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Spring Forward

Articles: Spring Forward

As I write this in mid-August, the bright pink naked ladies . (Amaryllis belladonna) have begun to cavort near the top of the garden, Cyclamen hederifolium has sent up its first delicate flowers in the dry shade of a young oak, and zauschneria (Epilobium) blossoms are feeding the hummingbirds. For some, these events signify the end of summer, the beginning of autumn, and the conclusion of the gardening year. For me, they mark the start of spring in my California mediterranean garden. By the time this issue is in readers’ hands, Sternbergia lutea will have presented a few floral goblets of bright yellow—as Donn Todt points out in Second Spring, a more typical autumn color than the pinks of amaryllis and cyclamen. The first of the summer-dormant South African Pelargonium species will have begun unfurling their furry, tightly folded leaves.

I’ve often wondered what actually triggers these events, all before the first of the fall rains. Some insist that reduced day length and cooler temperatures are the cause. Yet, in San Francisco and much of coastal California, the warmest temperatures arrive in September and early October. Others suggest that the bulbs and other geophytes are res...

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Articles: Calochortophilia: A Californian’s Love Affair with a Genus by Katherine Renz

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