Sunday, February 9, 2014

In the Bleak Midwinter . . . .

While that title will ring painfully true for many right now (even a couple of my friends in Portland, Oregon, who were so excited a few days ago about snow, are complaining about cabin fever), here in Tucson we've hardly had anything worth the name of winter. I actually miss it, though I can't complain about sitting outside right now, enjoying 74 degrees or so.
I've had this adenium obesum in my kitchen window for a couple of years, and every winter it drops leaves for a period of relative dormancy (and I try not to get too alarmed), but it's never bloomed before. There are still a couple of buds left to open to add to the already pretty showy cluster of blossoms - I am so excited!
But I'm even more excited about what I picked from the garden yesterday! We've had pepper plants survive for up to 5 years by protecting them from frosts, but never tomatoes or eggplants. (The larger peppers are Cubanelles, the smaller ones very hot jalapeños.) In fact, raising tomatoes here is problematic at best - some years I don't even try, and I almost didn't this year. The Big Boys and wonderful heirlooms that grow well elsewhere . . . well, I've never had any luck with them here, but cherry tomatoes . . . sometimes. Sometimes not. Everything on this platter was planted early last spring and the plants are still going strong. It's very strange and no doubt, like so much of the rest of the strange weather this year, related to global warming, so my gratitude for this beautiful harvest is necessarily tinged with unease. But I can't not appreciate the beauty and abundance.
 This is the blossom of the Golden Sweet Snow Pea, an heirloom variety from India. I purchased the seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds, a small, family-owned seed company with very reasonable prices and packets sized right for small family gardens like ours, and a selection of seeds and other garden-related items one might not find elsewhere, like these gorgeous yellow snow peas! I picked a few this morning and there are lots more on the vines that aren't quite ready.
 A friend gave me a small plant of this strange and very prickly euphorbia whose last name I don't know. Hard to believe it's in the same family as poinsettia. Anyway, I have several larger pots of it now (just break off a piece and stick it in the soil) and they're all getting ready to bloom - just look at all the little pale green buds.
And the Meyer lemon, that's had a rather rough and unproductive year, is also bursting into bloom. I've been watching the buds and today found the first open blossom.
So the weather is crazy but lovely and I'm trying to just enjoy what we have and not think about the heat that's coming or the lack of rainfall here this "winter." I wish winter wasn't hitting so hard in other places, and if you're in one of those places, I hope things let up soon, and I wish you warmth, comfort, and good company.

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