Notes from the Garden

by Julie Hawley

Let me tell you this: California is a place to behold. The flora during springtime is unbelievably beautiful, with vivid colors, textures and smells.

I just returned from spending ten days with my brother and his family who live in Nevada City, California, about an hour and a half east of Sacramento. The drive to Nevada City gradually climbs to an altitude of 2,500 feet; the winding roads leading to their place surrounded by forests and grassland. The town is small, population nearly 3,000. It's an old gold mining town, settled about 1849.

After the gold rush, the people who decided to stay and settle built the picturesque town that still stands today. The local historical society has successfully prohibited chain stores of any kind, so every coffee shop, restaurant, motel, boutique, etc. is an original.

And the flowers! Oh my, the flowers are incedible. The climate is mild throughout the year: mostly rain in the winter and sunny skies with mild temperatures the rest of the year. It gets a bit dry in the summer, but the flowers in springtime don't seem to mind.

Everywhere I looked there were blooming plants! Lavender grows like a weed, coming out of cracks in sidewalks and retaining walls.

Hedges of roses of many colors lined yards. Climbing roses draped over trellises. Huge, freestanding rose bushes adorned corners.

Then there were the California poppies. Every morning as the sun shone on the small yellow-orange blooms, they opened and made me smile.

But the dogwood was my favorite. There are so many dogwood varieties; this one was blooming in a shaded glen where a stream ran down between the rocks outside our motel window.

Indeed, California is spectacular. But as the old saying goes, "there's no place like home." I returned to full-blown springtime here and am thankful for the endless promise of new life that all green plants so readily deliver. Rhubarb, asparagus, lettuce, and soon strawberries are all here for our nourishment and enjoyment. Keep planting:)

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