Yellopig Is Free

Or, Recreating A Life From Scratch

Archive for the tag “wildflowers”

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.

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Wildflower Season 2015 — Part 1

I specifically moved to the Sonoran Desert for the weather, or at least what I imagined the weather would be: hot and dry. That’s how I like it. Other places, such as Sweden, Denmark or even Canada seem like better places to live in general, but they all look so cold and gray (in my imagination), and cold and gray sounds depressing. Besides, it’s going to become increasingly expensive to heat a house to my comfort level (say, 80°F) in any of those places, so here I am.

That said, Arizona is probably heading for a much hotter and much drier climate later in this century, and I’m supposed to be thankful for whatever rain does happen here, and rain it did this winter! I would prefer less, but then my garden likes the rain just fine. I already mentioned that we’re ahead of normal precipitation this spring, and that translates into a bumper crop of wildflowers, many of which were new to me this year.

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Midwinter Blues

I knew it would come to this, and I prepared ahead.

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These are Desert Tansyasters (Arida arizonica), and there are almost always some of these blooming around the yard somewhere. Since I get pictures of these almost every month, I hadn’t been showing them, since there was always something else to show you. January, though, is flowerless this year — dreary and cold. OK, not cold compared to other places, but enough to make me feel a bit cranky. And I so miss the sunshine.

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July Wildflowers

July was not a big month for flowers this year, but I suspect that’s normal since July starts with intense light and heat and then proceeds directly to lightning, rain and high winds alternating with intense light and heat. Baby plants that pop up at the first sign of moisture are regularly beaten down and/or washed away every three days or so.

Vines do a little better, because they have some other plant to hold on to. In the shelter of the mesquites grows this little gem: Slender Janusia.

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April Wildflowers

In April, things start to dry out quite a bit, and heat up, so we stop getting the variety of flowers that we get in the early spring. Mostly it’s time for the cacti to show off.

This one is a Pinkflower Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus fasciculatus):

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Not-So-Wild Flowers from March

I live in what we call a “semi-rural” neighborhood. The roads are all dirt, and it’s very hilly, and cellphone service is still pretty iffy. But we do have our standards, y’know, and most of the houses here have at least some area around them that has been graded flat(-ish) and xeriscaped. Well, OK, my house had a little patch of grass in the backyard, but that’s all over now. The Google satellite photographs don’t show much lawn-type grass for miles around.

The “cultivated” plantings around the house also bloomed in March, and I thought I’d show those too.

I have two or three Paloverde trees that were probably planted on purpose near the house. There may be one or two more in the wilder part of the yard, but they’re less tree-like and more resemble loose, scruffy shrubs.

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March Wildflowers, Part 3

Wow, I’m really getting behind! But to be honest, April & May haven’t been spectacular, so I’m sticking with the March flowers.

The remaining March wildflower crop are all visible to the naked eye, unlike most of the ones I’ve presented previously.

First up: the Desert Zinnia (Zinnia acerosa)!

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March Wildflowers, Part 2

Many of the spring wildflowers don’t look like much from a distance, even a short distance, such as the distance from your eyes to the ground when you’re standing up — maybe 5 or 6 feet. Today’s crop of flowers fall into the category of “weeds”, when seen from above, but are amazing when you look at them close up.

Here’s a typical clump of “weeds” out in the wild part of the yard:

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March Wildflowers, Part 1

I know, I’m late. But you’ll like these — I know because I really like them. 🙂

It rained quite a bit in March, meaning we got over an inch(!). And the rain in December got everything ready for a show last month. I’m breaking this up, because there’s so much to see, and I know how long it can take to load pictures, so here we go with Part 1:

First, a bit of overview.

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Garden Update — March ’14

Executive summary: So far, So good!

When you last saw the hole in my backyard, it was about 2/3 full of dirt mixed with soil amendment. Soon, I finished filling it, and had some dirt left over. Here’s what it looked like at the end.

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