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%
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Marcelo (Sunday, 14 January 2018 17:14)
Amy, these pictures are beautiful! It's summer here and temperatures are scorchingly hot, my poor roses are struggling to survive so I am glad to see yours looking so happy after the rain! Wish you a very happy new year!
Kris P (Sunday, 14 January 2018 22:31)
You captured that wonderful light well, Amy. The Alyogyne bloom is beautiful. There are no signs of those blooms here yet but then I'm not sure my plants are all that happy. I noticed a subtle change in the light myself today - even though the Santa Ana winds have returned here, the dull gray film that has hung over the harbor for what seems like months was finally gone, scrubbed away by last weeks rain at last.
Ian Lumsden (Monday, 15 January 2018 10:28)
Given that we have had a dark January the phrase "flooded with color" has a certain resonance. I don't know the particular narcissus, however I will shortly as it is a delicate beauty. Your roses give great value and seem to last all through the year. Delightful, as ever Amy.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Monday, 15 January 2018 10:38)
Marcelo - The next few months are the very best in the garden here. I am so looking forward to them before the big heat comes... ;-) Sending greetings - wish I could send a little cooler weather to you and your roses!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Monday, 15 January 2018 10:39)
Kris - Isn't it wonderful what even a little rain can do?! It scrubbed away the dust so nicely here... :)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Monday, 15 January 2018 10:43)
Ian - I've had my eye on some of the paperwhites for garden use here and very glad I decided to try this one. As I recall, I selected 'Nir' because it is said to bloom a bit earlier than the usual 'Ziva'. I would say it bloomed very quickly indeed from planting! Hope you get a little sunshine soon - at least we are on the right side of winter now... ;-)
Cathy (Monday, 15 January 2018 14:18)
A beautiful post Amy, full of hope and optimism! Just what I need in January. :) Gorgeous photos (especially love seeing those grasses) and I do love that silvery leaved Brittlebush plant.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Monday, 15 January 2018 15:27)
Cathy - I'm so pleased to have the brittlebrush out there and really looking forward to its bright yellow flowers. I hope winter drab is soon over for you and your garden!
Brian Skeys (Tuesday, 16 January 2018 10:50)
The lengthing days do bring optimism Amy. Here though the rain is cold winter rain and hail. Your narcissus are like bright stars in the sky and I love the blue bell like flower, which is completely new to me.