It’s Sprung!

Spring, that is! Early March and here on the San Francisco Peninsula, we’ve had a couple of good soaking storms during February, and now we’re about 10 days into nice – though we can expect more rain at some point in the next 60 days unless global warming has completely mucked up our climate, so it’s not all sunshine and picnic for a bit longer.

But when I walked out this morning to enjoy my morning caffeine ration on the patio, this is what I saw:

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This corner of my garden used to be occupied by the oak tree whose stump you can see, surrounded by a 70s-era redwood hot tub that was, to put it kindly, rather decrepit. That is, the deck of the hot tub was ok to sit on, but the tub itself had lost whatever was holding the staves together some time in the distant past, and had become a haven for every six- and eight-legged creature native to the area, and probably some that were more exotic as well. For all I know (no way was I going to brave it) there could have been hissing cockroaches from Madagascar!

About 3.5 years ago, as I was getting ready to leave for work, I heard a loud creaking noise and came out of the bathroom (at the opposite end of the house from the yard) to find that the oak tree had come down right onto the house! After the first round of panic, I was relieved to find that the tree’s two largest branches had come to rest on either side of the peak of the roof, so there was no permanent damage. But the tree and the tub enclosure had to go. After about a month of having a yard filled three feet deep with oak tree remains, it finally got cleared out and my landlord came in with three camelia bushes (pink, white and red flowers) and three shrub-ish plants I’ve not identified, plus a couple of creeping jasmine.

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Now, what we are seeing above is the stump of the oak in the corner of the fence; the stump is becoming home to a healthy crop of “witches’ cap” fungus, which is gray in the summer but in winter and wet weather has a nice brown tint with almost-yellow edges. I think it’s really wonderful to watch how something can go from towering over the neighborhood to becoming the home to a totally different, but equally interesting, plant. I do love me some cycle of life stuff!

The rocks around the stump are ones I’ve picked up here and there. They make a sturdy base for my Om rock, which is actually a cast resin piece I picked up at a craft fair several years ago. That lovely flowering ground cover in the foreground is the Vinca minor mentioned in the previous post – where I grossly overestimated the amount of time it would take to see a full bunch of blossoms. I swear that, when I took that photo just two days ago, I could see only perhaps 10-15 potential blossoms; I guess the weather has been warmer than I’ve realized!

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And this is the Vinca major, snuggled up against the back of a garden bench – also flowering, though not as profusely as it’s in a shadier part of the yard. Still you can see the difference in size easily. That stand is about 18″ high!

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I got two of these IKEA rolling planters and every year I put something colorful in it. That’s garlic in the back, and assorted peonies (I think) surrounding it. The other planter has pale pink and purple plants with the yellow, but it’s on the other side of the yard. This one sits in the corner of the patio in front of the stump.

One thing you should know about this plot of land – it is not terribly good for growing food. I’ve tried tomatoes in planters, carrots in the ground, and a couple of other food crops, but the configuration doesn’t allow for the kind of full sun you need. Seems that the giant pine tree sucks up most of the nutrient, so I’m pretty much limited to growing fresh herbs – basil, marjoram, thyme, oregano and rosemary, plus lavender for scent. But a couple of years ago, I bought a little dwarf Meyer lemon. It’s flowered prettily in the past, but hasn’t set fruit… until now!

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I have LEMONS!!! FOUR OF THEM!!! Lemonade for all! Come knit in the sunshine!

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2 Comments to “It’s Sprung!”

  1. Nice photos! They’re particularly attractive, given that about all I can see outside is snow! The pink flowers, and probably the yellow ones are primroses, something my grandmother used to grow.

  2. Thanks, joy! I think one of my friends said they were something that started with a P, but I have some memory issues, and figured it’s better to be vague than totally wrong! I hope you got a glimpse of spring to warm your day in your colder climate.

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