{color, color everywhere…nature’s paint box does it again}

Sometime in February I started reading about how the moist El Niño weather pattern gently germinated the dormant wildflower seeds and for the first time in a long time the deserts were awash in color–a Super Bloom.

We still have plans to visit some of the desert areas, but with the delay I expect the height of the blooming period may already have passed. The weather has also moved from warm to hot, but local color is still hanging on, and it brings me joy.

DSC_3553Just beyond the perimeter of public access near the Huntington Botanical Children’s Garden I spied a hint of color peeking through the trees. I had to snake my way through some shrubbery to photograph this sea of poppies, but I was thrilled!

The orange flowers in the foreground are the California poppy. But everywhere I turn I’m discovering many shades of yellow, red, and orange.

I’ve enjoyed other garden surprises!

DSC_3520 DSC_3512

At one point I had so many hungry caterpillars I was quite panicked! It’s early in the season and my milkweed source isn’t yet abundant. These greedy little guys and their half-dozen friends were decimating my supply and while I tried to source more I was told by a nursery garden specialist that they were completely out of milkweed.

When I explained my concern that these guys were going to starve she quickly told me that “we’ve” done such a good job of creating a hospitable environment that this spring everyone with milkweed is finding themselves in the same predicament, and the suppliers aren’t able to handle the demand.

I finally found a few more plants and just about the time I proudly presented a fresh banquet to my little friends, the caterpillars disappeared. Or are hiding. Or the birds ate them. Or they formed their chrysalis and I just can’t identify it. I hope to have more opportunities to host these beautiful creatures.

And while waiting for butterflies I’m also waiting for figs to ripen.

This is a fairly young tree that appeared in our garden courtesy of the birds. This is our first year to see fruit and I go out every day to check on the progress. I hope the birds will not decide to take back their bounty!

I wonder what I’ll discover this week? I enjoy training my eye to find the unexpected flash of color, and if our patterns continue, May should bring some colorful birds to our feeders. Most springs we have a few visitors that feed quickly and move on. I hope I am home to see them!

Are you finding any spring surprises in your own home town? Maybe in your climate spring is just getting underway. If you’ve waited this long for its appearance, then I know you’re enjoying every inch of spring!

Someone else is enjoying his spring diet of freshly picked weeds.


Isn’t spring grand!

35 thoughts on “{color, color everywhere…nature’s paint box does it again}

    1. I don’t think we are going to have many left down here, Andrew. It has turned so hot again! I have so enjoyed the poppies this year and I think having had so few the past couple of years has increased my appreciation. I certainly haven’t taken them for granted! I hope you have a wonderful spring experience this week!

  1. The flowers are blooming while it has been wet, some soggy grounds aren’t getting mowed a lot due to mowers getting stuck in the mud. I like the beauty in the hungry caterpillar up close. I also appreciate your concern for the monarchs! 🙂

    1. Robin, I had to smile at the thought of your ground being so soggy that mowers are getting stuck! And here we are, dry as a bone, and it was 90 degrees today! LOL! Isn’t that just crazy? The poor little poppies I visited the other day are probably severely parched! And maybe it was too hot for the caterpillars as well! Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Yes, still soggy ground here from two storms over our 3 day Memorial Day weekend. My good friend said her husband had to raise his mower up two notches since the grass is high but apparently don’t want the mower clogged up with the long grass. It has been 10 years since I mowed a lawn so I listen avidly to the details. 🙂
        Here I am belatedly (your final April post) finding out about your illness, Debra. What a fine friend I am. 😦 So sorry for missing the post which revealed how the flu really knocked you or threw you through a loop. that may be totally ” loopy” sounding. . .
        Take care and hope you relax and feel much better. It is now June and time has been quickly passing by. We are fine but missing you. Mainly, are you okay, dear? ❤

  2. We had pollen clouds, something I didn’t even know existed. It was amazing and managed to take a few photos. Now there is pollen over everything, even a couple weeks later. I really love those California poppies, Debra, and glad you got the sorely needed rain.

    1. I’m interested in the pollen clouds, too, Bruce. I Googled the topic but the information was a little overwhelming. It sounds like it was a very unusual phenomena and I can think of so many questions! For one, I wonder if the clouds seriously stirred up allergies? And thank you for acknowledging how much we have needed rain. We are still far short of what we need to pull us out of the drought, but we’ve had enough to at least restore a little hope! 🙂

  3. I was hoping that you would be able to see some Monarch caterpillars, Debra, but, WOW! You really know how to through a milkweed party, my friend. 🙂 I hope you will find some chrysalis. I don’t know if you remember, but, last fall, as I was starting to clear things away for winter, I almost pulled some grasses and saw, in the nick-of-time, a chrysalis. I winter if your milkweed will have a second growth. You can just imagine how excited I am to read this, can’t you?

