Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It’s official: spring is here

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!

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Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis)

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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.

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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:

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Native trees and shrubs, like valley oak and California buckeye, are leafing out.

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Some non-native garden plants are still blooming, like this hedge rose…

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…while others are about to bloom, like this soap aloe (Aloe maculata).

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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.

8 comments:

  1. The first day of spring and you're already talking abut summer...only in California! :)

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    1. LOL. Californians do have a reputation for being, well, different!

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  2. So envious of all that sun and colour you have there! Spring equinox may have arrived but we're still patiently awaiting the arrival of sunny weather here :)

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    1. I feel for you. From what I've been reading, it's pretty cold. My relatives in Germany are getting tired of the cold, too.

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  3. I love seeing all of that green freshness! The Eastern Redbuds haven't woken up yet. Soon I hope.

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    1. Would love to see an Eastern redbud in bloom. Are they very similar?

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  4. We saw Redbuds blooming going down the canyon last week to Redding. So lovely. Only the cedars are blooming up here! Oh, we had a couple of violets starting to bloom in the lawn!

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    1. Our bay trees are in full bloom. Will take photos when this §(!/%& wind dies down.

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