Spring Up

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In February I flew to New Hampshire to celebrate both my birthday and an important first meeting with Charlotte, my second granddaughter. This photo shows her with granddaughter #1, now 13, and mom, my daughter, Katrina. Charlotte is dressed for puddle fun. Even now, mid March, I see on the weather reports that this northeast part of the US is still owned by the winter season. Here in Taos we are getting some good whiffs of days in the 50s and 60s, most with sunny skies.

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Here on the property where I live in Taos I discovered on yesterday’s walk these hopeful buds on a  cherry tree near my house. The first of my three summers here the tree  provided lots of fruit, the second year none at all (due to an early frost) and last summer the fruit was sparse. It’s an early bloomer so the risk is always there…

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While taking a walking tour of the property I got a nice shot of our resident horse, Barney. I think he eats most of the organic, acequia-watered alfalfa grown on the land here. I’ve added some of his aged manure to the garden beds around my house. He is ridden by his longtime owner, one of the landlords, if only occasionally, and gets to eat lots of apples from the orchard in late summer and fall. All in all a pretty nice country life.

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Now that the snow has melted in my back garden I can see a hardy spinach variety I planted last fall has survived the winter as advertised. Sold by “Botanical Interests” seed company out of Colorado, it’s an heirloom variety called Viroflay that can overwinter in sub-zero temperatures. According to the seed packet it can grow quite large as well. Looks like I should thin my plants.

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Upon inspection I found that the blue flax that has generously seeded itself all around my house is starting to come back to life. I have recommended this hardy flowering plant before to those gardening in Taos. It also grew well back in the mountains of Idaho where I gardened in times past. It will both come back like a perennial from last year’s plants and come up from the many seeds the many small blue flowers produce. It is one of the first flowering plants to bloom as the weather warms.

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Here’s another early-blooming flower starting to show its face, the Sweet William. Like the Blue Flax it has advanced itself around my garden beds without any help from me. The plants that have established themselves will bloom early and you’ll continue to find new plants arriving from seed.

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And last but not least is the greening up of the hearty dandelion plants that have thrived here and there in my garden beds. I treat them with a respect they don’t commonly receive by harvesting the tender leaves in spring. They add their green nutrition to my food in a variety of ways: teas, soups, salads and blender-made fruit drinks.

It really is already possible to see early bulb-type flowers blooming but I didn’t have any specimens handy for this spontaneous “photo-shoot.” It was a quiet warm afternoon and I enjoyed walking around the neighborhood without a sweater or a coat imagining the spring joys of flowering plants to come. It is a kind of “awakening of desire” time, both for the plants and the humans.

Enjoy your spring wherever you live!

 

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