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I loved the colors of San Miguel. I could (and will) wander the streets for hours on end. It seemed that at every turn something new and different and beautiful caught my photographer’s eye. There were details, some accidental, some by design, and some a partnership with nature and the sun. But all were beautiful.

And I love bougainvillea. It was one of my Mother’s favorites. The first time I ever saw it was in San Francisco when I was 14. Mother hadn’t seen it in years, and was thrilled. She would have been delighted with this peach variation on the classic brilliant pink.

Weather report here in Colorado? Snow last Friday, 70 degrees today, snow on Wednesday. Welcome to Spring!

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “There’s a magic here working its way through my veins. There’s something about the vegetation, too, that I respond to instinctively – the stunning bougainvillea, the flamboyants and jacarandas, the orchids growing from the trunks of the mysterious ceiba trees.” — Cristina Garcia

Daily gratitudes:
Small barefoot toddlers
Meeting a dog at the bus stop this morning
MKL
Snagging the last bag of cat food for Mr. Man
Back-and-forth viewing between the presidential candidates and Dancing with the Stars

It has been a beautiful weekend for so many reasons, starting with this lovely peony that transformed itself as it bloomed. So much more to come!

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I want to try with someone who loves me enough to try with me. I want to grow old looking at the same face every morning. I want to grow old looking at the same face every night at the dinner table. I want to be one of those old couples you see still holding hands and laughing after fifty years of marriage. That’s what I want. I want to be someone’s forever.” — Rachel Gibson

Daily gratitudes:
Mountains
Road trips
Champagne
Moonrise
Cottonwood Hot Springs
Love
MKL

This year, we have icicles on apple blossoms. I feel like that myself sometimes – a bloom encased in frost. I have been poked and prodded and scoped and smushed this week, all for the routine testing to ensure that I am not following in my Mother’s cancer-prone footsteps. And all appears to be well. Just one more test result to go. It is nice to be emerging from this long winter, and I feel changes coming. I am trying to get a grip on whether I want some things to change, and am making steps in some new directions as a writer. I am looking forward to consolidating houses with MKL, although that is an amazingly daunting process. And so looking forward to my sweet cousin coming to visit next month. The house will never have been cleaner. I’m actually enjoying spring cleaning, and have dug a garden bed. There’s a little azalea plant, and some johnny jump-ups, daisies, and globe basil in the sunroom. And my poinsettia seems to have survived repotting – it’s over eight years old now. My boss gave it to me when my Mother died, just before Christmas in 2005.

This seems to be all random stream of consciousness, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s the snowmelt of my mind.

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Louisville, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” — William Shakespeare

Daily gratitudes:
Cute babies
My bed
Ginger ale
Surprise flame roses from MKL
Opportunities

 

My grandmother had an emerald green thumb.  My Mother always joked that hers was black.  The green thumb seemed to skip a generation and land on my hand.

Having a black thumb did not stop my Mother from trying.  In fact, I have very early memories of her gardening, and in springtime, it takes very little to make them all come rushing back.  Today in a coffee shop, there was a tall vase of forsythia branches behind the counter.  That was the trigger.  And so, I took a mental tour of my yard as I was growing up.  Won’t you join me?

There was a forsythia bush at the back of the yard, against the fence by the alley.  It was always the first thing to bloom come spring; that was how I knew that spring was really here. 

Next would come the tulips.  They were planted along that same fence and returned every year.  Red, red with yellow stripes, and yellow ones. 

The forsythia bush was there before my parents bought the house, but my mother planted the tulips before I was born.  Clematis vines also grew along that wall, in random shades of purple – they were some of her favorites.

On the backside of that segment of the fence was a Mimosa Tree. I loved those blossoms – nectar-sweet fragrance, and kitten-soft pink blossoms.  It stopped blooming at some point after I left home. 

None of the garden was ever tended.  After my mother ran out of time (and patience with her thumb), she allowed what was established to continue, but never added, weeded, tended, or watered.  She just let it be.  Though seed catalogs continued to come to the house for my whole life – perhaps a sign of perpetual hope.

I do remember when I was almost 3, sitting in the dirt with her and helping her plant seeds – carrots, I think it was, for I vaguely recall pulling some of them with her in the summer.

On the fence at the side yard grew white climbing roses – Iceberg Roses.  They were delicately fragrant. 

And under the kitchen window was a beautiful red rose bush.  Mother used to cut blooms for my father to take to work with him, carefully wrapping the stems in tinfoil for his walk to work.

The north and south sides of the fence were covered with honeysuckle.  Such a strange plant, it looks dead in winter, then as spring inches in, those skeleton branches turn velvet and supple, start sprouting new leaves, and finally bloom with creamy trumpet-shaped flowers. 

My thumbnails were stained yellow half the summer from breaking off the ends of the blossoms, gently pulling out the stamen and touching my tongue to the single drop of nectar that shone at the end of that strand.

Moving around to the front yard, there was a Camellia bush under the dining room window, rich with pink blooms that turned brown so quickly after they were cut.  It always struck me as the quintessential Southern plant, and I loved how tightly the camellia buds were wrapped when they emerged.

By the front door was my favorite, a gardenia bush, that did not always blossom, which made it all the more special when it did.  The dark leaves used to get small bugs on them that I would spend time delicately squishing from my perch on the stone slab along the stairline.  When I was pregnant, I used to have olfactory hallucinations, and the primary one was the smell of gardenias.

Wisteria was rampant under the study window, dripping with lavender blooms in the summer and sueded green seed pods in fall.  It expanded to fit the available space, sometimes trying to crawl into the house from under the eaves, and the bees made us run screaming past it in the late afternoons when we played out front.

Under both front windows were the dreaded juniper bushes.  Prickly and unpleasant, we kept our distance – although E-Bro did hide a six-pack of beer under one of them once as a young teenager – I think he found it again some years later.

The lower steps were lined on either side by drifts and drifts of purple and white thrift.  I loved the thrift – I used to nibble the flowers like a little goat, as they were so sweet and delicate.  These cascading flowers (not really called thrift, but that’s the only term I knew them by) were so spectacular that the newspaper once carried a picture of them.  But over time, they were consumed by ivy.

And finally, by the street, two crepe myrtle trees with flamboyant magenta flowers. 

I have omitted mentioning the pecan trees for a reason – I’ll save that for another day.  Thanks for joining me for a tour of the yard as I remember it.  I wonder what Kelsea will remember about my garden in 35 years?

February 2019
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