Spring has officially sprung

When the hyacinths peek their fragrant heads up through the tangle of winter grasses, I know that spring has officially sprung. The nights may still be chilly, but the garden knows that spring is here. On hills and glens not far away, I spot almond blossoms coming forth on trees left to fend for themselves. Yes, spring has arrived. 

Another arrival has occurred. A pale pink camellia has been adopted into the garden. She has lived her life in a pot for the last decade and a half. My mom couldn't keep her so it was time for this "pink lady" to have her roots put into the earth here among others that have now become her sisters. Already she is happy. Soon she will be as tall as the "old lady" on her right and the "showoff" on her left.

The "showoff" has been dazzling us with quite a show. Thanks to Hubby's expertise in installing windows, we can now enjoy every moment of this brilliant camellia's performance even on the rainiest of days. 

The bees are busy on the north side of the house where all the camellias live. The saucer-sized blooms have the bees in quite a tizzy trying to decide which bloom to explore next with their chubby pollen-laden legs. As I meander down the shady path, I hear their happy buzzing and it makes my heart sing.

Spring has officially sprung.

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For sunshine, daffodils and lemons in February... for these I am grateful

Oh blessed February! On the darkest day of the winter solstice I yearn for this month to arrive with its respite of sunshine both from the sun and from the garden.

The daffodils, jonquils and lemons glow yellow as if heralding to the world that the days are indeed growing slightly longer.

I chase the light with the lens of my camera and with the lenses of my eyes. I drink it in like rays of lemonade. I bask in its warmth and listen to the birds chirping out their courtship rituals around the bird feeders filled with seeds because there are not enough bugs to go around yet.

And I am profoundly grateful spring comes in February in the Bay Area.

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Can you imagine...

"I like the idea of our words being clear as a sunny sky and full of grace.
Can you imagine what our families... nations... and even the world would be like
if we could adopt this simple principle?" Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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Happy wanderers of the flora and fauna varieties

Hardenbergia violacea "Happy Wanderer"

Last month I was certain that I wouldn't see a single bloom on my one surviving hardenbergia vine this year. A succession of frosty January nights had come just as the buds were setting all over the vine and zapped them all to shriveled little purple dots.

"Oh well," I thought.

But like the loquat tree, the hardenbergia had a backup plan I wasn't privy to and now it is blooming profusely with tiny little orchid-like blooms that look like they walked straight out of Disney's Alice in Wonderland.

The vine is commonly known as "Happy Wanderer". I've found that it isn't the only "happy wanderer" gracing the garden right now...

Bombycilla cedrorum "Cedar waxwing"

I've been thrilled to see large flocks of cedar waxwings in the garden this winter. Every day when I go out to get some sun therapy to ward off my SAD, I am delighted to watch the cedar waxwings come down in small groups from high in the neighbor's fruitless mulberry tree to timidly drink at the bird fountain we installed in the back garden last summer. The cedar waxwings' heads bob up and down as they hurriedly get a drink. Like teenage girls who all have to go to the restroom in a flock, these winter visitors aren't as familiar with the garden as the other permanent residents and so they feel more comfortable venturing down in smallish groups.

Soon the cedar waxwings will fly home to their mountain climes, but for now I'm thoroughly enjoying their vacationing here. Until this year, I haven't had the pleasure of seeing whole groups of them winter here.

Honeybee on hardenbergia

The weather has warmed enough for the bees to happily wander into the garden in search of nectar. The small lavender and pineapple sage plants have been in bloom throughout the winter and provided the only food source for the bees hearty enough to venture from their hive (wherever it may be) on the warmer sunnier days. Now the hardenbergia and camellias are giving the bees some variety. And soon the orange tree and bay laurel tree will have more blooms for them to peruse and sip from.

I used to be a "happy wanderer" always looking for adventure on the horizon. But as I've put down roots here along with the plants and trees I've brought to the garden, I'm finding that I prefer to be the hostess for other "happy wanderers"--both flora and fauna.

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