Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Spring Lilacs!

We've been enjoying springtime around here in Idyllwild since mid-January, with gorgeous sun-filled days and cool, crisp nights with stars so bright they appear to be just beyond your grasp. In April, full-time residents up here like to spruce up our gardens with new plantings, and this year I've certainly been taking part in that tradition!
A few weeks ago, I planted six new lilac trees (or are they shrubs?) in a shady area in front of my house that could best be described as shabby and forlorn. Well, not anymore! With names like Spokane, Pol Robison, and Declaration, my new trees/shrubs are now the prettiest focal point of my entire property. And they smell divine!
I love living in the mountains with a home situated right on the edge of the National Forest. But with the lovely views come some disadvantages—namely, mule deer who love to wander up and down my driveway browsing on all my expensive plants. So up until now, I haven't done much landscaping. In one night, you can literally lose thousands of dollars worth of trees and flowers. And forget vegetable gardening! That's just asking for it. I'd given up on trying to brighten up my yard with anything colorful or delicious.
But recently I gave it some thought and decided to take a chance by landscaping a small area directly in front of my house, next to a steep outside stairway that no deer in its right mind would dare to clamber up or down. Or so I'm hoping... time will tell.
In the meantime, I thought I'd snap a few photos this morning with my iPhone 5 and post them here so you can enjoy them. I have six trees now and they're just starting to bloom. They'll continue this way for a few more weeks, and then it will be time to "dead-head" the spent blooms and wait for new ones to appear next year. By the time my Wild Wire Women retreats begin in September, there won't be any flowers left.
But autumn has its own charms, and I'm already looking forward to getting past the hot summer months and into that season when the acorns litter my decks and the squirrels are busily gathering in their harvest, when the days are warm and breezy, and the nights are cool and cozy.
For now, enjoy my new crop of lilacs! If I get some more gorgeous ones I'll post pix of them in the coming weeks. And if you're interested in coming out for a jewelry making retreat, please contact me soon. My dates are posted to the right, and also on my other blog: Wild Wire Women.
Smelling the lilacs,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Snow

While the eastern half of North America has been in a deep freeze thanks to a polar vortex, Southern California has been experiencing a warmer-than-average "winter" that feels a lot more like spring. Our temps have been in the low to mid-60s each day, not bad for January through March!
Here in Idyllwild at 5,000 to 6,000 feel elevation, our lilacs and flowering plum trees started budding in January and leafing out by early February. We got a few rain storms, but very little snow. In fact, unless you could hike up to the peaks at around 7,000 feet (way above the town), you couldn't find enough to make a snowball! That all changed today.
Here it is, April 2, and technically spring (according to the calendar), and we finally, finally got some snow! About a quarter of an inch at my house. Enough to make everything pretty, and cover my lilacs with a gentle layer of icy goodness. Pictured below, a lilac snowball that looks good enough to eat:
And here's an adorable little quail, standing sentry while his flock scratches the earth in search of sustenance (I spread out seed for them):
Manzanita looks particularly pretty in snow. I love the twisty red-brown branches and soft, olive-green leaves:
By the afternoon, most of our lovely snow was gone. But at least I have some pictures to prove it really did snow here in Idyllwild this year. If not in winter, at least we had some lovely April snow.