Across April.

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“Puhpul flowers”

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“Peas? More peas?”

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“Caderperar right dere?”

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“Tomayo!” (And a sweet potato volunteer…)

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“Uh oh. It get down.” (The arbor fell in a storm.)

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“Snail! Hold it? Mama hold it?”

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“Carrots ok.” (And more sweet potato volunteers.)

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“Lello flowers.” (On a broccoli that never made broccoli but made plenty of greens and is now over six feet tall. This photo is at my eye level and it’s well over my head.)

Now, onto preparing for a little gardener’s airplane party… (“aye-plane!Noise…See it!”)

These aren’t those.

I traveled to Houston this week on business and the wild flowers called to me. They wanted to speak to y’all. They wanted to share their view of the world with each of you. I hadn’t packed my camera, nor did I schedule a spare moment to pull over to the side of the road. Boy, doesn’t that say something.

I didn’t schedule a single moment to spare.

As a result, I have blurry pictures taken through a dirty car window speeding by on a windy day. So…low resolution splotches and splashes of color. So instead, I will merely share their names with you, and within such names a link to images from others. Other people who thought to pack cameras. Other people who allowed buffer in their day. Who took the time to take pause. I hope I’ve learned my lesson. I fear I will be relearning it time and time again, the hard way, in the weeks and years to come. I won’t say that I didn’t try though. I have and I will continue to try.

Bluebonnets, that for nearly a decade I would accidentally call blue bells, carpet the roadsides. Other roadsides prefer a warmer shade of blossom in the form of Indian Paintbrush. Not to be confused with Downy Paintbrush. Then there are the Winecups and the Moss Verbena adding some purple to the scene. We can’t neglect the yellow of the Engelmann’s Daisy, the Texas Star, or the countless other yellows soon to pop. Or the white of the blackfoot daisy or the wrinkly poppy that are coming soon. The summers here may turn brown and dry and drab, but the springs contend with the best of the springs out there.

I did have my camera this morning though and there are things up and about on home turf. Stretching their arms to the sky in a morning yawn. Wriggling their toes deeper into the soil with the help of the sprinkler. Working on their tan in the sunbeams or flexing their muscles in the wind, the growth has started to outpace the pill bug population…or so I hope.

Elian the Avocado is working on his next few inches.
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An accidentally acquired navel orange is giving it a go in hopes of a bee or two.
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These leeks have an rather cumbersome bedfellow…
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The Peas That Nearly Weren’t are in need of a stick to climb.
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And it’s past time to mow thanks to the timing of the rain lately and the alignment of naps and daylight.
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Thankfully, the baby monitor that I left to fend for itself in the flood waters from the sky has miraculously recovered so I am once again free to roam about once or twice a day on weekends. Or as I say, “I’m going to go play outside now.”

As luck would have it…

Saturday I could hardly believe my luck. Again? Weather and kiddo and energy and cough? Glorious. I’m not sure I’ve ever more enjoyed pulling thistle (and henbit and dandelion.)
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Besides, it gave me the good fortune to witness the opening of these…wild crocuses? I do have some Prairie Crocus here and there, but the centers of these little wildlings look different (more like a cone), as do the leaves. Any ideas?
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I also managed to sneak in some seed sowing (even if I had to keep my phone on me for a little work wrangling.)
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In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve never been one to invest in actual labels. I’m not sure why. Instead, I tend toward taking pictures of what went where and the metadata of the photo captures the day and time for me automatically. Perhaps I’ll treat myself to labels soon enough. (I did receive some lovely ones as a gift this year, so it really is only about actually using them at this point…brains are silly things.)

And just as I was about to sow something on the heads of where I’d planted the potatoes because they were obviously not doing anything themselves…
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I took a closer look.
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Now if only the peas I planted in their midst would sprout…

A winter’s promise.

The same day we put in the starts, we kept going. I couldn’t very well leave more than half of a newly turned bed empty! Now there are a lot of options out there for labeling your plants, marking your rows, and otherwise organizing what-went-where in such a manner that you can recall what’s what when it comes time to evaluate who is a Re-do and who is a Poo-poo for next year. My favorite methods are generally simple, geometric, alphabetical, cheap, and biodegradable. If you didn’t guess already – I use sticks.

Why, what do you use?

Stick borders
Sticks marking out different planting areas for different seeds to be sown.

A lot of my gardening enjoyment comes from this very stage of the process. Sprout identification is fun for me. As soon as the first sprig of green appears, I’m guessing what it is and holding tight to the knowledge in my memory banks from past sowings. Part of it is pure nerdy pleasure, and part of it is not wanting to pull a “weed” that would actually be a beautiful, productive, or otherwise enjoyable volunteer. That, and surprises and mysteries are fun!

Lettuce mob
A mob of lettuce sprouts. I sowed maybe…five? varieties of lettuce this year. Some Cimmaron, some Little Gem, some others I’ll remember when they grow bigger…

Peas
There’s no mistaking a pea sprout for much of anything else. I’m holding hope they won’t die in a frost (or be nibbled) before finding the daylight required for a full-on growth spurt, but I’m also mentally prepared to resow during the “proper” time window awhile into the calendar yet.

Carrots
This year I’m attempting to follow conventional wisdom in more ways that rows. “Over-sow and thin” has always felt odd to me. A loss of preciously saved seed. A death of little plants that could grow into food. A waste.
After as many feast or famine years as I’ve had with carrots and lettuce, I’m giving it a go this spring. We’ll see how I feel when it comes time to actually thin them though…

Yarrow
The yarrow is alive! This is my third attempt to time sowing (and remember to water properly) to get these stinkers to sprout. Yarrow is supposed to be a wonderful attraction for beneficial insects, and I’ve sown a decent patch of two varieties smack dab in the middle of the bed.

Beets
I’ve honestly lost track of how old these beets are. I think they were softball-sized last spring? We’re harvesting the greens at this point, the beets having loooong ago gone woody. I’m curious when they’ll finally go to seed…

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In the meantime, I have more (purchased) beet seeds making elegantly hued sprouts a few steps away.

Broccoli
And I think more broccoli…or it could be cauliflower. My brain has lost track of that memory and I don’t yet have the knowledge bank to differentiate between the two sprouts…if there even is a way.

What seeds are you sowing (or going to sow) for your first spring garden bites?