SPRING


During March, April, and May, the weather is usually cloudless and mild, but the wind is quite gusty. Spring begins to warm the city a bit and is noticeably free of spring showers, which cover other parts of the country. This is a good time to visit nurseries and start planting bulbs and germinating seeds.

March 2, 2008
The aphids are finally staying at bay with the insecticide I’m using. I hope I will be able to save the daisies. They really are so graceful and wispy. I had to succumb to one of the dying roses. It was no use; I could not save it. The good news is that the other rose bush is doing well. It looks healthy enough to form buds and possibly bloom this summer.

March 6, 2008
I water every other day and wait for the spring blossoms to begin. I planted the dahlia tubers. They began to sprout in the plastic bag that they were in when I bought them. The shade patio is beginning to receive morning sunlight and I moved the bamboo to the brightest corner of the patio.

The earth has turned on her axis and spring’s rays of light are beginning their rotation around our building and garden. Soon enough it will be summer and my depressive mood will begin to fade.

March 15, 2008
All blossoms and buds are beginning to show themselves to the open sunshine. My one rose bush is doing very well in the heat. I hope the summer will bring higher temperatures soon. The caps of the surf on the bay across the street remind me that a chilly wind is blowing about the city, through our windows, and to my face. The winds are prevalent, but I must flow with the rhythm and cycles of the ever-changing temperatures and moods of San Francisco.

The dahlia tubers are doing well and enjoying the sun. They’re starting to pop out of the moss lying upon the soil. They will require a lot of heat. I’ll see the results soon and will know whether I will receive blooms or a stalk of leaves.

I hear the birds in the morning. They sing until the dew is taken by the morning sunlight. I listen to calls that are always heard during the migratory season. They fly through, making stops on their way north to places that still have snow and ice. When I awake in the morning, I immediately gravitate toward the closed blind with light peeking in. Once the blinds are opened, the bamboo and China doll are visibly, pressed against the window. I watch in silence as my body wakes to a sun-filled day. No clouds can be seen and only a slight chill is felt from the evening moon.

March 19, 2008
The salvia is blooming and hummingbirds come to feed from the nectar. I’m very optimistic with the dahlias. They are all sprouting from the rich soil. The hibiscus flowers really filled out this winter and are ready to show their lavender saucers. I hope they bloom continuously this summer. Last year they bloomed once and did not produce new buds, but they had time to acclimate during the winter. This is the second season for all of the plants and they are hardy and strong. New shoots of bamboo are coming up. The ferns inside the house are doing well and coming in healthy, and have recuperated from setbacks earlier this year.

March 20, 2008
I miss my garden in Smyrna. The half acre kept me busy and dissolved any depression that ever loomed. I yearn for days spent in the yard until the sun gave way. I would enter the house drenched in my own sweat, my tired and sore muscles aching. I also miss the crickets at night, the scorching hot summers, listening to heavy storms passing through, and the two enormous oaks that blanketed the ground each season with different colored matter. I long for all those plants and days and seasons. I used to enjoy changing the flowerbeds in front of the house from inpatients to lantana and switching out the garden box in the back, which was used for tomatoes and herbs in the summer. I miss the mint apple, which I used for a cool, light tea. It was refreshing on hot days.

Here in San Francisco, I spend most of my time indoors due to the chilly temperatures and wistful winds. I have a window of warmth on the southern exposed patio for a few hours during the day, and then the sun creeps behind the building to the west and disappears, and the plants fall back into the shade once again. The days are growing longer now that summer is on its way.

March 26, 2008
Some days I can see Gussy in the garden from my window as she tries to stay warm on very cold days. I can see her when she’s raking, pruning or cutting the lawn in her meditative zone.

The Mandevilla is doing excellent. It will flourish tremendously since the rhizomes are in such good shape. The vine is acclimating well. Many leaves and new branches are burgeoning.

This summer promises to be warm, but I will not build my hopes up in the San Francisco climate. The Pacific winds cool the city down considerably. I am surprised the dahlias are doing so well. They usually need a lot of heat.

The maidenhair fern is doing very well also. I have discovered its rhythm for watering. Since this miraculous bond, I feel successful saving such a delicate and finicky plant. The same is true for the mother fern. They are both receiving indirect sunlight and keeping them inside helps protect them from the burning winds that traverse the city. When I had them on the patio, the cool night winds would turn the delicate leaves brown.

April 13, 2008
The hibiscus has started its first bloom of the season. There are at least fifteen to twenty buds where as previously there was only a handful. They are periwinkle with a hint of incandescent blue in the early evenings.

April 14, 2008
An American goldfinch has settled here right outside my door. Birds sing all morning and at sundown. Some stay perched in the shaded courtyard most of the afternoon where it is cool. The sound of spring is exhilarating. A rebirth is taking place within the earth and within me.

The dahlias have taken to the dose of afternoon sun. Blossoms will form once summer rests upon San Francisco. Recently, I have been told that it is very difficult to grow roses in containers. The soil has to have the right combination of compounds and matter to produce and sustain a healthy root system.

The Bougainvillea has been over watered and shows no signs of new growth, but it still carries blossoms from spring. The hibiscus is growing wildly. The ranunculus, which Gussy brought me, has beautiful blooms. I’mmaking sure to soak them well because they thrive in wet conditions. The yellow daisies are doing well except for the crystallized flakes that still remain.

