"You'd be so lean, that blast of JanuaryThe clouds have morphed from gray to fluffy cotton ball white and bright blue sky shows through. Sunshine has melted most of the thin ice layer and sublimation has revealed most interesting crystal patterns in that ice which remains. Tiny shards of ice are scattered all over the concrete driveway and on the deck, almost as if miniature icicles were blown apart by the west winds. It is still cold. Again, our forecasters were overly optimistic about that.. it did not reach 40℉... almost, but not quite and here we sit again in the 30's.
Would blow you through and through. Now, my fair'st friend,
I would I had some flowers o' the spring that might
Become your time of day."
~ William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Act IV Scene 4.
Even though the skies are blue and the sun shining yellow.. we could use more color in the flower beds. Right now the bulb and seed and plant catalogues are arriving and I must be content with these.... and the pictures from last summer. So, my submissions for the letter "Z" form a "zest" of color. The "zinnia" pictured were an afterthought. I had tilled up the edge of our no man's land between the fence and the preserve with its creeping rhizomes of wild cane and extra clay mixed with sand and dirt had been dumped there from the excavation of the most recent dry well. Not wanting to deal with the army of ticks that patrol that wilderness, I simply scattered a box of very old wildflower seed along the edge and covered it with a light dusting of leftover compost. The zinnia were the only flowers to germinate and grow, though looking quite scraggly, they grew and bloomed... and bloomed... and bloomed, well into October with bright yellows, deep reds, hot pinks and Tennessee orange petals. They finally succumbed to the cold north wind of November, but it was the first snow of December that finished them off.
The zebra swallowtail visited the zinnia, as well as the other flowers in our garden. Its cousins, the black swallowtail and tiger swallowtail were more commonly sighted; perhaps we can include some of the "zebra's" host plants this year.
"Z" was a hard word... I haven't been to a "zoo" recently to see any "zebra" of the horse family, although sometimes it feels like we have our own "zoo" right here, or perhaps it should be called the "Ziegfeld" follies!
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