Took a break from soup making to do some gardening this past week before another big storm hit. I planted rhubarb which I’ve wanted to start for years, some garlic, onions and leeks (which I started from seeds months ago and are finally big enough to transplant) and shell and sugar snap peas, both from seeds and some beautiful starts that are already almost a foot tall.
Best of all, I finished pruning my pear, peach and apple trees and discovered the asparagus is emerging and there will be some stalks ready to harvest in a day or two! I LOVE fresh asparagus and often eat it as fast as I can snap off the fattest shoots.
Since we have had a real winter here in California for the first time in 4 years, it is such a treat to see the daffodils, iris, poppies, fruit trees and my daphne bursting into bloom. Everyone should plant a Winter/Fragrant Daphne (Daphne odora) bush for the “knock-your-socks-off” fragrance from the tiny pink flowers that bloom in February before anything else in the garden. I have two of them near the front of our house and get a burst of aromatherapy the minute I open the door. It is one of my favorite shrubs. Hardy through freezing temperatures (USDA zones 7 to 9), resistant to insects and disease, beautiful green/white leaves year-round, needs no pruning and if that isn’t enough, the fragrance is so wonderful just a few sprigs will fill your house with a sweet, citrusy smell that I cannot get enough of. Oh, and did I mention it is completely DEER PROOF! Daphne is one of the few plants in my yard that doesn’t have to have wire around it to keep those darn deer from devouring it.