Sunday, January 11, 2009

In the pleasure grounds

Leaves of a second kind of species tulips have appeared overnight. Mystery germination is occurring everywhere; what may be volunteers and what are results of human action this year cannot be known at this time. Peas, both sweet and for the table, are popping up everywhere, and so are delphiniums. We aim for sweeps of color, whether from foliage or blossoms, in the midst of the grass. Everything like that seems to green against the dormant lawn. We have not had a true killing frost yet, although susceptible zinnias and tithonia are no more, and exposed lantanas have dropped their leaves. There are still some flowers on some of the hyacinth beans. Each type of Johnny jump-up behaves differently, but all are now in bloom, although becoming leggy, despite being deadheaded almost every day. Our two geraniums in pots are back in bloom. So are some fennel plants, as well as a couple of chile plants in pots. The cultivated chicory that has established itself in a pot has much bluer flowers this time of year. We see mockingbirds eating lantana, cedar, and Japanese yew berries. Mourning doves and whitewings search out dropped seeds from the bennel and the wild sunflowers. Milkweed in pots (both kinds) is still in bloom and forming seedpods. Oxalis is not blooming but the foliage is thriving in this weather. Our bulbs in bloom remain old forced paperwhites that found their own way to root in the ground, plus those stubby little nystery narcissi, two to a stem. The cups of those turn less orange and more yellow with the passage of time. The flowers are lasting very well. Despite all the proliferation of bright lights, we saw a screech owl before light yesterday morning and heard one of the much larger owls this morning.


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