April 15, 2010

Teeming Green

The intensity of spring's growth is beginning to seem almost violent around here: armies of hosta (above), swords of Solomon's seal and tansy, and little fists of fern fiddle heads (below). It's as if every plant knows it has only a few short months to grow and reproduce before admitting defeat, once again, to a long harsh winter.

The rapid pace of it all makes me a little anxious and homesick for California's more subtle seasonal changes. Botanist Lester Rowntree (1879-1979) describes this milder but still varied climate in her 1936 field guide to native plants suitable for gardens, Hardy Californians:
"Tourists in California often complain that there are no seasons. 'How you must miss the seasonal changes!' they commiserate us. Let them turn [plant] collectors. They will soon find that while in the lowlands Nature perhaps does not express her changes of tense in such emphatic terms as in the East, they are in the grip of the seasons here just as surely as in the climes where winter is for skating and summer for swimming.
"Water is California's greatest benediction and it controls the inception and the intensity of the seasons. Drought has enforced a summer's rest upon growing things. The chaparral-covered slopes with their many variations in texture and in shadings of greens and browns, wait for rain. The live-oak dappled hills are drowsy slopes of pale gold velvet. " (Hardy Californians, 1936)
Which helps explain why, when Vermont is getting ready to fight the good fight against Old Man Winter with this teeming, wet, green advance:

The Californian in me is feeling ready for something a little more golden and sleepy:

1 comment:

  1. I can hear the ground rumbling in Vermont.