Color-Starved by Winter – ah, Spring!


I love most seasons, though I admit that the seasons that hold February and August sometimes wear my patience a little thin.  Nevertheless, each season has its own beauty, from the splendor of Autumn to the silvery pastels of winter.  Scents, sights, sounds-all combine to fill the passing seasons with their own special pleasures.

My favorite?  Autumn, I think, though it’s near thing.

Spring, though, where you watch breathlessly as the first crocus pushes its way up through the curls of dry oak leaves, comes close.

By springtime I am ready to turn my shoulder on the silvery pastels and clean-washed skies of winter (and the ‘snirt’ – snow with dirt that edges roadways) and seek color and fragrance.

That is when I head to the local greenhouses.   I went this morning.

One place was a riot of Impatiens and begonias, sitting in hanging baskets or pots ready to be put on front doorsteps.  I admit to a weakness for pansies.  A bowl of them is on my front step right now – velvety amethyst and midnight blue petals.

People walked along the rows of plants, looking for purple torenia (I love those) or gazing dreamily at flowering almond shrubs.  I like the flats of ground cover (and delighted I was to discover that periwinkle – Vinca – is now growing in my yard).

Reds always catch my attention – the many colors of red or reddish that you see in geraniums, begonias or red salvia (which I don’t care for).  I did select poppies in coral and tender red to put in an ornamental garden with a stone bench, a wind chime, two stepping stones, black mulch and white river rocks as a border.  (My sister gets credit for the design.)

One of the workers at the greenhouse smiled when she saw that I was purchasing Summersweet, which blooms in July and August and attracts hummingbirds.  “Very wise of you!  People are so tired of winter and they want color, and so they get what’s in bloom and in a month have a boring garden!”

Hm.  I hadn’t thought of it that way.

I bought bunny tail grass (guess what it looks like) and then spent the rest of the time sighing over heliotrope, sniffing roses, dithering over rich wine-colored pansies (did I mention that pansies, violets, violas and Johnny-jump-ups are my favorite?)

I spent some time in Hawaii as a child, among plumerias, birds of paradise and the other lovely flowers.  Back in the mainland US, we were all exclaiming over buttercups, daisies and irises.

The big challenge now is to plant the things.  I don’t know how many flats of geraniums have given up the ghost while I fiddled around doing other things.

Not this time, though!