When I returned to California from the Rocky Mountains at the end of the year, I was surprised at the changes in the garden. Shrubs that had barely begun to take on fall colors before Christmas, suddenly were bare and brown. Though we’d had plenty of frosts in the fall, the zinnas under a covered walkway continued to hang on — until the solstice, apparently…. They heard it was officially winter, and they knew in their deepest parts that winter is not for them. They lost their will to live.
The lemons are all bigger and brighter. This tree is so leggy, it needs a good pruning, but I don’t know quite how to proceed at this point… and I especially am puzzled about when to do the job, because it seems always to be bearing. Maybe Alejandro will know what to do.
My spider plant, though it was healthy and green through last winter and this frosty fall, seems to be dead. But cyclamen are popping up, no doubt loving the heavy rains that have thoroughly soaked the ground. Yesterday I found several containers in the yard that had collected a foot of water in the last ten days.
The fountain that I’d turned off before leaving is filled to the brim from that rain, and while I was gone Alejandro pruned the plum and fig trees, and the wisteria. The pomegranates left on those dwarf bushes turned pale from cold and old age. I’ll pluck them soon and put them out of their misery, and prune those bushes, which have grown slightly out of bounds.
With so much of the landscape at its most drab, I was surprised to see bright calendula faces. Dear, hardy little garden friends! God bless you, and all your companions as well, the many who are having a brief rest while you keep watch, and shine brighter than the January sun.