My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The War of the Seasons

January 23, 2017

Yes, I know, the calendar says it's winter, but when I'm wearing my shorts and T-shirt, it's hard to tell.  I'm pretty sure winter dropped in for a quick visit , early this month, when we had two nights of twenty-three degrees. The natives ran to the store to stock up for those horrendous conditions. But in their defence, we COULD of had a little rain that would freeze on the bridges.

But other evidence is not as clear cut as the calendar. Winter camellias are in bloom, but the blooms are not lasting long, probably due to temps in the mid to high 70's with a couple of days hitting 80. Spring flowering shrubs are blooming and bulbs are starting to grow. And there are still fall leaves to be found. (But very few - so I think we can rule them out.) But then, I'm not sure fall happened at all, or happened for only a few days. The October fall day I arrived here, was the hottest day I'd experienced all summer. (But that isn't much of an argument because I spent the summer in downeast Maine where the temperature was mostly in the 70's.)

For sure it WAS winter during the week of January 8- 14.  Of course, it was also pretty summery for some of those days.

I am still going to Physical Therapy three days a week at seven o'clock.  Then I go on to work out in a gym.  But last Monday, the weather was so soft and the light so beautiful, that I had to stay outside.  I decided to go the the LSU Ag Station Research Center, just down the street from my house.  This place trials trees and shrubs, as well as garden flowers including a huge collection of camellias.  The grounds are so extensive, it is easy to be able walk a few miles while wandering among the little garden plots. There I collected data on several seasons, all jumbled up.

A magnificant magnolia grandiflora-but it doesn't have buds so I can't use it to determine the season

Redbuds are definitely early spring bloomers

The sky was the perfect blue to compliment their pink

Shy camilla bud - late fall through winter

Another camillia

Flirty camillia

If you can't decide to be one or the other, just be both

This giant live oak is still in winter mode - it should both lose its leaves and
start new ones in late February or early March

A view of a gazebo under the pines. They too are replacing their needles which
 they mostly do in the fall

A bank of azalea bushes in bloom  - spring flowers

Sometimes the blossoms occur as twins

But some varieties are almost in a spray form

 Bees were enjoying this azelea

This view is of our typical winter view, with mostly brown colors

But behind me, this saucer magnolia is starting to flower

A closer view

And a very close view into a bloom

Another variety of saucer of magnolia

This saucer magnolia had very skinny petals

Some saucer magnolias just barely out of the bud stage

Blood lilies were just pushing up out of the ground

Holly berries lingered - for a winter feel

A long row of these shrubs had heavy berries and evergreen leaves - another vote for winter

Several citrus trees had had their fruit destroyed by the freeze. But wildlife
and bees were enjoying it - this is a late fall/winter experience

Another winter delight - the remains of seed pods - this is Hibiscus mutabilis 

Gotta be early spring if the red maples are blooming. 

I'm still confused.  What do you think? But I'm looking forward to visiting other gardens in just a few more weeks. By late February, we should be moving quickly into full Spring.  The ever climbing temperatures seem to be resulting in us almost losing winter and extremely shortening spring and fall.  So glad I can at least migrate from the long, hot, humid summers. 

January 28, 2017 - 6:0 AM

This is the first morning I've heard our resident barred owls calling their mating calls. So beautiful and so wintery. And the low temperatures for the next five days will be in in the forties, so my basil kids have to come inside. So I think we will be in winter - probably for the last time, for the next five days.