It May Be Early — but it’s Spring! (Almost)

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”  ~~ Ruth Stout

We’ve had an extremely weird winter, so far.  We had pouring, drenching rain through much of December — and not much since — which does not bode well for the latter days of summer this year.  Then in late January we had a week or two of freezing cold, which was most unusual for our part of the world — and the rest of the winter we’ve rarely needed more than a light-weight jacket or sweatshirt.

I read other gardening blogs and it seems that most of the ones I follow are still posting photos of snow in their gardens.  Wherever they are it is definitely still winter.  But here, this is an in-between time – a liminal time of year.  Winter is gone — and spring is oh-so-near, but not entirely here just yet.  The flowering plums and pears are almost finished with blossoming out.  The daffodils are almost gone for the year.  This is the time for setting out bedding plants – very carefully.  We can still get caught by a late frost.

waiting 2

… primulas, peas, and parsley … there ought to be a nursery rhyme in there somewhere …

seedlings

Two of my favorite gardening quotes:

And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden…You will find yourself a partner in the Glory of the Garden.  ~~Rudyard Kipling

Spring is nature’s way of saying, let’s party!  ~~Robin Williams

The first acknowledges the plain hard-work that goes into spring — clearing out last year’s leftovers, turning the soil, mulching, planting and moving.  The second expresses so well the sheer joy that is spring — the happiness that comes with getting out there and getting your hands in the dirt, planning  new beds, finding new varieties to try.

Rosemary

Some plants just do their thing, winter or spring.  The six-foot tall rosemary  doesn’t care what the calendar says — and neither do the bees.  You can’t really see them here, but every day when the sun shines they’re out there — swarming all over the blue blossoms … busy, busy, busy 

Happy Spring everyone!

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Garden Whimsy

Whimsy can be humorous to someone with time to enjoy it.  ~~ Anonymous

The weather is all over the place — heavy frost, spring-like warmth, sunshine, rain, and back to sun again — we never know what to expect these days.  On sunny days it’s obvious that spring can barely contain itself and yet it can all too easily be a snare and a delusion — a trap for the over-eager.  Rush those bedding plants into the ground and watch a heavy frost come along and sap all the energy out of them, leaving you with a bed full of weak, spindly trying-their-level-best-to-flower plants.  Best to be patient just a little longer.

There are a few leaf buds in Ray’s Garden but much of the flower garden is bare right now and this reveals unexpected delights for anyone with a sense of whimsy who might be wandering through in search of early signs of spring.

sun face

Little treasures that are hidden away much the year in all the fertile greenery — not great art by any means — just little things to make you smile when they are discovered.

“A garden isn’t meant to be useful. It’s for joy. “    ~~ Rumer Godden

house 2

I hope the tenant of this tidy home is enjoying the early primulas …

bench 1

An invitation to have a seat and dream for awhile…

“A garden without its statue is like a sentence without its verb.” ~~  Joseph W. Beach

lantern 3Sea and earth and human creation, all together under the ferns …

I love this little bright-blue creature — one of my absolutely favorite discoveries …

birdbath

And then, because this is Ray’s Garden, there are angels everywhere.  Here …

angel head wall hang

and here …

sitting angel

and this rather stern fellow who watches over it all from the main doorway …

doorknocker 900Garden additions — whether true art or whimsy — share a bit of the gardener’s soul with all who are lucky enough to be invited in to look and discover.

“From there to here, and here to there — funny things are everywhere.”                 ~~ Dr. Seuss

Happy almost-Spring, everyone!

Dreaming of a White Christmas

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten, and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow ~~ (with thanks to Irving Berlin)

We all know the words and we can all sing along with the movie,  but for most of us in the western part of California– that’s all it is — an image from a movie.  A “White Christmas” has a very different meaning here in Ray’s Garden.

We don’t have a lot of words today, just some pictures we hope you enjoy, all taken within the last week or so …

white Iris

Solanum

white rose

Dutch Iris

impatiens

And just ‘because’ — after all, most things look better with a little contrast thrown in …

red berries

To quote from the movie once more: “Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it white.”   All of us here at The Office Spot wish you and yours all the blessings of the season.  Happy Holidays!

Seasons Change

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.  For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad ~~ Edwin Way Teale

You could be forgiven for believing we are still in high summer around here — for one thing, it’s 100 degrees today!  And there are summer blossoms galore all around the garden…

…but if you look closely you can find signs that change is coming …

So while the work of the garden will still involve a lot of clipping and watering to maintain summer’s blossoms for awhile yet, the clues are there — that it is time to start planning for next year.

Garden time is always right now, next month, next season.  Enjoy the fullness and bounty of summer, while planning the work of fall — and all the while dreaming of the spring to come.