“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly. “One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” Hans Christian Andersen

This year, spring sprang into being in the Northern hemisphere at 2:37 a.m. PST March 20. Some plants in the garden decided it was spring in February, or even January. Some are just getting the message.  I love watching the unfolding, the awakening tide. I’m glad not everything blooms and grows at once, in a few days or weeks and then is –poof—gone for a year. But having so much happening at once is something that makes spring SPRING.

 In an amateur, compressed, phenology study, I have been watching the oak tree canopy that covers my house stir from bare grey branches into tassels of blooms and Shrek green leaves that will, as the season matures, become the blue green that gives this species its common name. I’ve enjoyed an especially wonderful and long harvest of salad greens this year, which is fairly rare in the low foothills above California’s Central Valley.

Everywhere we look, spring is pushing itself forward. Weedy grasses bloom, so does the fiddleneck, poppies, iris, and thousands of other plants. Bees are emerging from hibernation. The ravens at the park where I walk my dogs are loudly congregating. There are geese everywhere. And the inevitable insect pests have appeared in the edible garden.

Spring is all this, and more. Good and bad. Like roses with thorns, we do best in accepting a little trouble to have the glorious. Teach me, oh garden! I’ll pull weeds here and leave them there for another day –no time, never enough time. I’ll stop a minute and enjoy the intricacies of this iris bloom, passed by a million other times. I will pause and snap a photo.  Are any of you landscape painters? Are you half-mad with desire to paint everything this year? It’s as if we’ve never had spring before.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.  All too soon, the season changes, and the temperature rises, and the lettuce go to seed.



A little more about the photos, from top to bottom, left to right: California Four O’Clock aka Desert Wishbone (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia, white flowered variety); Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis); Bees’ Bliss Sage; Ponderosa Pine; California poppies and Yankee Point Ceanothus; Wayside Manzanita; salad greens (with Romanesco broccoli); Blue oak (Quercus douglasii); Iris; colorbowl of annuals; Bulbine frutescens (yellow); Manroot aka Wild Cucumber (Marah, probably M. horridus)