While outside weeding on this 65-degree, sunny day (Oh, so that’s what sunshine feels like… it has been raining so long, I’d forgotten how lovely the sun feels upon the pallid skin in early spring), I noticed all kinds of new growth around the garden.

Weeding efforts focused on the California poppies that, living up to their name, are doing their best to “pop” up all over the front garden, in and around the roses and deep inside the protective camouflage of the ground covers where they doubtless hope to proliferate unnoticed. Of course, one doesn’t want to eradicate them completely. They do add a certain wild, cheerful – even hedonistic – element to the sedate roses around them. And in recent years we have had large swaths of not only the classic brilliant orange poppies, but delicate pink and white ones as well. So we want to encourage those varieties.

While pulling the worst poppy offenders, I discovered another incipient arrival; this arum variety with its enormous flower spike. That flower, when it blooms, will be nearly black in color, and of a rich, velvety texture that is both unusually gorgeous and gorgeously unusual.

Sadly, the orchids in their gigantic pots on the back terrace did not fare well this winter. Several hard frosts in January and early February killed off most of the new growth, leaving me only one surviving specimen – and as you can see, even this one doesn’t look too healthy.

Too much frost, not enough sun… we droop in protest.

Finally, along the back fence is a clematis planted three years ago as a tiny rooting. It didn’t do much to impress me during either its first or its second year in the garden. This year, however, I see hopeful signs that it has finally settled in and will produce some of the spectacular white blooms it is known for.

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