Flirting With Freezing

Kwanzan or the rarer Hizakura cherry?

     I postponed planting flower seeds and plants in the yard last week after looking at the weather report.  We were down in the 30's at night last week with a frost warning one night.  The beautiful Yoshino cherry trees in the front yard only lasted a week.  But now the later blooming  kwanzan is loaded with flowers.  The flowers on this tree look like flowers on the rarer Hizakura cherry in a photo from a book I got from the National Aboretum. Whatever it is, it is beautiful.  Here are some photos of what is happening in the yard.

The tulips finally showed up!

The hosta plants seem to be getting high quickly.

The two dogwood trees finally bloomed.

This is a miniature rose bush my husband gave me on Valentine's Day.  After staying on my kitchen table for six weeks, I put it out in the back yard garden at the end of March.  It just produced a bloom.

The Asiatic lilies are pushing through the soil.

The azaleas finally opened a few days ago three weeks late.

     The leaves on the trees are slowly coming out.  Most of the leaves are small, and some trees still don't have any leaves in our neighborhood.  This week I am planting flower seeds in the back and side yard gardens, and I am going to put plants in my deck pots. It is going to be May 1 on Friday, and  I am tired of waiting. 

Hooray! Blooming Is In Full Swing

Cherry trees lining my street

     What a difference a few warm days make.  So many plants suddenly appeared this past weekend.  The cherry trees finally bloomed this past Sunday.  This is a photo of the trees lining my street.  My house is out of view on the right.  Here is what is happening in the yard.

The side yard garden daffodils are in full bloom awaiting the appearance of the perennials there.

The back yard garden daffodils and hyacinths bloomed.  The tips of the perennials are just peeking through the soil.

The perennials on the other side of the back garden are filling in faster.

Here's a close up of one of the brunnera plants whose tiny blue flowers appeared three days ago.

The astilbe seemed to push through and leaf out quickly in the back garden.

All the hosta plants have started comng through the soil.

Finally, the grape hyacinths showed up two days ago.

     The buds on the pink and the white dogwood trees in the back yard look like they will open in the next day or so.  Still waiting on the azalea bushes and the tulips.  Although it is possible, it's rare to have a frost here after April 20.  I can't wait to buy annuals next week and start setting them out, and planting my zinnia, gomphrena and sunflower seeds.

The Calendar Says It's Spring


     Although the calendar says it is spring, botanically I am still waiting for it to happen in my yard.  After such a cold March, we finally have had a few warm days, and a lot of plants should pop into bloom in a few days.  But the only thing blooming in the yard is a yellow primrose plant and a few hellebores.

dogwood tree

     There is nary a flower on the azalea bushes, the dogwood buds are in wait mode as are all the cherry trees.  Here are some photos of a few things that have emerged in my backyard garden.



brunnera plants

But overall the backyard garden looks pretty bare.


     Everything is two to three weeks behind this spring.  I did see some forsythia in bloom just yesterday in the neighborhood.  So while I am waiting, I bought some hyacinths at the grocery to tide me over till blooming starts.

The Snow Is Gone

The snow we had the first week of March.

The snow took its time retreating because of the bitterly cold temps.  Eight degrees one morning on our thermometer!  So I went out and bought myself some tulips at the grocery store.

Now after four days at or near 60 degrees, the snow is gone, and the crocus seemed to instantly appear.

The tulips whose tips had just emerged at the end of January have stared growing with the warm temperatures.

My exploration of the backyard garden sans snow revealed the first green leaves of the primrose.

In the backyard garden I also found the first hellebore blossom.

After all the snow and ice storms, the nandina bush has lost a lot of leaves and is looking kind of shabby.

Poking around the front garden I found a hyacinth emerging just in time for the first day of spring this coming Friday.

Winter Sun

Tulip buds

     Now that there is ten hours of daylight, the plant world is waking up.  There is a sense of spring in the air.  I've noticed a few green shoots of daffodils and tulips here and there in the yard.  The sun is higher in the sky, and it i s light past 5:30.  I am a warm weather lover, and I can't wait for the next three weeks to pass, because March 1 is spring to me.

     Meanwhile, to get my sun fix this winter, my family vacationed in the Palm Springs, California area.  We had cloudy, rainy weather on day, but the rest of the time was sunny and warm.  The following photos are from some of the places we visited while in the Palm Springs area.

Joshua tree

     We spent a day at Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua trees

     There were acres of mature Joshua trees.

cholla cactus

     And areas of cholla cactus which look soft and cuddly, but whose spines are very painful and duifficult to remove.

     There were also some very impressive rock formations in the park.

     Another extremely interesting place we visited was a windmill farm.  The Coachella Valley, wherein Palm Springs and other desert cities lie, has thousands of windmills that produce one quarter of the power for Los Angeles.  There are blinking red lights atop the windmills that helps keep the birds away.

     We saw an area of the farm where there are both windmills and solar panels.

     The valley is surrounded by mountains of up to 8,000 feet tall.

     We saw several different windmill designs, including the newest, most powerful windmills at 400 feet tall.

     Another beautiful, natural place we walked through was the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.  We only visited the gardens that contain desert plants from many of the deserts around the world.

     One of the many plants we saw in the gardens was this pencil cholla.

     Brittle bush is another plant we encountered.

     One of my favorite plants we saw was this beavertail cactus.

     The most unusual specimen we saw was this Boojum tree.

     It seemed there was a lot of money and planning that went into these gardens.  One could spend many more hours than the afternoon we spent there.  The amount of plants was truly impressive.

     Happy Valentines day to all.  And now onward to spring!

On To The New Year


Thanksgiving is gone.

Christmas has just passed by.

All the leaves are long gone off the trees, except for this one holdout tree in my yard.

The back garden is bare.

Most of the annuals and perennials in the side garden have disappeared except for the lavender front left, the fountain grass, and the spent blooms on the goldenrod in back.

The electrical box garden is through blooming until spring.  the scotch broom is in the back, the abelia bushes midway, and the Shasta daisies in front.  All of the milkweed plants have died back.

There is still hope lingering in the back garden.  A brunnera seedling plant is sheltered by the bricks and is still green.

A tulip bud has emerged in the back garden too.  After a cold November, we had some warm December days.

          Although winter is upon us, and it is sad to see the bare gardens, my thoughts turn now to the new garden year.  I just received the Burpee seed and plant catalog for 2015!  Happy New Year!