Spring seems to be coming early-ish this year to the Gila. We found the first Mountain Candytuft (Noccaea montana) flowers today, which are usually the first flowers of the season (although Wild Mustard and a few other plants sometimes flower throughout the winter). Last year, we found our first on February 23rd! These are last year’s pictures but I promise to get new ones soon, hopefully including some that show the early blooms’ gorgeous lavender color. Not only are they pretty, and a sign the growing season is on its way, but they’re also very tasty additions to salads! Woohoo, wild greens are about to be abundant again. There’s nothing quite like early Spring salads with sweet Candytuft flowers, bitter Mustard greens, spicy Watercress, aromatic baby Yarrow leaves and all kinds of other lush treats. The Wild Strawberries on the mountain will be growing soon!
There seems to be a storm moving in, with the sky blanketed in fluffy clouds and the weathermen prophesying snow or rain tomorrow. We could certainly use some added moisture for an extra beautiful Spring wildflower display, so I keep going outside and encouraging the clouds. The winds have been warm and strong, bringing Juniper pollen (a common allergen) on their tailfeathers (resulting in a whole county of coughing, sneezing, itchy eyed villagers and country folk). In the weed patch, the Sage and Lemon Balm are making a slow return and I need to start my Ashwagandha seedlings indoors immediately (or three weeks ago, perhaps). It’s warm enough to walk barefoot (in an enjoyable way, rather than hopping along, squeaking about the frozen ground) and enjoy the squish and sweeness of mud underfoot.
You know what this means, don’t you? It means I’m late gathering the rest of my Cottonwood buds. Yikes! Which indicates I’ll be taking a long walk come tomorrow morning, precipitation or no!