Home

Green in the Desert

2 Comments

The monsoon rains have brought green to my back yard.

P1000846

Of course, with rains come roof problems.  We hope those are over for now.

P1000847

These are different greens from the shades we find in the northeast, but it is unquestionably green.

Shades of Green

2 Comments

Pictures from a walk through Scott’s Landing Preserve.

P1000813

Ferns are lush.  Some of the trees mark an old road from the landing.

P1000819Thank goodness volunteers from the Island Heritage Trust maintain the trails.  They would soon be lost in the dense growth that now covers an old homestead.

P1000810

A closeup of one of a small stand of iris almost crowded out by the brambles.  It was a splendid day for a short hike.

Still Spring

1 Comment

I spent the equinox thinking about clocks.  One week after we went to daylight saving time here in New Mexico, we went to Tucson for the weekend, where they don’t do daylight saving time; wisely, since they are at the western edge of the time zone.  It was nice to have light when we woke up in the morning.  Coming back and getting up on Monday was like starting the shift all over again.  Meanwhile, some volunteer plants have shown up in my yard.

P1000726

This autumn sage chose a sheltered place.  Whether it can root deep enough to survive remains to be seen.  Its parent plant, on the other side of the wall, is doing well.

The volunteer autumn sage gets shade from the neighbor’s tree as well as from the wall and it may get some water from the neighbors watering their tree.  The tree is putting out many new cones, which will eventually drop in our yard.

P1000729

This past week, the iris bloomed.

P1000747

The iris plants are a symbol of irony for me.  They came with the house, but they’re certainly not native.   All the native plants I’ve acquired since are younger than they are.  They were down to a few straggly leaves when we moved in.  I haven’t grown iris before, but I’ve been learning, and they are now abundant, though the blooms are sporadic. This year they’ve provided wonderful Easter color.

Spring!

2 Comments

The first poppies have appeared in our yard.  Therefore, it is spring.poppy715

It’s plenty warm today.  The temperature may go down again tomorrow or the next day, but the poppies have spoken.poppies716

Winter Walk

1 Comment

After the big snow there seemed to be more gray days than usual for our area.  But some days the sun shone, and such bright winter days are the best days for walks in nature.  These photos come from a recent walk on the Sierra Vista Trail. ocotillo

The desert has a rather muted palette in winter, and there are plenty of dry branches.  I’d like to learn more about photographing, close up, their complex intercrossings.twigs697

Some of the plants are looking very healthy, thanks to the extra moisture this year.prickly pear

The prickly pear above is in better shape than average.  Most look more like the ones below.PP and house701

The house in the background is one of several scattered between the trail and the mountains, a reminder of the ever encroaching presence of humans in the area.  This is one reason there has been a (successful) campaign to designate several parts of the area as the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks National Monument.

The last picture is of a less common kind of cactus along this trail, a pincushion (I think).pincushion702

Late Summer Color, Or a Small Garden Saga

1 Comment

Several years ago, I put a trellis in my garden where I wanted to grow roses. I did not succeed. After giving up that attempt I planted amaranth there. A few plants survived; when I returned from vacation they were bent over, going to seed. The next year I planted a few sunflower plants there. A few of them survived. They had competition from a few amaranth volunteers, which, like the year before, bent over. One was worth staking for a while.P1000625

This year I planted nothing in that section of the garden. Several sunflowers volunteers came up. They had reverted to a smaller, more native look. And there have been lots of them.P1000624

Several amaranth plants also appeared. Nothing special at first. Now, at the end of the season, a giant appears―a giant which is also absolutely straight. Nature has taken its time to do far better than I can.

At the opposite side of my yard I have a red-trumpet-flowered bush with dark green leaves. I bought it three years ago, and I have had to prune back the bushes on either side to keep them from crowding its space. It is blooming abundantly this year. Unfortunately I have lost the papers from my purchase and I can’t remember what its name is, or what feeding and pruning I should give it.P1000622

This week I took a piece of it with me to a small flower show. I found a piece of the same plant in one of the bouquets on exhibit. I asked around. Some people thought it a Cardinal flower (lobelia cardinalis). Others suggested a salvia. The flower tube opens up into four equal narrow petals―unlike anything I can find on Google or in my native plant book. I guess I will have to keep calling it Red Trumpet Flower Bush.

Summer’s Green and White

2 Comments

Summer rains have brought grass to my back yard.  Wild grasses most people call weeds, I admit. P1000616Here the green shows against the new brown path.  The landscaper who put in the path for me couldn’t understand why I didn’t want mulch – wood or stone – around my plantings.  This is why.

One day last week (time has flown by) I took my camera with me on a walk around the neighborhood and captured some white blooms.  The first is in a neighbor’s yard.P1000617The others are wild or weedy.  Datura is blooming grandly in the arroyos after the rain.620daturaI would love to have some of these next flowers, wee morning glories, in my yard, but others don’t like them.  Between the day I first saw them and the day I went back with my camera most of them had been pulled out.P1000618I don’t know if these are truely morning glories because I haven’t been by after noon to see if they close up.  I’m looking forward to cooler weather, when going out to walk in the middle of the day is a pleasure again.  That’s at least a month away.

Wildflowers

2 Comments

These photos were all taken one sunny afternoon as I walked home from doing the tour of gallery openings in town. wildflowers1wildflowers2

All colors of lupines are out.  A few days ago I saw only blue ones.  I had not noticed before that the blue ones come first.wildflowers3Here’s a view of lupines on a bluff above a low tide. wildflowers4

No, that is not a dark sky, its shore and water. The picture is a little dark, however.  It turned out the battery was running low on my camera.  But I got one more nice photo before it quit.  wildflowers5With so much natural color in the world, why should anyone bother to make ugly art?

What’s There to Say About Poppies?

1 Comment

The poppies started showing up last week, here there and everywhere, and this week, some in our yard.P1000408

When they arrive I want to celebrate.  It’s spring.  I thought about poetry in their honor.  Could I do a riff or a twist on Wordsworth’s “Daffodils”?  It didn’t work.  The following is all I could come up with.

Gluttons for sun,
they shine it back,
closing at night.

They persist, pop up
every year, sometimes
fewer, sometimes more,

not in the same spot,
windblown annual
new every spring.

Poppies.  Spring.
Nothing more
to be said.

While poppies are the most colorful sign of spring, it is the mesquite tree that has the honor of signaling when winter is really over and there is no more concern about frost.P1000414

You can see how close I had to get to one branch of the tree to show the leaves beginning.  The apache plume, on the other hand, didn’t wait for any signal.  It went ahead and bloomed.P1000415If there are no poppies where you are, I hope the daffodils are coming up!

The Old and the New

4 Comments

This post is about what’s new and what’s not so new in my garden.penstemon 2This past year I added two Penstemon superbus plants.  One did not make it through the fall and winter.  This 50 percent ratio is typical of my efforts in the garden.  But the one that has survived makes me want to try again.

Chamisa, Fall, 2014

Chamisa, Fall, 2014

This winter I cut back the out-of-control chamisa, as close as I could get to the ground.  I thought perhaps it would give up.  As you can see, it did nothing of the kind.  chamisa

I can only hope this growth will be thicker and sturdier than last year’s, when I did not cut it back far enough.  The plant growing around the stumps is Mexican primrose, which has spread as if it, too, thought the chamisa was not coming back.  mexican primroseBut what is this little blue and white flower?  pansy

It’s a pansy from a seed that wafted from another part of the garden.  I am delighted when nature adds its own touches to my efforts to work with plants.  I can pretend we are a team, though I know I have much still to learn.

Older Entries Newer Entries