Saturday, March 24, 2007


Crossvine blooming
When you live in a subtropical place, the changing seasons provide quite a different experience then in places more temperate. I've lived in lots of places, but spent, whether I like it or not, a majority of it in the Midwest (30+ years, all told). It's an area with four seasons: hot humid Summer (3 months), Winter with freezing temps, lots of ice, very gray skies, and several shovel-worthy snow events (5 months), then 2 months each of beautiful, crisp conditions, chilly-to-warm air, and either popping Spring blooms or beautiful Autumn leaves. It's a cycle to be appreciated -- but it's not for everyone. I hate that winter. I hate ice. Snow is alright in pictures but if I have to shovel it, there's too much of it. It's true that winter gets rid of the bugs. It also gets rid of most plants... flowers? fugetahboudit. The extra darkness and one gray day after the next -- damp, cold, bundled up, nose running, fingers aching -- that would drive me batty. Depressing, and seemingly never-ending. That's why there's "Spring-fever"! The first day you get 60 degrees with sunshine... whooo!! Stand back world!!

I've spent another 20+ years in places that don't have that cycle -- that's why I don't miss it. Here in Central Texas I would say that there are 3 seasons. These are just my opinions based on my perspective.

The natives here would undoubtedly disagree (ever see people wearing their heaviest coats, scarves and gloves when it's 50 out?), but there is not really Winter. If you think there is Winter here, then you don't really know what Winter is. I will stand by that statement. Typically there is maybe about a week (added up) that could measure up to any typical Winter day further north (and that's not allowing for freak weather which can happen anywhere anytime... like that ice we had that lasted several days. Freak.) -- so it's not actually a season in my mind.

There is Autumn. Sometime in October it starts to cool down. It will still be in the 80s and 90s, and window-open weather at night. Some leaves turn colors, then fall, but there's plenty of foliage left, including flowers, that stays year round. Eventually there are a few freezing nights, occasionally dusty white stuff (but not every year), but mostly it's very pleasant, like in the 50s to 70s generally through March. Various things (like trees) go into their "spring thing" around January which hits people with allergies pretty hard. My tree allergy is American Elm, which does its thing in February. Cedar Fever has not yet developed, but I'm told that it will. It just takes time.

End of March, early April is when wildflowers are in their peak, and it is soooo beautiful everywhere. It makes me want to get out in the garden and be constructive or helpful, but I will never learn the lesson that gardening makes me bleed, not to mention itch. This little scratch is not bad enough to make Quentin Tarantino proud, but it should be enough to keep me on the porch for awhile. (Agave are not that people-friendly, and I'm glad that someone else has the job of making the tequila, as all I was trying to do was trim off a few leaves)

Summer is coming soon. It's long (5-6 months), and although I don't dread it (except for the return of mosquitoes) I will really miss this time of year, full-on Spring.


beepbeepitsme said...

The plant version I have of the one pictured, is called "cherry ripe" as it is a deep cherry colour fading into light pinks. It is a lovely species of plant.

Blueberry said...

They say that hummingbirds love it, but our hummingbirds seem to prefer the artificial hummingbird feeder. Probably a stupid question, but do you have hummingbirds in Australia? (Hey! Americans have a license to be ignorant!)

Undeniable Liberal said...

Here in Michigan we REALLY get a full winter, and this time of year is when things are coming alive again, and unfortunately, all the ugly stuff that the snow hid now has to be raked and......I LOVE this time of year.

Blueberry said...

I went to Kalamazoo in February once. We were driving and also made stops in Moline and Merrillville IN (Chicago area). Chicago was worse, but Kalamazoo was absolutely bitter and miserable cold.

beepbeepitsme said...

We get honeyeaters. Not sure if they are the same as the hummingbirds you get there though.