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the first of the blooms

Since my first daffodils starting putting out their buds a few weeks ago, I have suddenly felt the nearness of spring hurrying toward me. Spring is such a beautiful season in Texas, but so fleeting, that I want to take every opportunity just to enjoy it. So much happens all at once, like a speed opera–it crescendoes quickly–and then gives way to the heat of summer when all the ‘endurance players’ of the garden start doing their work.

But there is nothing like that crescendo, no matter how fleeting. Last year we had such a beautiful and unusually long-lasting spring, thanks to the constant rain. Both last year’s fall and spring rains led to a spectacular wildflower show all over Austin. The highways glittered with non-stop Bluebonnets and Indian Blankets. This year will probably be a bit of a quiet year. We had a drought in fall and have had maybe two good rains all winter, and so I don’t expect to see the same show.

In my own garden, however, which gets watered, the bluebonnets have begun perking up. After several months of laying kind of flattened out on the ground (when leaves grow in flattened layers, they call these ‘rosettes’), the new leaves suddenly started growing upward a week ago… a sign that the blooms are not far away. I remember this time last year (when I grew my own bluebonnets for the first time) they started blooming in mid-February.

A lone bloom from a Campernelle. These are dainty little jonquils but so sweet-smelling. Unfortunately, I moved these into too much shade so I’ve only gotten one bloom.

I’m not sure what the first sign of spring really is here, but I have this feeling that everything is nearing. It’s all about to pop. The sweet peas started blooming last week, my first California poppy came up today with its gorgeous sunny orange cheer, and many of the larkspurs are showing buds.

Erlicheer (‘early cheer’) has very fragrant, beautiful tiny rose-like clusters of blooms

I just want time, as does any gardener, to sit and enjoy it all but there is the madness of spring planting looming in front of me, too. The last chance to get things in the ground before summer.

Although there’s not the sort of abundance yet to afford picking lots of flowers, I’ve been picking the few that bloom to bring them indoors. Since I work at home on the computer a lot, I love having them at my desk. If only you could smell these sweet peas through a photo.