Friday, February 03, 2017


The day I see as the beginning of Spring, the day halfway between solstice and equinox, is here. Some of the neo-pagans call it Imbolc; in my Donzalo novels it is named the Feast of Awakening.

It very much looks like Spring in my part of the world, the panhandle of Florida. This is not the Florida of which most of you might think when you hear the name. We are ‘Deep South’ here, not subtropical. We have no orange trees. We have hard freezes in the Winter but, thankfully, light snow is a once-in-a-decade sort of occurrence.

My magnolias are blossoming, the azaleas are beginning to do the same, although the winter camellia blooms have not yet faded. Even the rosemary is covered with little purple blossoms. I would expect the pears to come out shortly, the first of the fruit trees to flower, and the hazelnuts to be putting out catkins. Let us hope we are not surprised by a late freeze — this is the mildest Winter I have experienced here, only two nights of hard freeze so far, but cold air could still find its way down to us.

It is time to finish transplanting any and all trees. I still have peaches I need to move and I should separate and transplant some of the hazelnuts. The native wild cherry trees that pop up here and there in my yard (thanks to mocking bird poop) should be relocated, as well. They make an attractive medium-height high-crowned tree that can be placed reasonably close to the house or work nicely on my property borders.

And then, new growth on the shrubs — the PG hydrangeas, the firethorn — needs to be clipped to make some starts. These are two plants that seem to hold up here through summer heat and winter cold when others fail, so I’m putting in more of them. Those and the nandinas which are all around my house as ‘foundation plantings.’ I start them from the berries with which they are currently loaded. All low maintenance sorts of plants!

Lots to do in this month, before getting out and about in March. Where I shall getting out to, I’m not sure, but I’ll almost certainly make the annual pilgrimage to the Will McLean Festival. What might come after that, I have no idea!

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