Nobody was more surprised than I to return from my mom’s 80th birthday weekend celebration to the sight of paperwhites already in full bloom in the late November garden. Just when all the leaves are down from the trees back east and the earth seems barren and cold as it awaits the full force of winter, it was disconcerting – if pleasant – to come home to mild temperatures and a garden full of subtle but definite signs of life.

IMG_2892 (1)

Sure, mornings here are in the low 40’s and the winter rains have begun, but by midday outside it is back in the low 60’s and complaints seem, at the very  least, ungrateful. Although I admit to having become one of those thin-blooded Californians by now, even I can appreciate how balmy it is here compared to other parts of the country. Balmy enough for the crocuses to think, “Spring!!!” and begin to stir.

IMG_2894 (1)

Balmy and with enough sunshine for the citrus to start coloring up. The Meyer Lemon and Mandarin crops looks promising this year, as do the limes and navel oranges. Once I’ve made my requisite dozens of jars of marmalades, I suspect there will be plenty more to sell to a couple of local restaurants’ pastry chefs as I did last year.

IMG_2895 (1)

Among my winter garden favorites are the violets that form a fragrant and lovely ground cover under our ancient pear tree. Every year they are more prolific and dense than the year before. From the sweet, heart-shaped leaves to the heady scent of the flowers, they never fail to charm me.

IMG_2890 (1)

Back to main

Comments welcome