I have always adored spring in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, especially compared to New Mexico. This year, however, the two are pretty similar.
True, I have many a picture of my young sons in their polyester Easter jackets, shivering as they sort of smile while holding their Easter baskets full of eggs.
But this year, we are expecting a hard freeze tonight, six days before Easter, a highly unusual occurrence. I worry with proprietary interest for my daughter-in-law's tomato plants, already in the ground. With a good harvest, some of those sun-warmed, ripe off the vine babies are headed straight for my mouth. MMMM.
This year, the mesquite are wrong. Southwestern wisdom is that gardeners can relax when the mesquite bushes begin to leaf out--no more freezes. But this year, the mesquite are leafing. And here comes the freeze. Pecans are supposed to be predicters too, but I think they also have been fooled.
In the Tularosa Basin of New Mexico, fruit trees bloomed by Feb. 28, at least in the 1950s and 1960s. The pansies kept blooming, of course, and the forsythia bloomed, the daffodils eventually straggled out. Mom, who had lived in Colorado, loved columbine, so Dad planted several under the middle cottonwood tree. The duststorms came and went, ocvcasionally accompanied with rain that turned the air into mud.
Nights and early mornings were chilly. Iris waited till late April to bloom, maybe May. THEN the roses bloomd, and it was almost summer, and skies were blue, the days pleasantly warm.
In Texas,usually you have the redbud trees leading the parade, heralding the banks of azaleas exploding into bloom along Turtle Creek in Dallas and the Trinity River in Fort Worth. Pansies bloom in every color. Forsythia and japonica come out. Iris blooms. And then the wildflowers, sometimes covering whole fields with an abundance of color. Enough happens simultaneously to make it a spectacular show. But spring in Texas this year is just sort of showing up like flowers sneaking in late to work.
The redbuds bloomed, and the trees were glorious as usual, but kinda by themselves. The pear trees finally bloomed and faded. A glorious bed of purple iris outside my back door bloomed fulsomely for about two weeks, then died. The azaleas are just getting started. The white iris are just starting.
Last year, the crabapple trees, pear trees, and iris all bloomed at the same time, with roses chiming in at the end. This year, the crabapple tree out front leafed first and is only now blooming. Pretty up close. Kind of dusty looking from a distance. And the roses are thinking about it. The bluebonnets are out, but not spectacular. Other wildflowers are not up yet. Spring wildflowers are my delighted indulgence, an eye-gorge of abundance in good years. A little more rain, and we may still have plentiful color. But not yet.
And for the second year, it looks like the dress I bought for Easter last year won't be warm enough to wear. Oh, well. It is the only dress I own, and I'll wear it later. A friend's wedding in May comes to mind.
As I reflect on my love of the free show constantly around me, I wonder if that is at least partially why I can seldom indulge in a manmade luxury. I just wasn't driven enough. Oh, I like luxuries, just fine. But I guess I'm lazy. Give me nodding fields of flowers, cheap fresh asparagas in the spring, laughing grandchildren and a morning cup of strong tea with a splash of milk, and life seems rich indeed.