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.
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.
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.
The Violets and Vinca are raring to go too, although they won’t bloom until spring.
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.
One good thing has come about from ‘social distancing’. Every morning my husband and I take a walk together, something we never did in the past. This morning we walked along one of the irrigation canals that meander through the nearby pecan groves. Although spring is apparent in our neighborhood, the pecan trees are still dormant. They won’t come into leaf until May. Soon the canals will be filled with water from the Rio Grande River; the gates into the groves will be lifted; and the trees will be flooded with life-giving water.
Our walk always ends up at the local Post Office. I wait outside while my husband checks our box. We always see someone we know and wave at a distance.
Earlier this week I drove up to the Sacramento Mountains in Southern New Mexico for a little R & R and ‘social distancing’. For several days, Sierra Blanca disappeared under low-hanging clouds and intermittent rain. I could only admire the trees from my window. At night, pine needles from a nearby branch scratched my roof as it swayed in the wind. This morning, finally, I opened the door to clear sky and crisp mountain air.
A few hours away where my husband and I live at a lower altitude, spring has already appeared in the blooming trees and a multitude of weeds that would like to take up permanent residence in our yard. But here at the higher altitude, spring comes a little later. Yet, on my afternoon walk, I managed to spot a few dandelions, a patch of blooming clover, and the little purple darling pictured below.