May flowers

The flowers I remember from growing up were old-fashioned summer flowers: marigolds, zinnias, calendula, gladiolus, nasturtium, hollyhocks. We did have some spring bulbs, but they were difficult to naturalize. We also had mums in the fall. And the house I lived in most of my childhood had rose bushes along the front walk. That house also had a large bird of paradise beside the house, and poinsettias.

Moving East brought a whole new world of flowers to me. All sorts of plants that either can’t take the heat of Imperial Valley or need a colder winter period. Philadelphia, especially, had a long spring, and I grew to love the flowers of this season. Boston’s spring can go past very, very quickly, but I still enjoy it while I can.

Among my favorite flowers are those with heavy, sweet scents: lilacs, peonies, lilies-of-the-valley. Lilacs are in full bloom here now, and I’ve seen some peonies in the neighborhood budding up. No lilies-of-the-valley around here that I know of. Since a photograph cannot capture what I most love about those blossoms (not that they aren’t pretty, too!), I took some shots with my phone of another quirky favorite: quince. Their oh-so-short season is ending already.


The seasons of Northern California

Heather at Cabinet of Wonders has written a beautiful post about the seasons where she lives (particularly the one just beginning): All That the Rains Bring.

It may not be frozen, but it can be tiresome, being wet for a whole season; sometimes I envy people in the deep cold, who stay dry in their low temperatures. There is something about cold water trickling into your inner clothing, and the constant presence of mud, which can get to you after awhile.

I’ll just quote here the comment I left there:

Thank you for a wonderful, evocative post! I grew up in the desert in Southern California, but went to college in Davis and lived afterwards in San Francisco before coming East. (I now live in that mythical home-world, Massachusetts.)

Oddly enough, of the seasons here winter reminds me most of the desert—the trees are bare and skeletal, so you can see the ground and the hills that are obscured by green much of the year. And the weather itself is dangerous. Having grown up in the desert, I’m ambivalent about moisture, and I do indeed prefer, if it’s going to be cold and wet, that it be cold enough for the wet to be snow. 28 and snowing is preferable to 38 and rain–and far preferable to 33 and freezing rain!

I describe the seasons of Northern California to my friends as being three: Green, Gold, and Brown. Green, of course, is the season you so beautifully describe just beginning. Gold is the shortest season, but beautiful. And Brown is that dry and sometimes worrisome season when the reservoirs and the fires need an eagle eye.