February Week 2: Blue Dicks & Osoberry

This week is a time of frustration and excitement for flowerbloggers, in equal part. The weather is opening up; it’s clearly no longer January . . . and the world seems suspended, swollen and aching to bloom. In town, the plums are throwing snowy mantles around their shoulders, the first enormous magnolia blossoms are breaking open, but narcissus are already admitting that the season is passing.

Here’s a poem by AE Housman, from A Shropshire Lad, that becomes more precious to me year by year:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It leaves me only fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs is little room,
About the woodland I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

2-11-10 Osoberry on a cutbank along Olema Road in Fairfax. Every year it's a hold-your-breath delight to find that this uncommon native has survived right on the edge of a well-traveled street.

2-11-10 The first Blue Dicks of the year, early on the slopes of Baywood Canyon. Native Americans harvested the bulb of this familiar beauty in a way that consciously increased its abundance year by year.

2-13-10 The solitary jelly-red female flowers of Hazelnut side by side with pendant male catkins on Pam's Blue Ridge

2-12-10 A Tree Poppy bloom sheltering itself from rain on the Southern Marin Line Road

2-13-10 Not a flower, but a deer-coppiced Bay Laurel on Pam's Blue Ridge, looking like a Druid momument

2-12-10 Silkytassel on Knob Hill above Kentfield

2-12-10 A surprise! The first very early Huckleberries have burst into bloom along the Hoo-Koo-E-Koo Trail, bush after bush of them

2-11-10 California Saxifrage beside the Narrow Gauge Trail above Fairfax

2-12-10 A second look at a Slinky Pod blossom and its leopard-spotted leaf on the Hoo-Koo-E-Koo

2-12-10 Rain-jeweled Tree Lupine, Hoo-Koo-E-Koo Trail

2-11-10 Every spring we bring a Buckeye branch indoors to unfurl in the middle of our kitchen table

2-11-10 Our oldest daughter Sarah Orantes with Tina and a grandmotherly live oak on the Narrow Gauge Trail



  1. Irene Brady said,

    February 16, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Bill, thank you for the lovely flowers, a hopeful note on this cold, rainy, foggy
    Oregon day when spring seems to be far out of plausible reach.

    And thank you equally for the picture of Sarah and Tina. I last saw their
    faces when we all were so much younger…..Bill, what are all your kids
    names and ages now?

    • billnoble said,

      February 16, 2010 at 12:53 am

      Hi, Renie!

      Actually, Jenny and I will be putting up a family gallery here soon. But because you’ve found my soft spot, here they are:

      KIDS. Sarah in Berkeley 47; Martha San Francisco 42; Jennifer NYC 21; Brendan Christchurch NZ 19.
      GRANDKIDS. Amaris Winters CA 27; Jonathan Berkeley 21; Maciel Berkeley 14
      GREAT GRANDKIDS. Terence 7; Kenneth 4

  2. February 16, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Hi Bill, thanks for stopping by my Green World blog. Love your photos of flowers, and your poet’s description of spring. I no longer have 50 springs ahead of me, maybe 20 if I’m very lucky, so I’m enjoying this one to the hilt. I’m making it my best gardening year ever. Your earlier post on Wabi-sabi touched me. Life is indeed impermanent, as are gardens, so we should enjoy what we have while we have it.

  3. dan campbell said,

    February 24, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Bill, again, thanks for the wonderful portal channeling Marin’s springtime all the way to Prescott. It brings back such wonderful wet and green memories of the place where salamanders and slugs rule. Here I’ve been chronicling animal footprints in the snow and matching them with what shows up on my night-time trip-camera. Remember the ultrviolet day-glo night-time woodrat arrays in Samuel Taylor? Similar use of simple and available technologies to what you’re doing as the Picasso of the I-Phone. Thanks.
    PS Great to see Tina and Sarah in the one shot. You’ve helped make beautiful people!

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