Tag Archives: Fuchsia

A Touch of Spring

Good morning Everyone!

Today we are going to switch gears just a little bit, and take a moment to share some of the early signs of a Southern spring.

A patch of daffodils, also called jonquils, in full bloom

These pictures are extraordinary, not just because of the beauty of the flowering plants involved, but also because I took them the first week in February!

Tulip Tree in full bloom in central Alabama the first week of February - extraordinary!

Normally, the yellow bells and daffodils start their show towards the end of February in the third or fourth week, and the tulip trees in late February/early March, but not this year!

Yellow Bell (aka fuchsia) Bush

It is easy to miss the beauty of the yellow bells, and very hard to capture it on camera, but this close-up may help:

Camellias are a bit different; each bush seems to bloom on its own schedule.  The small camellia bush by our front door likes to bloom in December, but these pictures are from a bush in our town square that has decided to put on a bit of a show this year.

Camellia bush in full bloom

The camellia is the state flower of Alabama, and here you might be able to see why.

Camellia in full bloom

I think it would be fun to sketch that bloom in watercolor pencil, one medium I haven’t tried yet.

Here are some buds in various stages of bloom.

Camellia buds

The problem, of course, with blooming this early is that a frost is almost certain to occur sometime in February and early March, if not later, and this year was no exception – a week after I took these pictures, we had a night where the temperatures got down into the 20’s.

One last look at the tulip tree before the frost took care of the flowers

That finished off every tulip tree that was blooming, but the daffodils/jonquils survived, as did the yellow bells (also called fuchsia.)  Yellow bells are amazingly cold-resistant; I have seen the blossoms survive and flourish after experiencing temperatures down into the low 20’s.

A branch from the amazingly cold-hardy yellow bell bush

I heard another sign of spring this weekend – somewhere in the woods, one of the woodpeckers was back and active.  The “tat-tat-tat-tat-tat” sound of a woodpecker pecking is pretty unmistakable, even with the other birds’ songs thrown in.  I learned the rhythm involved last year, when we had a pretty, but very confused, woodpecker who sat on top of the street-light across from our house and kept trying to peck into its top.  It was a persistent bird; he or she kept at it for about three days before going to search for more malleable wood.  I like to think that it was that same bird, older and wiser now, that I heard Saturday.

Have a great day!


Spring: Scene II, The Mangled Toothbrush and The Assembly After-Party

Good morning everyone! 

  • Spring:  Scene II

It turned cold again yesterday, but down here we did just avoid freezing temperatures, so the blooms are still out in full force.  This has been one of those rare years when the tulip trees have been able to bloom for weeks without being cut short by frost.  Most of the tulip trees have finished blooming, but there are a few late starters who are just beginning to reach full bloom.  

The second act of spring is in full swing with the spectacular show being put forth by the Bradford Pear trees.  Just to give you an example, here are pictures of Bradford pear trees in full bloom.

The yellowbells finally made their appearance about two weeks ago and they are blooming well, too.  For those of you who wondered what a yellowbell looks like, here it is:

Finally, I have seen a number of the following bushes blooming, also.  I have no idea what their real name is, but I have made up the name “Snowball Bush” for them.  They have their own beauty.

Spring is always spectacular in the South, and this year may be special if we can avoid a killing frost.  The next act:  the dogwoods and the azaleas! 

  • The Mangled Toothbrush

Apparently toothbrushes can be added to the list of things that dogs can eat without getting sick.  When Kayla took her bath Sunday night, she decided to put both Mandy and Darwin in her bathroom, but then she made the mistake of leaving them alone in there with the door shut for about five minutes while her water ran.  When she came back in, one of them (my bet is Darwin, because the toothbrush should have been too far back on the counter for Mandy to reach) had pulled a toothbrush onto the floor, and between the two of them they had chomped through the plastic top and managed to eat about seven eighths of the head of the toothbrush.  Neither Mandy nor Darwin looked the worse for wear, although the toothbrush was in a sad state! 

The Mangled Toothbrush

  •  The Assembly After-Party

While I showed you yesterday the pictures that Kayla painted for Mark and me Saturday and Sunday, I didn’t get a chance to tell you how those pictures were presented.  Kayla announced at about 4:30 p.m. on Sunday that she was calling an assembly for Mark and I that would take about two minutes.  Shortly thereafter, she had both of us seated on the couch and she began to speak.  She told us that her (pretend) school was running a charter program for art, and that these paintings were the work of two of her students and she wanted to show them to the whole school.  Mark interrupted her to say something, and she gave him a very stern eye and said, “Obviously they run assemblies differently at your school!” and continued talking.  She continued speaking for about four minutes, at which point she was gently reminded that she had said the assembly was going to be two minutes.  She responded with an airy wave of her hand, “Okay – the assembly’s over; now it’s time for the after-party!” and walked off into the sunset, aka the kitchen, in search of the dogs.

Have a good day everyone!