March 5, 2013

This is a nice time of year out here in the Valley of the Sun – my favorite, I think. You get past the third week in February (give or take a week) and you can really feel a change taking place. The nights are still cold, but you can feel the difference in the strength of the sun. All around the Valley the city and town and private lansdcaping contractors fan out to start dead-heading the lantana, bougainvillea, and various once-leafy things that got killed by the December and January frosts. It seems weird to see all these dead twigs sticking up on the sides of the roads and in your front and backyard; it’s hard to believe that in just week’s time they’ll all be clothed in little green leaves on their way to big fill bushes tolerant of the hottest temperatures the Valley has to offer.

It’s an ugly time for the queen palms. No one I’ve ever talked with can explain why there are so many queen palms around teh Valley when they really don’t like the soil around these parts. Come March, all their green crowns and many of their big beautiful hanging branches have turned brown and you’re half afraid you’re going to lose them. But they too – with the help of constant feeding and a kick-start of manganese – start to turn around later in the month.

By mid-March we’ll usually have hit 80 for the first time, and from there it’s really just a short hop, skip, and a jump to the 90s of mid-April. Come April all the beautiful petunias that are currently filling the pots with a cornucopia of colors will start shrinking in size to conserve their use of moisture; unless they’re in some shady patio late April is really kind of a death knell. You try to keep them extended through the early part of may, but it’s a sad sight to see.

March is a busy time of the year for the weekend warrior – there’s excessive sun and heat just around the corner. Anything that’s painted – our steel, ceramic, and plastic yard art all need to be sprayed with the Ultra-Clear satin protection. Because this is an odd year, the swimming pool will soon be drained and swept out before being re-filled and re-chlorinated. New plants better get in now so they have a chance to take root before the ground gets too hot. Outside windows to wash, garages to be swept out, A/C unit to be courtesy checked – all these need to get done, for soon it will be too hot to work outside. the lemon and lime trees need to be sprayed with insecticide, as Warner the tree guru tells me those fruit tree owners who don’t will lose their trees to some fungus brought in by the massive dust storm we had two years ago in the next 2-3 years.

In a few weeks the fruit trees will start flowering, and the nights warming into the 50s will soon be filled with that sweet, sticky fragrence I’ve always loved.

Spring in the Valley of the Sun doesn’t last that long, but it’s a joy to experience.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:23 | Comments (0)
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