A Southern California January once had this displaced Midwesterner believing that there was no such thing as four seasons in the OC.
And then I bought a house and decided to plant a garden. After a few failed attempts I threw out the seed catalogues my mother used to order from, bought myself a Sunset Western Garden guide, found my place in the twenty-four climate zones, and tried to learn the SoCal rules. I learned, for example, that some of the plants I dearly love and wanted to plant, like peonies and cherry trees, won’t grow here for lack of sufficient “chill time“.
Enduring the small disappointments of a perpetually mellow climate, I began year-by-year to notice the small signals of our seasonal changes. A long absence, like our long March visit to Arizona, makes for a dramatic revelation.
This year I return to blooming lavender,
blooming trumpet vines,
columbine (I think),
and Kaffir lilies.
And my apricots, mere blossoms when I left, are coming along.
My avocado is saying it might not skip a year as it sometimes does,
and my “Wonderful” pomegranate, which made me wait five years for its wonderful fruit, has promising fat flowers.
Sadly, while my Swiss chard and jalapenos are harvestable, I’m playing catch-up on tomatoes. Gotta make a run to the garden center!