Springtime Blues (Pinks)

Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa “Siskiyou” )

After working in the garden over the past few weeks, I was looking forward to sitting outside this morning and simply enjoying the view, but the day is windy and cold, so I retreated into the warmth of the house. Yet, I can enjoy the Evening Primroses from my window.

I planted them last fall after my husband helped me create a new border in the courtyard. The variety pictured above is native to Texas and Mexico, so it does well in Southern New Mexico with little or no care. The foliage charmed me all winter by staying green, and during the past week they began producing countless, paper-like blossoms that are supposed to continue through fall. The instructions warn that these plants can be quite invasive, and they did indeed spread over the winter while many of my other plants were dormant.

With foliage and blossoms like that, as far as I’m concerned, they can go for it!

Pressed Flower Beauty

My husband recently received a thank-you card decorated with pressed flower art. I liked it so much that I cut out the flower arrangement and pasted it to a piece of card stock to make a bookmark. Then I thought, ah ha! Everything is coming into bloom in the garden. What a perfect time to take up a new hobby! I can save my cherished blossoms to enjoy when spring has passed and make home-made note cards. So I ordered a flower press and bought a how-to book. Pressed Flower Art by W. Eugene Burkhart Jr. was extremely helpful. It was a little pricey, but well worth it. The book included an abundance of colored photos and detailed instructions on everything I needed to know to learn this charming art form.

Yesterday, I filled my new flower press with blossoms, leaves, and stems. Today, I am going to press some blossoms and herbs into an old phone book. Now, all I have to do is wait for them to dry.

That may be the hardest part.

Why Did the Elk Cross the Road?

Spring comes late in the mountains where I spent the weekend. I took my camera wherever I went, but nothing was blooming. However, the Ponderosa Pines satisfied my desire for natural beauty, as they always do.

As I was leaving town, the local herd of elk were gathered along Hull Road. Very polite. They paused from time to time to let the cars go by. Many more were grazing along both sides of the road as I carefully continued on my way. There must have been 60 or 70 of them altogether.

Back home in the Rio Grande Valley, the violas and lobelia were in full bloom. Thank God for spring!

Signs of Life

Lantana montevidensis (purple)

Green is appearing at the base of last summer’s dead Lantana branches. First buds are opening on the Flowering Plum tree. Soon the tree will be covered with a veil of pink and white blossoms.

I need these signs of life.

Mistletoe

Took my camera with me this morning in the hopes of seeing something interesting, but all I saw was an abundance of mistletoe in the neighborhood ash trees. When the trees come into leaf, the mistletoe will be hidden, and the birds will carry the seeds from tree to tree. These parasites eventually kill the trees if left to spread. We had our trees cleared a couple of summers ago, but we will need to carefully watch them.

Who needs mistletoe to kiss your Sweetie at Christmas?

Unfortunately, Gentle Reader, even in the plant world there are some stinkers.

Deer-proof Shrubs

Russian Sage and Cherry Sage

The rains in the mountains have turned the grass to a lush green. The shrubs are doing well too. The deer leave the Sage and the Butterfly Bushes alone.

Butterfly Bush

The Trumpet Vine is doing well too. The deer went after the tender shoots when it was first planted, but now that it’s mature, they leave it alone. (Trumpet Vine develops a thick woody trunk, so it needs a strong support system.) As I was trying to get a good photo, a hummingbird flitted from one blossom to another. I asked him to stay in one place so I could take his picture. He obliged me by perching on a dead twig that jutted out from the base of the vine. Handsome fellow.

Past, Present and Future

Last week I wrote about our white and lavender Crape Myrtle bushes that came into bloom after the monsoon rains began. This week the red variety has blossomed more profusely than it has in years, and the purple variety (pictured below) is just beginning to bloom.

I think the reason gardening is so good for the soul is that it’s mostly about the present and the future. The past is important, of course. It took eons for the soil to develop, and the nutrients from past fallen leaves have played their part. But when I’m in the garden, I don’t think about the past. That’s a good thing.

It’s the present blossoms that keep my attention, as well as the tender green shoots that promise future delight.

Lantana

Lantana Landmark Rose Glow

Here we are again in the dog days of summer. The soil in our neighborhood is sandy with a hardpan of clay beneath the surface — a real challenge for my gardening aspirations. However, over time I have learned that some plants do well and even thrive here. While other plants are looking a little sad, the potted Lantana (pictured above) is the star of our courtyard. When it goes dormant in winter, I will transplant it into the ground.

The varieties pictured below are gracing the front yards of our neighbors on the block.

Pandemic Blues

In the market today, I overheard a customer asking the clerk if people were honoring the face mask requirement. “Everyone is so done with face masks, and everyone is in a bad mood,” she replied. (In spite of her comments, everyone was wearing a mask, including the clerk.)

The face mask hadn’t bothered me, but I had been in a bad mood for a few days. Things that didn’t help:

  • Missing Mass
  • Binge watching murder mysteries
  • Staying indoors

Things that helped:

  • Prayer
  • My husband
  • Friends
  • Gardening
  • Exercise
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Music

Lost and found: Hope