- Author: Kathy Thomas-Rico
Published on: January 20, 2012
I was just given some really wise advice from a dear friend: Find the silver linings. Applying that to the state of my garden in the depths of a dry, windy winter makes for a colorful crazy quilt of good things. Here goes:
- Seeing red: Right now, the eye-catching spots in my yard are red. Tucked among the greens are Nandina domestica 'Firepower', which live up to their name when the sun hits them. The other reds are the berries hanging from the toyons (Heteromeles arbutifolia), firethorn (Pyracantha angustifolia) and asparagus ferns (Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri'). The birds love the berries, too.
- Lack of leaves: The winds of December took most of the leaves, and now I have an unhindered view of a big blue sky. It’s a great contrast to the bare branches and occasional evergreen.
- Orchids: OMG, have you seen the orchids? They are everywhere, in full, beautiful bloom. A local warehouse store is selling a wide variety of Phalaenopsis orchids, beautifully potted, for $15. I succumbed to two, and they will provide us fresh blooms for the next month or two. Even the tough, big orchids I keep outside are ready to bloom. So exciting!
- Citrus: My potted ‘Moro’ blood orange is heavy with fruit, as is our tiny ‘Improved Meyer’ tree, which is in the ground. The bright yellow and orange draw my attention every time I head out back.
- Fight on: Our tree mallow (Lavatera maritime) is the little engine that could. Last spring, this billowy shrub was showing signs of a nasty rust invasion. We cut it to just 6 inches from the ground and crossed our fingers. It now stands 6 feet tall again, and is covered in lovely lilac-colored hibiscus-like blooms. Gotta love a fighter.
- Vernal hors d’oeuvres: Our warm, dry winter has caused many plants to start putting on new growth much sooner than normal. For instance, I have a crabapple in blossom now, and many of our Narcissus bulbs are nearly done blooming. We should expect many more nights with freezing temperatures, which will stunt this new growth. We also should be prepared for a long, wet spring, much like last year. So, I have to admit, I’m looking at our odd weather pattern as a vernal hors d’oeuvre, a nibble of spring. As long as we get some rain soon, it indeed will be a silver lining.
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