    I’m almost as excited about all those poppies. We can grow the red poppies here, but, oh those California poppies are so unique to the West Coast.

    After many fits and starts and snow and rain, we finally have spring here! It has been a gorgeous weekend and I’ve spent much of it outdoors, clearing away leaves from one of the back borders, listening to the spring peepers, enjoying the daffodils and today, all sorts of spring blooms and nesting birds. 🙂

    1. I was telling someone the other day about the spring peepers, Penny! I had never heard of them before you introduced me. I would just love to have that added sound of spring. 🙂 I do remember, now that you remind me, of the chrysalis you nearly missed, and that gives me hope. I fretted about those caterpillars so much and after running to two different places to purchase more milkweed, I knew I had to just take my hands off and let nature take over. This is my first time to have caterpillars, as you know, so I don’t have ANY idea what to expect with the milkweed that has been eaten down to sticks! LOL! I’ll let you know. I’m so glad spring has finally made an appearance on the Cutoff, Penny. Now I hope it’s a nice long spring before the summer heat arrives. 🙂

  4. No real surprises here. Well, other than it started to ‘spring up’ around here. Then the temps plummeted to include frosts and some solid freezes. No leaves, even, yet. But yesterday it was 80. Today it will be more 80! 😉 Thanks for adding color for us Debra!

    1. My goodness, Colleen! From freezing to 80? That’s really something! You must really need to check the weather report before you get dressed in the morning! 🙂 I hope spring comes and stays a long time, my friend. Soon!

      1. Ha! Oh Debra, I do check!!! There’s always a surprise waiting for you in Ohio ! It’s pretty and warm today. I have a pretty good sunburn from that 80 degree day. I think it caught a lot of people off guard. I see a lot of cherry faces. 😉

    1. Thank you, Frank! I am so appreciative of your praise for the photograph. I was mesmerized by the colors and I loved seeing the tractor (I didn’t know it as a Bobcat) sitting so close to a renowned art museum. For a brief time I was able to imagine I was on a farm. I can dream! 🙂

        1. I”m laughing outloud, Frank. I used to just love Green Acres! I also suspect I’d be just about as effective on a farm as Eva Gabor! LOL! Thank you for the funny!

    1. I would love to smell those lilacs, Lori! How wonderful! 70 degrees would indeed seem like heaven after a long, cold winter! I didn’t realize temperatures dipped so low as early as September! That does make for a very long winter-like condition! I can imagine you did a happy dance today. 🙂 I hope you were feeling well enough to take full advantage of that warmth, my friend!

    1. Oh the beauty and warmth of the Algarve must be wonderful, Jo! I’m sure you’re having a wonderful time. Our weather has turned to hot, so I don’t think those beautiful poppies will be with us much longer! I’m glad I took the photos when I did. 🙂

  5. Debra, you would LOVE spring here in the Midwest! The tulips at the side of my house are the first signs that winter is gone and early spring is underway. I love seeing their bright, happy little heads popping up out of the ground like friends coming back to see me after not seeing them for a while! Also, I think I need a Darwin to eat up all of my weeds! 😉

  6. Did you plant your tulip bulbs or were they there when you bought the house, Stacey? I’m wondering if they were a surprise or you’d been anticipating them. I have learned a lot about plants and bulbs through my own ignorance. Years and years ago I wanted tulips so badly that I followed all the instructions and kept the bulbs in the refrigerator for a time before planting at just the right time. I watched those little green shoots until they finally flowered, and then after all that, we had a typical warm spring day and my memory is that the flowers didn’t last more than a day and half! So you’re very correct in saying that I would love to experience a midwest spring. And I’m very happy for you to finally have your spring, Stacey! Enjoy every day. 🙂

  7. Springs is a special season, so much colours and so much coming alive. I haven’t really seen anything surprising this spring (except for a couple of days with over 80 degrees which is quite unusual in the northwest). Enjoy the spring, Debra!

    1. I would think 80 degrees this time of year would be warm for your home, Otto. It seems that climates worldwide are being a bit capricious these days. 🙂

  8. So hot already where you are, guess you are all hoping to escape the drought this year. I’m finding it more and more difficult to connect consistently with everyone on WP. but enjoy catching up once I get there :). Always enjoy the caring and thoughtful descriptions of your world Debra, in words and photos. The poppy header is stunning. Four poppies have just bloomed on my patio. They are special… from seeds given by my mum in England just before she died.

  9. How beautiful to find a field of poppies in the wild! I can’t believe your figs are growing now! Mine don’t until the end of the summer and yes to make sure you pick them a bit earlier or else the birds will eat them. Enjoy nature and all her glory!

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