Created Monday, 21 February 2011 19:31
Now you may see in my own San Antonio home those aspects of winter which always made this part of the year – late winter, early spring – positively the dreariest of seasons in those places which ostentatiously boast the benefits of having four of them, and all distinct. That point where winter and spring meet – right at the very point where the snow has all melted long since, and it still isn’t quite warm enough for things to start growing again – is enough to make you want to curl up under the comforter and hibernate for another couple of months. The gorgeous colors of autumn leaves and the harvest have long fled, the snow – once crisp and white and even – has turned to dirty grey shreds or melted entirely. The Christmas decorations have long been taken down, or if they have been left up by someone too lazy or addled to do so, they look grimy and dispirited. The trees are mostly bare, the lawns are brown and moderately crunchy . . . and the brutal cold snap has done a number on every kind of outdoor plant save the most evergreen and hardy. Everything green, tender and tropical has been killed right down to the ground, and even those ordinarily sturdy citrus trees have leaves which have wilted back to the stems.
I look out at my back and front yards – I assure you, it’s a grim sight, indeed. I’d love to sign up for one of those television shows where they remake your entire front and back yard – landscape, hardscape, plantings, accessories and all. Starting all over by emptying all the pots and scraping everything else up with a bulldozer – including about six inches of topsoil – would feel pretty good to me at this point. There’d be something very satisfactory at starting all over again. Everything above the ground, and those potted plants that couldn’t be sheltered in the house are as dry and crispy as the neighbor’s lawns.
But – that’s just a mad impulse, brought on by post-winter pre-spring depression. I know that a fair number of the plants will bounce back – they have before: the key lime is practically indestructible. And as long as all the spider-plant roots are sound, they will begin sending out little spears and tendrils with baby spider plantlets on the ends as soon as it has been warm for a good few weeks. The various esperanzas, the ruelias and that strange purple-orchid-flowering vine which fairly gallops up into the almond verbena – they will be back. In fact, the purple-orchid-vine routinely dies back to the ground every time it gets below 25° – which may be just as well, as otherwise it would have taken over half the neighborhood by now.
In another three or four weeks, we’ll be past the danger of frost here in South Texas. Maybe I will go out to some of my favorite plant nurseries then, and think about spring. I mean, by then it will be fairly obvious what is going to bounce back, and what has, metaphorically speaking, cashed in it’s chips and gone to sing in the plant-choir invisible. Milburgers, of course. And the Antique Rose Emporium, most definitely – maybe even a road trip to the Wildseed Farms, out east of Fredericksburg.
Now I feel better – and meantime, enjoy the spring pictures for you to dream over!