When our backyard weather station registered 101, I knew I would have to say goodbye to some of my favorite garden characters.

The happy face pansies, sweet alyssum and snapdragons that have brightened the garden stage with color since last October, will take their last bow in a few weeks.  Our leading actor –winter lawn — will stagger under the pressure of steamy temperatures and fall into the orchestra pit; and our heat-hardy (but not as lush) old faithful Tifgreen lawn will re-emerge to take his place.

These impending goodbyes had me feeling gloomy. I was lamenting to a friend who quickly reminded me to take a look at what is entering the theater next. So, out into our garden I went with my camera to greet the new cast.

Here is what I found waiting for me in the green room this morning.

Our red, tree-form Oleanders are only 3 years old but they are starting to create a “curtain” to camouflage our neighbor’s shed. And our white Oleander hedges are practically shouting at me to notice their showy headdresses.

Star Jasmine  greeted me at the gate, filling the air outside with her enchantingly sweet and mellow perfume.

And our Primroses were presenting delightful impromptu out at the street, like a choir of pastel clowns.

You can almost hear the Yellow Bells ringing.

Nandina is content to wear a delicate corsage this season.  Her full costume design will be ready when her blossoms change to red-orange berries, an outfit that she will share on stage next fall.

Lovely Lady Lavender cheers through all four seasons.

Lysoloma’s pom poms are soft as baby chicks… though the mess they create on stage is considerable. I think Jim would rather not clean up after them. But Lysoloma (Feather Bush) provides summer shade from stage left to stage right.

Everyone has a favorite actor. This season, mine is Cape Plumbago. He is like a cool drink on a hot day.

Characters with minor roles sometimes surprise us with their talents. Like this Ruellia, or Desert Petunia.

And the spicy Cilanrto, performs the salsa dance, then quickly bolts for his role as Coriander seed.

Lastly, this morning, I was greeted by a charming Bottle Brush tree, grooming for his audition. Isn’t he handsome with his spiky do?

It looks to me that this year’s spring-summer production will be a blockbuster!


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