppy

I’m on the ‘every other season’ plan. All the seeds that forgot to come up last year are sending out little beacons of green delight. That’s a California Poppy on the right and to be determined seedlings on the left.

statice

Statice in bloom

pink zinnia

Zinnia. The plant looks shabby, but the flowers continue to bloom

unidentified planted objects

Unidentified planted objects

mexican sage

The Mexican Sage reminds me of a purple caterpillar

lemons

Lemon scented holidays

Here is a shot of the little tomato that could, a self-sown seedling growing from a crack in the steps. Yep…tomato plants in December.

tomato volunteer

Self-sown tomato making a go of it out of the side of the concrete steps

During this hectic time of year, I hope you can find a few moments to enjoy what nature has to offer.

Goofing Off

selfie

Selfie with Silicon Valley in the background

It’s a holiday in the US today, more specifically President’s Day.  The boys are out of school, Mike’s home from work and the sun is shining.

We desperately, desperately, desperately need the rain and this is the month we get the most of it.  That said, it’s hard not to enjoy such a clear, bright warm day.

We hiked at Almaden Quicksilver, and enjoyed the bits of green along the trails edge thanks to some recent rain.  The California Poppies are up as well.  We hiked mid-day, a terrible time for decent photos, but I hope to go back soon to snap some shots while the poppies are still in bloom.

In case you think I’m a complete deadbeat, I did a lot of digging, pruning, weeding and planning over the weekend and will share more with you later in the week.

See you then!

orange poppies

California Poppies (October 2013)

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Well I’m embarrassed! Yesterday I posted a photo thinking it was a carrot about to bloom. Imagine my surprise today to find this beautiful California poppy flowering away in the sun.

Yep! That's a Poppy

For starters, I’ve never planted poppies. It’s our state flower and we’re not supposed to pick them. I worried that if I planted poppies I would be tempted to snip a few blooms to bring indoors. I’m no law-breaker!

Closing Up Shop for the Night

We planted carrot seeds last summer. That they never grew is irrelevant. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that nature has her own schedule. When the foliage first appeared at the soil line, I dug down with a finger and discovered an orange-colored root. I was sure it was a carrot. I looked up “carrot foliage” today and it does resemble our fair flower.

Buds and Greens

It’s not that I’m disappointed to have our beautiful state flower in bloom, but that I was so convinced it was otherwise.   I snapped a few photos late in the day, but the skies were clouding over so the lovely bloom was already closing up shop.

Never a dull moment in the garden.