I'm beginning to see some of my favorite harbingers of Spring - some (like huisache, citrus, and Texas mountain laurel) are beloved as much for their frangrance as their beauty.
Our huisache trees began flushing new leaves a week or ten days ago. That usually doesn't happen until AFTER the tree blooms. I was afraid that our lack of winter was going to cause us to miss those fragrant puff-balls that cover each tree in yellow and gold. Maybe last weeks deep irrigation spurred the trees to bloom . . . .
Although the blooms are quite pretty, again it is the aroma of citrus blooms that tells south Texans that spring is here. There are sooooo many blooms that I cut a few small branches to enjoy inside. They only last a few days but its such a joy to catch a whiff of them.
The grape soda aroma is Texas mountain laurel is my third sign that Spring has sprung! This usually begins happening around Valentine's Day - but we are still waiting. We have fields of this tree at the nursery and I have not seen a bloom yet! Lots of blooms stems but they are waiting. It is blooming farther north in San Antonio and Austin. This makes me wonder if this tree requires a chill period like fruit trees do. What are you observing in your area?
Lantana can be seen blooming both in garden beds and in the brushlines around south Texas. I am a sucker for white flowers so we chose this trailing white lantana beneath the hummingbird feeders. Even thought it's a pale flower, quite a few butterflies notice it and land here to feed.
And this little patch of Drummonds Betony's or Pink Mint (Stachys drummondii)
has been very appealing to a number of different small butterflies. Its square stem is characteristic of mints. It has a tap root and I am hoping that it isn't the aggressive grower that culinary mints are. This is one of those "weeds" that volunteers around Mockingbird Farm and usually gets pulled out. This year I decided to give it a look. A few stems cut and put into a beaker passed the test as cut flowers - the only downside that I noticed is that the leaves have a very faint unpleasant odor. I don't think it is noticable unless you are working with the plant. I'll definitely be watching this small (3' x 4') 'planting' of Pink Mint
And we can't talk about spring blossoms without mentioning the blooms of the Spanish Dagger (Yucca trecleana).
Birds love these waxy petals. I love the pristine whiteness poking out above the sharp blades of the plant.
What is your sign that Spring has indeed arrived?
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