Because of he drought in California, I did not expect to see much spring foliage on my trip to the west coast earlier last month. The trees in Pennsylvania were just beginning to blossom as we were leaving, welcoming spring after a long, cold winter. To my delight and surprise, greenery and flowers greeted us in the small West Hollywood neighborhood where my husband and I stayed with his son and partner. Watering is severely severely limited, with a $1,000 fine if owners do not adhere to the watering guidelines. Additionally, homeowners receive rebates for removing grass and replacing it with succulents, stones, AstroTurf, or anything that does not require constant watering.
Flowers are planted on small strips between houses and next to the curb.
The small houses in this upscale, suburban neighborhood are built very close to one another, since land is at a premium. Perhaps that’s the explanation for the abundance of so much greenery and flowers. While the flowers do not provide privacy and are on the fringes of the lawns or spaces between the curbs and the sidewalks, they do provide beauty to the suburban terrain: roses, star jasmine, bougainvillea, lilies and native trees like the Jacarandas with beautiful purple flowers.
A hedge of Star Jasmine: aromatic and beautiful!
If I did not know that I was in suburbia, I would have thought I was air dropped into a hamlet of country cottages ala Brigadoon, with neighbors vying for the most beautiful plant coverage. The high hedges also add to the privacy that the homeowners seem to require, demand because of their proximity to one another.
Compared with Pennsylvania, where we live, flowers bloom all year round in Southern California, so perhaps there is perpetual spring. Right before we left I spotted my first daffodils in my neighborhood, so I was delighted to be surrounded with spring flowers and plants in California. Breathing in the smell of the flowers as we walked through the neighborhood was like breathing new life into my lungs. The greenery, the perpetual blue sky, the birds and the blossoms are like a huge still life, except I could touch, smell and enjoy their beauty in person.
While fall is my favorite season, spring is a close second because it holds the promise of Mother Nature’s power to recreate plant life year after year, giving me renewed hope that life continues, if we take care of the planet. I think Earth Day comes in spring because the earth is waking up again after hibernating and brings attention to the importance of the cycle of life. As I enjoy the spring season here in California, I feel fortunate that I will have a second spring back in Pennsylvania when I return. I especially love the azaleas. A double spring….. it doesn’t get much better than this!