Yes, there are seasons in California...

Twice a year the sun sets precisely behind the southern tower of the Golden gate Bridge. It's working its way north in the spring, heading towards Mount Tamalpais. This year I was enjoying my usual sunset Aperol, watching the light get interesting, when it hit me that this was going to be the moment. I grabbed my phone, ran outside, and snapped. I know it's just a memory shot, but what a lovely memory.

The timing coincided with the blooming of the dogwood and rhododendron forest up in Healdsburg. Where the steps lead through the dogwood trees we once parked cars on an ugly driveway. When I look at it all through the living room windows I am standing in what was once the garage. Now the cars park outside out of sight and I bask in the beauty. 

Almost 30 years ago our friend Mary Lou came to visit from Paris. We had brought some small neglected "as-is" rhododendron from a nursery to plant in the redwood forest. I can still see her taking turns swinging the pick-ax at the rock hard Sonoma clay. It took three days and gentle soaking overnight to dig ten holes deep enough to shelter the roots. We had read that fir needles form the kind of acid-base those plants love, so the giant holes were then filled with that same clay mixed with needles and duff. We lovingly spread the roots, making sure they had room to breathe and spread. Those ugly ducklings are now 20 feet tall and happy as pigs in, well, you know.


In those early days on this property, we also brought home a much larger clematis to cover the wall of the toolshed. Harold felt we didn't have the time to wait for it to grow. We had prepared the space and finished the planting before lunch. 

Unbeknownst to us, while we enjoyed lunch down by the pool, the deer enjoyed lunch out by the toolshed. Until that day we thought it was cute that generations of deer roamed freely by the house. Returning from lunch to stare at the empty space rid us of that romantic notion.

The deer fence now keeps the deer and the far more destructive wild boar out, but the clematis still struggles on that wall.