When last we left California, a long drought prevailed. (I wrote “reign” at first, but we will eschew the puns today.) Happily, in December, and January, the rains came. We’re in recovery. Long-term drought still running, 40% of the state still deep in, but the short-term is OK, and snowpack above average.
We’re all cautiously optimistic, when we’re not standing in the rain letting water run over our eyelids.
Then, late in January, the sun shone.
Blue sky, patio puddles, leaf.
A roly poly came out to play.
As did a few flowers. The hellebore.
The oxalis, which I’m supposed to hate because they are invasive, but I find I enjoy in little pockets. Like children talking about secrets on a playground.
Bleeding currants, a native California plan beloved by hummingbirds. Anyone remember when I planted them? They took.
Wild strawberry. I never know just how much of this is going to show up, spring to spring. This year’s abundant.
And perhaps the most breathtaking this time of year, the daphne. It smells so beautiful you have to watch for unplanned garden swoons. Sweet. Citrus. Both. Delicious.
One last caution. I know some of you, in cold climates with long gray winters, might think you want to come to Northern California in February. Don’t. Not that I don’t want to see you, I do. And one of our occasional weeks of 75-80 degree temperatures might be tempting, I know. But it’s also possible that the rains will continue, a day in the low 50s will stay gray, nights will freeze a little bit.
No, wait until the summer solstice. Come see us in June, or early July, for the skies as blue as your crayoned childhood. The sun warms the pebbled cement decks of our swimming pools, and dries the grasses into smelling of honey. I know you’re less tempted to leave home then, but, I think you’ll be glad you did.
For now, I’m on hydrangea watch. Nothing yet but a few teeny leaves on long brown stalks. Good thing the daphne’s perfume and washed leaves makes waiting a pleasure.