It was another day in the 70s here in beautiful Northwest Florida. Not that I'm complaining, I'll take 76 over 56 any day...and that's just what it's supposed to be come Thursday. I'm not so keen on the gray skies but I've learned that winter here means either warm and wet or cold and clear. I'll take warm, even if it does me I'm sweating at the end of my walk; at least I'm in a T-shirt.
One plus about the milder temperatures is it's nice to get out in the yard and take care of a few things. Some winter kill from a previous plunge of the thermometer is now in the barrel and a few weeds have joined it as well. There's something wrong about weeds growing in the winter but they clearly do...and I'm not motivated to do Round-Up in a coat.
But these warmer days have some of the plants in the yard a little confused. Standing in the kitchen I could see a splash of white down by the birdbath and sure enough, one of the blueberry bushes is full of blooms.
It's the earlier of the two bushes and it's eager for spring. Too eager, I'm afraid but my research says they'll tolerate temps down to 29 degrees or lower, depending on how far open the blooms are. I'd say these are pretty much open.
Much like me the Japanese magnolia is always hoping winter makes an early departure...it's raring to go. In fact, the blooms at the top of the tree are fully opened. It does this every year and inevitably gets its nose nipped when the warm weather gives way to more seasonal temperatures.
Even Hazel is showing a little color. No, I don't name all my plants but my aunt Hazel sent this azalea bush to my mother's funeral nineteen years ago and it's lived in my yard ever since. I think of her every time I see it so it frequently gets referred to as simply Hazel. She got a little straggly so I cut her back to the ground a couple of years ago and she's looking pretty good now. The real Hazel was a real go-getter so this eager-bloomer is following in her namesake's footsteps despite the fact that a chilly night tainted some of the blooms with a little brown.
About the only thing in the yard that isn't confused and i's blooming just like it's supposed to are the camellias...they're just reaching their prime. Cold temperatures? Bring it on...the camellia's thrive but they like the wet weather too so they welcome the warmth we've had these last five or six days too. These blossoms are probably 4" across and quite showy...a bit of a bright spot in winter's dull landscape. And the bushes are loaded so we'll see plenty more.
Personally, I'd like to hang on to these mild temperatures until spring arrives but I know that's not possible. We are, however, half way through January...just that much closer to when winter disappears and that, in itself, is something to be grateful for.