The year ends with a minor horticultural triumph - gardenia buds actually opening on a plant growing in our old, drafty house (instead of predictably dropping off and landing with a sad, heavy thud on the oak table top).
A quiet moment by the kitchen windows, just waiting for the kettle to boil...
Since we're more of a Solstice household, the red pomegranate (and blooming rhipsalis to its left) is about as festive as it gets around here this time of year.
Also, December is the start of tax season for some of us.....
Just saying, since I so wanted to participate in Jane's holiday tour this week, along with other displays of way more sparkly seasonal revelry.
Acupuncture, new chicks (two Rhode Island Reds and two Buff Orpingtons delivered to our front door!), and time enough to bake a lovely olive oil cake covered in Kitty's Point Reyes elderberry jelly.....
But couldn't help noticing how much earlier we're turning on lights here in the house, walking that cusp of seasonal change.
The drought here is starting to take a toll in the garden, and unfortunately we still have not received any official word about rationing. Luckily most of the plants and flowers in the backyard are well suited to the climate and relatively tough, so maybe we can ride it out until the rains (hopefully) return in November.
But let's celebrate the here and now with Jane and friends....
A small bouquet plucked and pruned from the early summer garden - peachy yellow alstroemeria (growing in the same spot since the late '80's) nestled in among branch tips of golden cotinus (which seems to do better here in our foggy summers than its showier burgundy relative).
This is my favorite location for fresh flower placement - right next to the kitchen sink, where so many hours seem to be spent.....
Help yourself to an almond if you like.
This month I'm joining Heather at Xericstyle with a wide shot of our San Francisco backyard and deck (taken from a second story window).
Most of those bright spots of color are DH's beloved bromeliads, with scattered foliage and succulent contributions from me.
I'm encouraged by what I see from this perspective, and it will be interesting to watch the garden evolve over the the next few months.....a few pots and planters still need to be filled, and supplies (that jug of Sluggo and wicker basket dropped in the middle of the rug) will be stashed away before next month's photo.
Thirty nine years ago, when I was 20, life was an unhappy mess. The only certainty was that drastic changes needed to be made, and quickly.
One especially difficult afternoon I splurged on a bunch of dark red tulips, the young flowers still pale and tight.
Over the next few days, as their color deepened and petals opened, I would stick my face into the middle of the bouquet, close my eyes, and breath in that sweet, bright fragrance of springtime and hope. The simple happiness of those moments, lost in the tulips, somehow reassured me that life would get better.
And it did.
So every year on my birthday a fistful of tulips makes its way into my home, and on to my table, in gratitude and memory of a promise fulfilled.
Because of tax season and this week's audit (concluded today, thank you very much!), I'm one of the last participants in Jane's Flowers in the House , a celebration of flowers in households all over the world....