By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Even though the first official day of spring won’t be heralded in for another month with the arrival of the
vernal equinox on March 20, it’s usually a pretty safe bet that all things green and growing will get off to
a substantial head start here in the Rio Grande Valley.
With our mild winters, our temperate climate, a goodly amount of rainfall every year, and soil still
blessed with nutrients leftover from the time the Rio Grande delta flooded without hindrance from man
or man’s works, our Magic Valley has many of us accustomed to early and beautiful springtime blooms.
Last year, in particular, we were witness to a rare treat, as seemingly every single yucca tree across the
landscape began to put on a flower show like no other beginning in early February. It was an especially
astonishing and welcome sight after a trio of freezes tried the survival skills of both our flora and our
Last year was a bitter winter ended in spectacular fashion with floral fireworks. This year, however? Not
Spring is still a month away, but, considering this long spate of cool and cloudy — and foggy, misty, rainy
and gloomy — days we’ve had for what feels like forever, that month might as well be an interminable
Sometimes, I wonder if the sun will ever return. Sure, we’ve had a day or two of sunshine here and
there, but just a day or two.
Nevertheless, the recent span of gray and gloomy days haven’t been altogether too cold, which means if
you look close enough, you can see the first signs of Mother Nature beginning to switch seasonal gears.
Though not as abundantly as last year, this year’s yuccas have begun to produce those lovely cotton
candy-shaped collections of creamy yellow-white flowers atop their spiky crown of leaves.
Even on the mistiest and drizzliest of days, those oblong puffs of white dotting the dulled greens of the
chaparral make me smile.
And there’s been another portent of the coming spring, too, though it’s something perhaps overlooked
by most people. Tiny pink pops of color that can be found in highway medians and yards left unmown by
folks waiting for the rain to ease up.
I’m talking about the pink evening primrose. A small, weed-like plant that grows easily in any patch of
soil it’s given a chance to. I’m sure you’ve seen them, too. They’re delicate, four-petaled flowers that
grow low to ground.
The individual blooms don’t last very long, but the plant that produces them produces so many, over the
course of weeks, that it’s impossible to tell the difference.
In any case, I’m anxious for the dreary weather to go away and make room for something a bit more
cheerful. I’ve even gone as far as potting some petunias and a couple of young bluebonnet shoots in
pots around my patio. Spring is trying, and I’m trying to help her along.
Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.