If it hadn't already been abundantly clear that spring came early this year, this weekend would have been full of clues.
We spent some time sitting pleasantly in the shade of a live oak on a record-breaking Sunday afternoon. (It was record-breaking in nearby cities, at least. For us, it was probably somewhere in the low eighties-- but our thermometer is broken, so I'm not sure of the exact temperature.) The low humidity makes all the difference!
The carpenter bees have been out and about for a week or two. There are quite a few of them, and they seem to be ignoring the bee traps. I'm not sure if this is because the traps are old and need fresh wood to attract the bees or if the bees simply aren't in nest-building mode, yet. Maybe they need to mate before they start looking for nesting sites...
Unfortunately, the wasps were also out, this weekend, and there are numerous ant beds popping up here and there. (I'll probably try to poison them right before the next rain. I'd rather not use poisons in the yard, but if the alternative is having anthills everywhere... I've tried boiling water and turning the water hose on them, as some recommend as an alternative-- mainly when they've built in/near our vegetable patch, where I won't use ant poison. Sometimes it seems to help-- sometimes not.)
On a more positive note, were were able to have the windows open last night-- not something you can always do comfortably in February.
And then there are the visible signs of spring...
I don't know if this bird's nest in the loropetalum is new or from last year, but it gave me a spring feeling. If it's new, this bird chose a beautiful spot to build, in the rose-tinted light that filters through those bright pink fringe-flowers!
The first of the spring starflowers (Ipheion) have emerged!
I think these are 'Jessie', planted around the older tea olive beside the garage.
They were already a bit spotted, because they'd been out for a day or two and had been rained on-- but still quite a pretty color. Each flower is small-- roughly the size of a quarter-- but Ipheion is supposed to multiply fairly quickly, so when they get established, there can be a carpet of blooms that lasts for weeks.
(Looking it up again, just now, I see that some sources suggest morning sun/afternoon shade. My source said "full sun", so that's what I've given... If they seem to suffer from too much sun, I might have to move them, at some point.)
We don't have many daffodils, but here's one of the few... (Wish I knew the variety.)
The roses are already getting started for the year, too! (I really did wait too long to prune them, so most of them missed out. Maybe December is a good time to do it, this year, just to be safe...)
Here's 'Sunny', the yellow KO rose:
The double pink KO rose is not far behind. (Neither is the double red, not pictured.)
On the arbor, 'Joseph's Coat' is on its third or fourth flower, already. (All opening within the period of a week or so.)
On the other side of the arbor, 'Peggy Martin' has buds, but no open flowers, yet. This rose has grown a lot since we planted it, but it hasn't yet bloomed magnificently. Just a few flowers here and there. I think this year might be better for flowers, since it's somewhat settled in.
The forsythia sage has put up a number of stems, which is encouraging. Last year, I think there might have been only one-- maybe two.
The Japanese magnolias are still flowering, though the ground around this one is littered with fallen petals...
The same goes for the camellia...
This dianthus has lived well beyond what we expected. I'm not sure how long it's been there... This has to be at least its third year, maybe fourth... I believe its sheltered location (just to the south of the garage, in full sun) has kept it alive through the winters-- plus maybe we haven't had the very coldest winters since it was planted... It's survived being the support system for multiple ant beds, too. What a will to live!
Salvia purpurea, purple heart, dianthus:
And in closing, a random photo of purple oxalis (just because it's pretty right now):