I'm once again sipping jasmine vanilla as I think about this week's Tea Tuesday theme - what spring looks like in my corner of the world. Our lovely red bud tree is just past its peak of pink blossoms (seen above); the pink haze is lovely to see as we pull into our neighborhood. The Bradford pears still have a few white blossoms on them, but most of their leaves are out and a strong wind last weekend blew many petals down - it was snowing white flower petals! My daffodils are long bloomed and gone. Our cold winter and rare freeze have meant that my garden is getting off to a slow start this year - in 2009 this time I already had lots of blossoms and growth out there. But I have many salvias in my garden and they are sturdy plants, so I know they will bounce back. Even the azaleas in our neighborhood haven't bloomed yet, which is rare. I am eager for their appearance - a lovely bit of magic in the Houston area. We try to make a trip to the Japanese Garden in Houston proper this time of year to see the blooms there as well, and the massive azaleas sprawling around the Rice campus. Spring in Houston does mean tons of oak pollen and other allergens, so although the mornings are very lovely, I try to stay inside. But I couldn't resist last Saturday morning, because I had several new plants to put into the beds: ferns under the pear tree's shade, a few ornamental grasses, and more. Spring in Houston is quite nice.