Watson Lane

The pecan trees haven’t come into leaf yet. A few stubborn nuts from last year’s crop still cling to the branches. Every spring, the pecan trees are the last to show life. Yet, they have their own stark beauty with the alfalfa and mountains in the background.

I come this way on my way to Mass, and I always enjoy the view as I turn into Watson Lane.

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!

The Garden Chair

The view from my favorite garden chair

The garden is starting to wake up for spring. As I took this picture, it occurred to me that my chair is the most important feature in the garden. There is no point in having a garden if I don’t take time to sit in it.

As I enjoyed the intoxicating warm breeze, the birds provided a symphony of trills and chirps. I read some poetry from Dancing by the Light of the Moon by Gyles Brandreth. (Thank you thetinypotager for the recommendation several months ago.)

Fifteen minutes in the garden was all it took to completely reorient my day.

I am drunk with beauty.

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.

All Things Tall

The view above the trees and rooftops from my back door

I like looking at things that are tall. When I walk, I look at the treetops (which is sometimes hazardous to my feet), and I look at the mountains. Though I love them both, the mountains provide the best food for thought. There is mystery there. In spite of all the expert climbers who have ever climbed, I am convinced there are places that no human foot has touched. I imagine treasures there, known only to the birds — a rare blossom rising from a crag in the rocks, a hidden cave that glistens with veins of gold, a hidden spring, a strange creature never previously seen.

Beyond their physical mystery, mountains remind me that there is so much more to life than I am able to discover or grasp. There is so much more in this world that I will never know. This is a source of abiding joy for me. Life is inexhaustible. There is always more. There is always hope. There is always God.

Misleading Appearances

A few days ago in my post “Survivors,” I wrote about my cuttings that survived the winter. I was particularly fond of the Tall Sedum (pictured bottom left). Its four leaves reminded me of a propeller that was just waiting to be launched into spring. Imagine my dismay yesterday, when three of the leaves fell off, and the remaining one turned yellow. I was about to pull the cutting with a sigh, when I noticed new life growing at the base of the stem.

Speaking of misleading appearances, here is a true story: My husband and I had our careers in the San Francisco Bay Area, where people who don’t know each other keep to themselves and avoid eye when passing on the sidewalk. When we moved to Southern New Mexico, I was shocked when a stranger smiled at me and said, ‘Hello.” One day soon after when I was walking from the parking lot to the side door of Walmart, I became aware of a biker (in leather with multiple tattoos and piercings) closing in quickly behind me. There was no one else nearby, so I became a little nervous as he drew nearer. Imagine my surprise when he rushed ahead to open the door for me.

Honestly, Gentle Reader, this really happened in the Land of Enchantment.

Contradiction

Distressing times in our nation and in the world. Now, in the dead of winter, the temperature drops below freezing every night. Yet, the violets are thinking about spring. The original plants, given to me by a friend, have long since died. They didn’t like the location where I planted them. However, they lived long enough to seed the surrounding area, and ever since, their offspring have delighted me year after year. Before the end of the month, they will be covered in blossoms.

I still believe in faith.
I still believe in hope.
I still believe in love.

November Surprises

Scabiosa

Just when I thought my perennials were going dormant for the winter, the warm afternoons breathed new life into them. The Scabiosa is putting out blossoms, and the Cherry Sage is covered with new color.

Cherry Sage

The Violets and Vinca are raring to go too, although they won’t bloom until spring.

Shadow and Light

Although not much is blooming at the moment, the shady side of the courtyard is looking rather nice.

The sunny side, where we recently created a new border, is looking bare. (See below.) The blossoms have fallen off the new Lantana plants, although some buds are forming. I am hoping the plants will put down good roots over the winter and spread out nicely next spring. In October, I will pot up some violas and kale plants to fill in the spaces over the winter.

The evergreen holly tree in the corner has only been in the ground for two seasons. It grows very slowly, but it is covered with green berries that will soon turn red and remain on the branches throughout the winter.

I am still experimenting with Pelargonium cuttings. In the summer heat, my cuttings from the Pelargonium graveolens (Rose Geranium) rooted well in moist soil. Even though they are related, all my efforts with Pelargonium citrosum (Citronella) utterly failed. Undaunted, I took some cuttings again this morning. Perhaps they will root in water during the cooler weather. The fragrance in my studio after I brought in the cuttings was intoxicating.

Citronella (left) and Rose Geranium (right)