Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Spring Festival of Flowers

Monday, Kathy and I went to Descanso Gardens to see what was blooming. This is an annual event for us. We have to time it around my concert schedule and her travel plans (she just got back from Egypt), but we try to make it sometime in early April. Of course, I take along my camera and I end up taking several hundred pictures—249 to be exact for this year. Don't worry, I am not going to post them all, just a few to give you the idea.

Every time we go to the gardens, we say that we should come back at other times of the year to see what might be blooming in the summer or early winter, but spring just can't be beat for the number of flowers everywhere, not only the usual ones you think of—camellias, tulips, roses, but the more unusual plants, the natives, and especially the flowering trees.

This has been an unusual spring for us in Southern California due to an extremely dry winter and early warm weather. As I mentioned in a previous post, the White-crowned Sparrows left two weeks earlier than usual this year. Well, the tulips at Descanso bloomed two weeks earlier than usual this year and so we missed seeing them at their height. This is not really a good indication of weather patterns, though, because the tulips are dug up and re-planted every year. It just means somebody didn't see what was coming and planted them too soon. The lilacs were in full bloom as were the azaleas pretty much right on schedule. However, the roses hadn't quite gotten started yet. The Camellias were still blooming with lots of unopened buds ready and waiting. There was a lot of dust and pollen on the leaves of these sensitive plants. They looked like they would have dearly loved getting washed off by a nice spring rain.
In the native plant area, the redbuds were just finishing up what looks like was another spectacular display. Several varieties of Freemontodendron were also in full bloom, as were the "California Lilacs" or Ceanothus. This is the area that Kathy likes the most and we were saddened to see that it was in need of some tender loving care. Kathy just couldn't resist the temptation to pull a few weeds and pick off a few dead flowers.

This one is for my young friend Iris. I think purple is her favorite color.

Even though the tulips were "finished" according to some people, I happen to like faded blooms and find them fascinating. The workmen were already busy digging up the bulbs, but I managed to get a few shots of the remaining flowers. The tulip on the right looks like it came out of a 16th century Flemish painting, complete with bug. On some flowers, the petals open wide and then start to curl back. When you get a whole bed of bright red tulips all like this, it is beautiful. Another variety sort of disintegrated turning into a lace-leaf pattern that was quite striking.

If I go bananas over wisteria, I get positively mentally deranged over lilacs. (It's the smell.) Ordinarily lilacs would not do well here because we do not get frosts but Descanso has hybridized their own species of lilacs for Southern California and maintains a garden area of over 500 plants. Kathy, being a Southern California native, has gotten used to my effusiveness when we finally reach the lilac garden at the end of our day.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! And I love the birds from your last post, too.