The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Little Bit of Spring

Spring, in our part of the world, is always a touchy subject, because in this part of Texas we can have a spring-like day in January and a winter-like day in March.  Basically, one just really never knows which season it is, unless one walks outside.  Because of all the changes in weather patterns, the garden is particularly interesting this year.

Of course, I am always amazed at photographs of sweeping swaths of blooms of daffodils or whatever is the subject, because here our spring comes just a little bit here, a little bit there, and never in swaths.  For instance the flowering quince, a reliable friend, bloomed in this month of February as well it usually does.  But other late-winter and early spring bloomers are off their stride this year.  The jonquils known as “Sweeties” in the South, jonquilla simplex, have shown their foliage for quite awhile, with nary a bloom to be seen although they are historically the first blooms each year, while here there is an old variety of narcissus, Maximus, blooming, and also Grand Primo, another old, old variety, but just a bloom here, a bloom there.  The candytuft is blooming in one area but not in another.  The phlox subulata (what we call ‘thrift’) shows a petal here and there.  The pansies seem reluctant this year, and the hellebores have not shown a bud although they are late-winter bloomers. 

Some of the daylilies have made impressive plants already while others have barely emerged.  None of that bothers me.  What does bother me and cause me to prowl the garden and scratch away dirt with my fingers and come back into the house with dirty hands and worried heart is that some daylilies are just not showing up at all.  Not even tiny little spears of promise.  Nothing.  And my tough, reliable deep purple hyacinths, Woodstock, are nowhere to be seen although two bulbs tucked in other areas are blooming.  That seems to be the theme this year.  The bulbs and plants that were planted in apparently optimal areas have apparently disappeared, while those which were stuck into any old bare place are thriving – one of the mysteries of any garden.

A fragment of poem I remember says “Life is of itself an uncertain thing, grows more uncertain with each new spring …” and that is all I can remember.  Perhaps the poem was about Spring and gardening.

Addendum:  after I posted this, my memory recalled the source of the original poem.  Here is the original phrase from a poem by Adelaide Love titled ‘Except for You’:  “Life, of its nature an uncertain thing, Grows more precarious with each year’s end”, and so the blog above ends with my paraphrase.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Folks who live in a climate such as the Southwest don’t always appreciate the sun, mostly for very good reasons.  During the hottest parts of the year, the sun becomes an overwhelming menace, blinding one’s eyes at its brightest, drying up soil and plants and any visible moisture before one’s eyes.    And oh, my, the terrible heat, sometimes.  However, during the cooler times of year, especially when days become cloudy and gloomy, sunlight can be welcome and cheery and lift spirits.

Ah, but what I have found with morning sun, at any time of year, is that it reveals all the dust that one doesn’t notice at any other time.  The fingers of the sun point to furniture tops and dust paths and puffs of dust on blinds and frostings of dust on draperies.  You get the picture.  But seeing that dust can usually inspire me to grab the dust cloths and the mop and broom and tidy away.   Then comes that feeling of virtue that comes when we try to make things pretty and clean.

So how long does that feeling of virtue last?  Well, it all depends, really, but usually it lasts until that magical moment when the evening sun shines in from the opposite direction and illuminates all the dust I missed.