Saturday, March 30, 2019
Usually, we don’t notice spring in Tucson. This year was different, probably because we actually had a winter—complete with snow! So the past couple of weeks, when it’s been in the mid-eighties with bright sunshine, have been wonderful.

I’ve been inspired to finally trim off all the dead branches from my potted chrysanthemum, a  victim of the unusual cold, and the remaining branches are leafing out nicely. I picked up some parsley and sage in pots because I’ve always wanted an herb garden. I think it would be neat to cook with freshly picked herbs.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this idea, however. Leafy, green plants struggle to stay alive in the hot, dry desert climate. Over the winter, I tried starting some herbs from seed, but failed miserably. Between the heated dry air, the lack of a sunny spot to put them in, and not managing watering very well, those that did sprout didn’t last long. I’ve got the parsley and sage on a table on my back balcony, which I now refer to as my “sitooterie,” with my other outdoor plants. I’ll have to get another planter box or some heavy pots to put them in to protect them from the winds we get during storms. Half my vinca from last year got blown over and eventually died because I didn’t shelter them this winter.

All this happened after I went to the Tucson Botanical Gardens for a “renaissance event.” I didn’t know quite what to expect because the announcement online didn’t give very much information, but it was an excuse to go there and walk around. One of the things I miss about living in my house is the walks I used to take along the wash. In the middle of the subdivision, it was wide enough to give the illusion of getting out in the wild. There were quail and rabbits and various birds. I never ran into a rattlesnake or a gila monster.

Now that I live in the city, it’s hard to get away from the noise of traffic, to find a quiet place to be alone with God and my thoughts. It dawned on me that the botanical garden is less than ten minutes away, and if I became a member, I could go there more often and walk. I was especially pleased when the woman who sold me the membership told me they open at 7:00 AM during the summer, so there’s a chance to get outside before the heat is overwhelming. Now all I have to do is form a new habit of walking in the early morning instead of at lunchtime. I’m going to put that on my agenda for next week. Wish me luck!

I discovered that the renaissance part of my visit was limited to a group of musicians playing in one of the buildings. They were very good, but I only stayed for one piece. I was too eager to get outside to sit quietly and listen.

The gardens were absolutely lovely. Like most small parks and botanical gardens, the Tucson Botanical Garden used to be a private home. A husband and wife, who were both gardeners, spent years putting in the plantings. The herb garden, just a few steps from the house, was what inspired me to buy the parsley and sage. If I can’t have a lovely, lush herb garden, I can have a reminder of one.

They also have a butterfly exhibit, and there were lots of gorgeous butterflies flying around inside a very humid greenhouse.  It’s hard to believe I used to live in humid climates when I lived on the East Coast. I’ve become such a desert rat, I find it hard to breathe in that kind of atmosphere.

I skipped the cactus garden (no novelty there when you live in the Sonoran Desert) and the Native American gardens, a demonstration of the foods the Indians lived on in the past. I’ll walk through those next time.

The highlight, for me, was a wonderful planting of flowers. The colors were a treat for the eyes, and I spent quite a while drinking them in.

All of this inspired me to get started on a project I’ve been planning for months. I intended to start it right after Christmas, but that strange thing called winter made me delay until the weather improved. Now I’ve got everything I need to get started, and my plan is to do that this weekend. What is it?

You’ll just have to read the blog next week to find out.

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Elise's bookshelf: currently-reading

A Clash of Kings
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