Friday Flowers

The rain continues. I had a white-knuckled drive across the valley this afternoon, with bits of flooding across the freeway. I’m happy to be home and enjoying the rain with my feet firmly planted on the ground. Flash-flooding is inevitable with so many months of parched earth.

Hopefully we can weather this storm without loss or injury. Everyone forgets how to drive on wet roads.

Traffic conditions aside, what a happy soaking in the garden. Signs of spring were everywhere this week. Come take a look:

abutilon

Coral Abutilon

yellow freesia

Fragrant freesia

garden peas

Garden peas

tulips

First tulip

jasmin buds

Jasmin buds

alyssum

Sweet Alyssum

Garden Pop-ups

Sure *I* was late planting this year’s bulbs, but nature is always on time. Bulbs from last season (and the season before!) are popping up all over the garden.

life on deck

Life on deck

Sometimes I’ll forget that a bulb is resting at the bottom of a pot, and I’ll dump the dirt into a planter. This explains the random placement of one of the bulbs I see peeking out from the center of the vegetable beds. I love nature’s optimism.

Mystery bulbs in the Veggie garden

Mystery bulbs in the Veggie garden

There are signs of tulips along the rock wall, but there are also signs of the squirrels eating the greens.  I hope they lose interest soon, or that will be the end of them.

tulips

Tulips, ever optimistic

The hyacinths are up and looking pretty. It looks like the onion-scented Allium are coming back from last year, along with (I think) a single freesia.

Emerging hyacinth

Emerging hyacinth

unknown bulb

Freesia?

Emerging hyacinth

Can you smell it?

New Life for your Old Calendar

Several of you commented that you save your wall calendars from year to year. Here are a few more ideas for turning your beautiful calendar pages into something new.  For more info, visit Garden Calendar Lives Another Day.

 repurposed calendar

Re-purposed Calendar: postcard, covered box, gift tags and stickers, envelopes, gift card holder, fairy garden bunting, drawer liner, box dividers, napkin rings

Beauty Down Under

Have you ever noticed the beauty of a flower, down under?

I’ve grown to love the view through my camera lens. The narrowed focus and clarity allow me to see things I might miss.  Who knew that vibrant purple tulips rise from their stem with a subtle brush stroke of cream. Nature imitating art?

under side of a tulip

Looking Up

Freesias curl from a chain of looped, waxy stems.  Soft yellows fade to white, then splash out an intense magenta.  They’re intoxicating too, drawing my nose toward the planter whenever I walk by.  I love these colors.  I’m dreaming of a summer dress with a yellow bodice and a fuchsia skirt.  Surely one of the fashion houses has thought of that.

Freesias

Freesias

Look closely. I think this Cyclamen brushed on magenta eye shadow at the start of the day. Too shy to flirt with the world, she keeps this side of her hidden down below.

Cyclamen

Cyclamen ‘Eye Shadow’

The Tulip Magnolia sport ‘fingers,’ pulled together as if to wave at passersby (or…let’s face it), the coming and going snails. I love it, warts and all.

Magnolia Tulip Fingers

Magnolia Tulip Fingers

As I child I liked to view the world from different perspectives. I imagined the house as if everything were upside down. Watching clouds while sprawled on my back connected me to the world in a different way. I probably spent too much time day-dreaming, the hallmark of an introvert though I also craved real-world connections. As an adult, I enjoy both.  Human connection and solitude. I’m a social being who craves unfettered time alone. What better place to find it then in the garden, down under.

Watercolor Tulip

Watercolors

Spring Bulbs: To Plant or not to Plant?

River of Hyacinth FlowerThat is the question. The answer: it’s complicated.  I’m perusing the Fall Netherland Bulb Company catalog this morning.  It arrived about a month ago, far too early to take it seriously.  Now that fall approaches, I’m giving it a second glance.  Years ago I planted several bulb varieties from Costco. Either I made the beginners mistake of planting them all upside down, or they didn’t like our soil.  Not a single one came up!  Perhaps a squirrel dug them up behind my back, but I never saw evidence of that.

I know many bulbs need frost first, then a proper thaw to get them going.  Was it foolish to assume that bulbs sold in our town would actually grow in our temperate climate?

One year a friend gave me a pot of paper white Narcissus.  Once the plant was spent indoors, I transplanted the bulbs outside.  Do you know what happened?  Nothing.

As I gaze lovingly at the ‘Tulip Fat Tuesday Blend,’ I can picture the purple and yellow blooms scattered all over my yard. Further on, they’ve dedicated a page to  ‘Darwin Hybrids’, including Tulip Beauty of Spring. The petals remind me of a fresh peach.

The most intoxicating of all bulbs are the Hyacinth. Their scent makes me giddy. I received my first Hyacinth as a Christmas present from Mom. I grew it indoors in a glass jar. I still remember the beginning of the transformation and that incredible smell when it bloomed. Planting something with evocative memories isn’t always a good thing. Tied up with the memory of that flowering bulb are things I would like to leave in the past.

So, to plant or not to plant? The icon on the cover says “Bulbs: dig, drop,done.™”  They don’t know the half of it.

Hyacinth orientalis ‘Blue Jacket’, exactly as I remember mine.