Perhaps it is the extremely dry atmosphere of the desert that creates the quick response as the sun begins its return. The air seems to lighten so quickly once the solstice is past. While there is probably still the chance of a sudden drop to freezing weather, it has become difficult to imagine as the mornings come ever so little earlier and the evenings grow more golden.
Already the garden seems to have sensed that the great orb is on its return path. Within the first week of the year, the buds began to show.
There are buds on the Brittlebrush (Encelia farinosa).
Planted last year, this will be the first time I've seen it bloom in the garden. It grows wild along the roadsides, where it brightens the late winter scene. I've been anxious to add it to the East Border, not only for the yellow flowers, but also for the intensely silver foliage.
Senna nemophila, on the other hand, has been flowering through the winter...
...enough to already carry a good many seedpods.
But it is also suddenly loaded with buds.
And just this morning I discovered a mass of buds on Eremophila maculata 'Valentine'.
But it's not just the shrubs. After months of wondering whether Nerine sarniensis 'Corusca major' would ever show any signs of life, there is some green poking up at the tips of the bulbs.
And I have watched as, ever so slowly, Alyogyne huegelii brought forth its first flower.
It opened just in time for the first rainfall of this winter.
Its blue was perfect against the clearing skies.
Then there are the flowers already in bloom.
Justicia californica has been rather spare of bloom so far, putting its energy into dominating the North Border instead, but the bright scarlet flowers are beginning to emerge more freely now.
They are doing what they do so well, feeding hummingbirds. Evening shadow was already across the garden when Jewel decided to pose for the camera.
And while the 'Autumn Colors' narcissus have finally gone over, their place is being taken by the paperwhites. Here is Narcissus 'Nir' in sun...
The miniature roses continue to keep the garden flooded with color.
With one rainfall, everything feels much fresher. I don't know whether it's worth hoping for more, but who knows...? As our brief brush with cold weather recedes, the plants are perking up and thinking about spring. There is plenty of color and the promise of a good deal more.
Weather Diary: Light clouds; High: 78 F (26 C)/Low: 45 F (7 C); Humidity: 23% - 97%