Back in Business

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It may not look like much yet…

Spring has fully returned to north Texas. That means repeated visitations from wind and tornado warnings, thunderstorms that lead to flash floods, and threats of baseball sized hail. More often, though, it means warm temperatures and plants seeming to grow 50% taller in a day. And it brings on bud, leaf and bloom with a flourish that reminds me how showy and productive a Texas garden can be at its—however brief—peak.

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Will you think me impertinent if I show you my bloomers?

A Saturday outing is splashed with roadside waves of Showy Primrose, Paintbrush and Bluebonnets, and the trees are bursting with a dense, cheering liveliness that belies the likelihood of a relatively short span of such intense lushness.photo montage

Our own garden is reawakening, sending up promises left and right of everything from capsicum and tomato, parsley and kale to the same primrose standard-bearers ushering in roses, Salvia and Echinacea. The saplings garnered of the city’s largesse in the annual tree giveaway—redbud, Mexican Plum and Texas Ash, to date—are awakening as well. Though the odd temperature fluctuations and ice storms this winter hindered their bloom, they are leafing out in style. And as much as I’ve been known to vilify and slander all of squirrel-dom as thieving rats, I will grant them all manner of amnesty for their one generous act of planting acorns across our property and providing a welcome lagniappe of oak seedlings in my planters for the increase of our little backyard grove.

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I’m up to my irises in spring bloom…

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Can you blame me for being dazzled?

For shorter-term flair, it would be hard to argue with iris as my chief fancy at this time of year. Always a favorite flower for both my partner and me, it was the centerpiece of our wedding design, courtesy of Mom’s garden, and an indulgent purchase last fall in the form of a self-gifted bunch of fans for the garden here. Along with the classic lavender bearded and highly perfumed variety given us by a dear friend, the newcomers are flourishing in their bed in the front corner of our lot, and I am wholly enamored of their flashy, curling flounces and the radiant tendrils of their beards. The graphic drama sustained by their swordlike leaves after the flowers pass is a pleasing bonus of irises’ appeal, but the magnificence of a bed in full bloom will always be one of my most beloved signs that this season of nature’s great exuberance is in full swing, a grand hurrah in floral form.photo

A Touch of Blue

 

photoJoy has a funny way of residing in our hearts: it’s never completely untouched by sorrow or the knowledge of trials and struggles. It requires a measure of trouble, in fact, for joy to exist. How else can we begin to know and appreciate the depth and breadth of true joy?

I was reminded of this today by one of my little hummingbird friends. They are frequently identified, these tiny flying powerhouses, as being most strongly attracted to red flora, to bright red and orange and sometimes yellow flowers. But they’re not that exclusive, really. They are aggressive and territorial and mercurial, all colors we tend to happily equate with so-called ‘hot’ colors, of course, but it hardly proves that red flowers are actually the best available attractants for hummingbirds.photo

The hummingbirds that hang around my back patio have other ideas. Not least of all, that their pleasure, and their urge to imbibe a grand zing of energy-booster, can come from what is presently their very favorite treat back there: the blue-blooming sage. It’s a hot color too, that it is; the blossoms on the lovely Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ practically scream for attention from amid the bold lime-green foliage of the plant, so nobody with a modicum of visual acuity, hummingbird or human or otherwise, is going to buzz by without giving it a good, longing look of admiration.

With what do we credit the boldest of blues? ‘Cool’, we call them. But just like the wildest, hottest of reds and yellows and oranges, intense blues are attention grabbers. They grip us by the heart just as easily as any other high-hued beauties. But the existence of both is necessary for us to understand the differences between them, and the power each has. Is ‘cool’ the metaphor for melancholy and The Blues a name for sorrow? Perhaps. Are red and those other ‘hot’ colors present in warming flames, in sunlight, in the brilliance of joy? Possibly.

Do all of them enrich our lives? Absolutely. Ask a hummingbird.photo