Today is the spring equinox, i.e. there are roughly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. It is also officially the first day of spring.
In our climate, spring actually arrives much sooner, sometimes as early as February. In the third week of March, it is not unusual for the thermometer to climb into high 70s so it actually feels more like the very beginning of summer.
Warm daytime temperatures cause flowering trees and shrubs to wrap up their vernal display and focus on leaf growth. That’s certainly happening with the western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) in our neighborhood. What a glorious sight it still is!
Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis)
However, it’s just a matter of days now before the petals drop and the heart-shaped leaves appear. (Some redbuds are already mostly green.)
Another beautiful spring bloomer is the happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), a transplant from southern Australia that thrives here—no wonder, the climate is very similar.
Happy wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea)
The dominant color along the green belt near our house is the yellow-green of fresh grass, dotted with the bright yellow of wild mustard:
Native trees and shrubs, like valley oak and California buckeye, are leafing out.
Some non-native garden plants are still blooming, like this hedge rose…
…while others are about to bloom, like this soap aloe (Aloe maculata).
In contrast to winter when everything seems to be at a standstill, spring is a time of feverish activity. In the garden, too, I discover new signs of growth every day. And before we know it, summer will come to Davis, at least unofficially.