The Mandevilla rhizomes are working hard to create brand new leaves that were nowhere to be found last summer on the shade patio. I have been neglecting the air plants and they are very dried out. I will have to pay more attention, but I don’t find them stimulating.

April 16, 2008
It is a chilly day. I played around in the garden a bit. The plants needed to be soaked. The hydrangeas are in a porcelain container and the water remains stagnant. Not even the sun will dry the soil. On cooler days I’ll have to be stringent with the amount of watering. The tips of the hydrangea leaves are black and dried up. As well, one of the immature blooms has folded up and died. I had to cut the stem low today and be rid of the dying bloom.

April 19, 2008
Gussy always brings gifts when I’m feeling down. Yesterday she lopped branches from a cherry blossom in bloom and carried them up to the apartment.

I’ve placed the large cherry blossom branches in a container of water and have woven a few branches into the railing, to keep them from falling over. I hope they last for a while. They are pink soft clusters, standing tall.

The roses are having a tough time. Mold is accumulating on most of the leaves. I may give the plant to Gussy for her garden at home. They really would do much better in the ground since their root system needs room to stretch and crawl far from the root ball.

April 20, 2008
I’ve cut back some dahlia shoots to allow the thicker and more established stalk to absorb all the energy from the sun, fertilizer, and water. One stalk is at least five-eighths of an inch in diameter. I think it will do very well. I may not need any stakes this year if they continue to expand.

April 27, 2008
I have four dahlia buds, which I’m very excited about. Gussy came to visit the Dahlias and watch them unfold as I have. We find the them exhilarating to watch and form into large blossoms. But, aphids are beginning to take over the very small buds. I used insecticide and drenched them. I do hope this will help. I’m so pleased my maidenhair fern has made a complete turnaround. More watering and fertilizing helps keep the fine leaves healthy. The mother fern is doing just as well.

8 p.m.
The birds chatter outside my window as the day comes to a close in this region of the world. The singing slows down a bit as the sun melts into the Pacific. It’ll be dark soon and everything shall diminish to a low hush.

May 2, 2008
The Pacific winds still keep me chilled to the bone. Gussy brought by the remaining Ranunculus lined under the honeysuckle. Only a few remain and she’ll be replacing them next week with geraniums. The ranunculus reminds me a bit of peonies.

May 7, 2008
My garden is very green right now. There are no blossoms to speak of, though the dahlia is evolving into beautiful flowers. Yesterday was nice, and I’m hoping this is the beginning of a warm summer.

All the ferns are doing well. I’m pleasantly surprised that the maidenhair fern is coming in with healthy fronds. Gussy calls them “prima donnas.” They are a handful. You must stay on top of the watering or they will dry up instantly and turn brown behind your back. They like a good soaking every few days.

I thought of Smyrna yesterday when the birds were singing well into the early evening. The screen doors let in the beautiful sound. There was a blue shade of early evening light that fell upon the apartment. In Smyrna I remember reading in bed and hearing the birds sing well into the mid-evening. This, of course, was summer, when the days grew longer and warmer and more peaceful.

May 8, 2008
Gussy and I gathered a bouquet of flowers from the garden. We arranged them for Paul since he has been so down. (Paul is a roommate and close friend).

Gussy rustled through boxwood hedges as she clipped lily of the Nile, rhododendrons, a premature green-flowering dogwood, roses, and foliage from the nandenus. I was pleasantly surprised at the premature chartreuse of the dogwoods. Eventually, when they begin to mature, they will turn white or pink.

May 11, 2008
I have seven dahlia buds. I’m so happy they are doing well. The ferns are nice and thick since I sprinkled fertilizer pellets on the soil. What a difference in health! The plants on the patio are doing just as well with the fertilizer.

Now that summer is approaching I have a tendency to make my way outside in the early evenings to clip roses from the apartment’s courtyard. I always have a white bouquet of tea roses that bloom abundantly in the containers outside. I have them in a luster vase, and they drape over its mouth.

The bougainvillea’s small white flowers have finally bloomed and the hummingbirds found their way to the nectar, once again. There doesn’t seem to be any new growth and most of the papery thin flowers have lost their petals from the heavy winds that came and went a few weeks ago.

May17, 2008
The lily of the Nile sits in a vase on the porch and has a glow from the evening moon. The tiny buds look like water drops, similar to falling tears. The house is dark and the blue light falls over the white carpet and cream-colored pillows. It is a quiet night and warm too.

May 18, 2008
It was a record high of ninety-eight degrees today. The dahlias loved it. I made sure to soak every plant for the week of exhausting temperatures. The dahlia moves quietly to the south absorbing all the heat. Pinkish petals bourgeon gradually. There are eight buds and all are healthy.

May 27, 2008
I wanted to prepare for this coming winter for forcing bulbs. It is simple to force bulbs for the winter months. Place bulbs in a brown paper bag then leave the bag in the refrigerator for at least six weeks. The bulbs are launched into a dormant stage. They are then removed from the refrigerator and placed in a pot with rich soil. After potting they should be placed in the brightest window and watch them begin to form and grow.