Today is the first full day of Spring. Once I kept track of things like the exact time of each equinox and solstice. Now they're likely to slip by me.
I remember back in 2011, sitting at a sports bar after going on a field trip with a colleague. We're both transplanted Southerners, she from Georgia, me from all over the U.S. Southeast. We commented on the Masters Tournament, which was on the TV. I noticed how brilliantly the azaleas bloomed, and how early it seemed to be seeing azaleas in early March. I thought about how hard it would be to pay attention to the golf, with the glorious gardens in full bloom.
I remembered an earlier time, 1989, in grad school, as I drove to campus and was blown away by all the azaleas in the Shandon neighborhood near the University of South Carolina campus. That was the first week in April.
Last year, too, was a time of amazing azaleas, as I made my way across South Carolina, going from retreat to retreat. Mepkin Abbey's azaleas were particularly gorgeous:
This year I am enjoying the 2 pots of purple petunias that grace my porch. And the frangipani flowers are amazing this year. Do I notice them more after seeing them in Hawaii 2 years ago?
Frangipani is an older term for plumeria, or at least I feel I learned that once. When trying to verify this morning, I read their horticultural description wrong, and I thought they were related to dogwood (it's dogbane, actually).
I remember a different retreat, at Lutheridge, in April of 2014, when I saw dogwoods blooming everywhere:
I love how the dogwoods are in full bloom, even as the other trees are just barely green. I miss that moment when suddenly, the world explodes in every shade of green, where I feel like I'm seeing greens that I didn't know existed.
I do miss dogwoods and azaleas, but I'm trying to bloom where I am planted, to appreciate the blooms of this place on the southern part of the North American continent, where so many of us are transplants.