HARBINGERS OF SPRING
Signs of spring are all around us, at least at my house, and not a moment too soon. Given all the unsettling news we have had recently, we need new life, we need the beauty of God's creation as much as ever, we need to be reminded that, in spite of whatever may be happening in our lives, there is a greater power in control of the universe, and so, all will be well. The never failing rhythms of nature remind us of that.
Today was a perfect day here, sunny, seventy-five degrees and low humidity. I live in Alabama midway between Birmingham and Atlanta. It does not get any better than this. If we should need reminding why we southerners choose to live in the south, walk outside today then go back in and watch the reporters on television shiver as they trudge through the snows of Iowa to report on the caucuses tonight.
As for me today, I spent all the hours I could hold up in my garden. It needed me but I needed it even more. It has been several weeks since I have been able to get out an work in my little Eden. There was a great deal of work to be done cleaning up from winter. We are having a relatively warm and wet winter and so many plants are blooming out already.
When I planned my garden I chose plants to give year round color. There is something blooming at every time of the year, even in mid-winter. Here are some now:
Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is covered in tiny bright yellow flowers all winter long. Good to add color to a dead space in winter.
Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima). "Most fragrant" is a good name for this. This open shrub fills the whole corner of the garden with a sweet aroma similar to summer honeysuckle. It too blooms all winter long.
What would we do without camellias, aka the winter rose? In Pensacola, I grew up with camellias in practically every yard, and with good reason. I have a variety of camellia bushes in my garden. This one is "Professor Sargent," a favorite of southern gardens because it makes a medium sized bush and puts out an abundance of beautiful blooms in mid-winter.
Yet another old southern favorite is "Governor Mouton." However, it makes a large bush and requires plenty of room. It never fails to cover itself in these elegant flowers in mid-winter.
Here I am today taking a break in my garden. I have taken off the bandana and broad-brimmed hat I usually wear. I often take breaks and sit to absorb the beauty of nature all around. Today, birds sang and flew all around me (they are used to me) as frogs croaked in the drainage ditch at the back of my garden (I call it my "water feature"), butterflies fluttered, and insects hummed around the boxwoods that were putting out the aroma of orange blossoms. It does not get any better.
I hope you too are enjoying the beauty of nature these days. How lucky we are to live in this climate.