Wildflower Season 2015 — Part 2
Greetings from the wet and wonderful Sonoran Desert!
I mentioned that I moved to the desert because it was supposed to be dry and sunny most of the time. Clouds make me sad. I like to see that endless blue sky, day after day all spring, and the whole Milky Way at night. This year, though, not so much of that.
OK, it’s mostly sunny, most days. But we’ve been getting a shower about every two weeks — which means there are three days out of every 14 with clouds, and a half hour of light rain. Clouds! And Rain! In May! Yeesh.
As of the end of April (latest figures available), we’re six tenths of an inch above normal, making this the 36th wettest of the last 120 years! Well, yes, we measure rainfall in the hundredths of an inch here, and when the totals are so small (3.48″ average YTD), there obviously can’t be much variability. The wettest of all those years (1905) only had a bit over six inches by the end of April. Woo. Shoot, once when I lived in Florida, it rained 36 inches in a single day! Sure, it was a hurricane that day, but still. I honestly think most of my yard would wash away if it ever did that here.
What all these clouds are also doing (besides making me sad) is keeping the temperatures down. That’s good for my electric bill, I guess. I surely wish I had planted more peas in February though; I might be getting some by now. Darn. But I didn’t, because it’s usually too hot for them come May. The average date for Ice Break Day (when it goes over 100°F) is 22 May, and that’s going to be late this year. I’m still keeping my sweater handy, and have put it on the last two evenings. OK, I put on a sweater whenever the temperature goes below 80°. My blood is very thin. And cold makes me sad too.
Other side effects: all of that water is keeping the dirt diggable around the tree moat, and serious progress has been made there. It’s nearing completion, which is good since I need to get started digging the second garden bed. But also, there are billions of gnats while I dig the moat, and a few mosquitoes too. The birds are fatter than I’ve ever seen them, but even they can’t keep up with the bugs.
There have been plenty of bees too, because there have been so many flowers. Here are some of the ones you’ve seen before: first, my favorite spring flower, Caliche Globemallow.
The Catclaw Acacia really went wild this year.
Here’s a group shot of Miniature Woollystars & Golden Linanthus:
Now that I recognize California Buckwheat, I see it all around the yard.
The Desert Zinnias grow in little clumps everywhere. Here are a bunch of bunches of them with some prickly pear cacti, and a stand of yellow Paperflowers at the back.
And a small field with California Poppies.
That orange one at the back is also a California Poppy; maybe a mutant. The dead-looking sticks at the upper left are my mystery plant, the Jatropha. It won’t leaf out for a couple more months.