Sun-activated color almost as welcome as a cleansing rain

02/21/2014 2:40 PM

02/21/2014 2:41 PM

I kept hearing what sounded like car crashes just around the corner this week, but fortunately they turned out merely to be cars crunching through the sand and salt left behind from the snowstorm aftermath.

I was hoping for a nice, cleansing rain (with thunder on top) to clear off not only the streets but our sidewalks and driveways and yards — and my black car that I can’t find in parking lots anymore since it turned gray.

And to provide moisture, of course.

At least the snows did give us some of that. And the follow-up high temperatures are leaving calling cards of spring everywhere.

I got a beautiful reminder of that this week as I took a lunchtime walk. I’d changed into a T-shirt I’d bought last fall at Botanica but hadn’t had a chance to wear yet. It’s white and illustrated with trees of gold, their leaves slightly raised and barely visible, almost white.

As I got about halfway through my walk on the warm afternoon, I looked down and caught a glimpse of something red on my left side. Since I’d just cut my foot on a stick that had lunged into my sandal – hazard of no socks – I was thinking blood. But when I looked more closely I saw that the red was actually the leaves on one of the trees on my shirt.

And then I noticed that even more colors were covering me. There were blue leaves on the middle tree of the T-shirt, green on the right. And, above the trees, a yellow sun had come out! I felt giddy like a little kid.

Turns out I’d bought a sun-activated T-shirt and didn’t even know it. Talk about a bonus, matching gift.

After I got home and changed back into work clothes, I saw that the color had gone out of the T-shirt. Sad.

As always, I’m sun-activated, too. Unless a good thunderstorm is moving in.

Gardener’s almanac

Hoeing henbit — As perennials and bulbs start breaking through the soil, henbit is also popping up in flower beds, extension agent Bob Neier says. The best control is a hoe, he says. Time to get back in the swing.

Permaculture lecture — Charolett Knapic of Echo Landscapes will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about permaculture for creating a sustainable ecosystem. The lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission.

Native landscaping class — Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston is offering a native-landscaping class this Thursday and March 27 to show people how to put in a low-maintenance, self-sustaining planting. The class is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and costs $15. Call 620-327-8127 to make a reservation.

About Annie Calovich

Annie writes about home and garden, including her Bit of Earth column on Saturdays. She has been at The Eagle since 1985, working as a copy editor, a nation/world editor and a reporter. She’s a KU graduate who started out at The Coffeyville Journal.

Contact Annie at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com

Follow Annie on Twitter: @AnnieCalovich

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