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The San Francisco Bay

The San Francisco Bay

Here we are in one of the most spectacular places in the world – How could we be so lucky?!! This is the sunset the other night from my friends’ Dawn & Mark’s home in the Berkeley Hills.

An unusually warm evening. Typically January has three alternating days of cozy, refreshing rain then three days of glorious warm, sunny days that are perfect for hiking in the hills where we hike through the green grass with blue sky and fragrant, blossoming, brilliant yellow acacias trees. I love walking up a hill with my vision being all three of those vibrant colors.

This year has been very strange. Only two days of rain in my recollection. Very eerie. No green grass in the hills. Just grey/brown. My brother, Anthony, was commenting that when he was raking in his garden, dust was swirling. This is not January in our history. Winter and early Spring is the only time we get rain in California so rain now is crucial and this is very disconcerting. The garden doesn’t look like Fall, Winter or Spring. The plants are terribly confused. I’ve begun pruning the roses and it’s an unusual challenge as the leaves are healthy green and the plants aren’t sure what to do. Typically the leaves have turned partially brown or fallen off and it’s very easy to tell where to make a cut.

Peek-a-boo roses before pruning

Peek-a-boo roses before pruning

What is typical in my Berkeley garden in January is the Japanese plum blossoming.  There are a few varieties that grow as volunteers in shades of pink or white and are such a treat to see when the winter can be so bleak.  They cheer us up and I always hope the blossoms will survive the rain storms but more often than not the ground is covered with “snow” before too long.

Japanese plum blossoms

Japanese plum blossoms

In the days we walked to Willard Junior High School the smaller, very fragrant, Japanese plums that lined the streets in the parking strips were in bloom around Valentine’s Day. They were just the right height to get a good whiff!

The azaleas love blossoming in January.  This year they are not as prolific as usual without the rains but they are still showing their glory.  The mucronatum blossom a second time in June.

Mucronatum azalea

Mucronatum azalea

White azalea

White azalea

Here is the first bud on one of the Cornubia Rhododendrons.  They are always in full bloom for St. Valentine’s Day, which seems so appropriate.

Cornubia Rhododendron

Cornubia Rhododendron

Primroses are also showing their bright, cheery faces!

Primroses

Primroses

The humming birds were watching me photograph the azaleas as they were having their breakfast!

Hummingbird at breakfast

Hummingbird at breakfast

The hummingbirds grab the fluff from the old Japanese anemones to use in building their nests.  They are so busy right now but I’m not fast enough to capture them with my camera as they are doing this.

Japanese anemones in the nest building stage

Japanese Anemones in the nest building stage

The nests they build are so small and soft and only 1 1/4 ” across.  Very padded with lovely anemone fluff.  I was lucky to have this one from the garden from last year.

Hummingbird nest

Hummingbird nest

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my January garden and that it warmed up my Midwest and East Coast crowd!