Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dashing through the....

pollen?

This time of year I spend most of my days indoors, though not entirely by choice. March, April and May are arguably the most pleasant months of the year in Central Texas.  Featuring moderate temperatures buffered by gentle breezes and offering flowers popping up everywhere, Spring is the ideal time to get outside and enjoy everything Texas has to offer.
Lady Banks Roses growing at Laguna Gloria
Ideal for some, that is.  I'm severely allergic to several trees that lavishly bestow their pollen upon the world each springtime, chief amongst those our beautiful Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana), mainstay of landscapes statewide. Every Spring while the oaks leaf out, I stay in, away from their pollen catkins releasing irritants that plague by triggering my overactive immune system.
You may well wonder, "have you tried...?" and I'll risk interrupting to tell you, "Yes.".  Yes, I've tried it all, and the best recourse I've found in order to support a reasonable facsimile of respiration while maintaining a semblance of good humor involves medication along with isolation.  As in isolating my nose, keeping it at least one filter away at all times from, well, the air.  The soft, warm, pollen laden air.
It has been like this since I was a youngster, and over the years I've learned how to make the best of my situation.  Time spent gazing out windows helps me plan for improved sight lines.  I run errands in batches, keeping my car windows closed.  I know what I can get away with, and what needs to be off the table until mid May.  And I (mostly) stick to that.

I venture out only in the late afternoons, when pollen counts are a bit lower. I stay out 15-20 minutes or less.  I multitask, putting out fresh nectar for the hummingbirds as I pass the feeders, weeding a small section of path while waiting for watering cans to fill from rain barrels and refreshing bird baths along the way.  I take along clippers and trowel, occasionally bringing a few blooms inside or handling a transplant that cannot wait.

And I try to always take my camera along.  Transitions are rapid.
A spiderwort volunteer transplanted out of a path last August
One day's bud is the next day's blossom.
This spiderwort went from bud to bloom overnight, attracting one of the tiniest pollinators I've ever caught in a photo.
Though not native I'm hoping the bottlebrush tree will help attract hummingbirds.
Oxeye Daisies
Twenty-four hours often marks the difference between swollen branch and fully developed leaves.
Sumac is one of the last to green up, wisely waiting until the chance for freezing weather is past.
Spring waits for no one, and I used to get a bit frantic annually as seasonal garden chores stacked up.  Reading about what other folks were reasonably accomplishing before the temperatures soared occasionally made me wonder why I didn't simply throw in the facial tissue and hire some help.
Ajuga blooms undaunted by a blanket of oak leaves.
I suppose it is because I am as stubborn as I am cheap.  Working the soil year in and year out, I know if I will wait, only wait, there will be plenty of time for me to get everything done in June, July and even August, long after sensible Texan gardeners have called it a year and retreated inside.
Carolina wren greets the sun
We all have our limitations.  I'm deeply grateful this particular one has fully predictable beginning and end points.  I'm grateful as well to all you non-pollen affected gardeners and bloggers who are out there working your spaces, touring, snapping photos and posting about the beauty unfolding around and under our lovely oak trees.  I'll be right back out there with you, in just a bit.




Wildlife Wednedays