Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Early Signs of Spring


One of the first signs of impending spring (technically it's still considered late winter here) is the appearance of flowers on the Brittle Bush (Encelia farinosa). These are the first flowers on one of the younger volunteer plants that popped up in my garden in the past year.

In the foreground is a Yellow Emu Bush (Eremophila maculata 'Aurea') that is covered with yellow flowers. The tall bush is Tecoma Stans 'Orange Jubilee', which is surprisingly bereft of flowers. It is over 10 feet tall, so it looks more like a small multi-trunked tree. As long as we haven't had temperatures below 32°F, foliage remains and there are flowers. This bush has just a few small flowers right now, but as the weather warms, they will become plentiful.

Ferocactus cylindraceus flowers bloom in July-August and then form seed pods that dry over the course of months. In the wild, the pods will dislodge as they dry and become loose, spilling seeds on the desert floor. These are not dry as they can't be pulled from the cactus yet. Sometimes it takes six to nine months before they can be removed. At this stage, I think they are quite decorative.



Early flowers on Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) stalk, which also contains a still-green seed pod from an earlier flower. The stalks usually appear in spring and fall. This one is early, and the only one among the several Red Yuccas I have in my garden.



This tiny young hummingbird rests on the branch of a budding Chinese Elm tree. The hummer (probably Anna's Hummingbird, but when young it's more difficult to identify them for sure) had been feeding on the few open flowers on the Red Yucca shown above.


Good old reliable Desert Marigold plants decided to grow all in a row along the edge of the patio. The seeds probably washed off the patio and planted themselves here last summer. I can always count on this wildflower to add spots of color throughout my garden all year. These wildflowers can last up to a year if the conditions are right. It's fun to see where new plants pop up. They seem to situate themselves in places where they complement the surrounding plants.

19 comments:

My Budgies of the fictional town of Budgewoi said...

love the ferocactus. I first saw one in a fruit farm here but it wasn't in bloom.
Bud.

Claude said...

I didn't plant any cyclamen or pansies this year, so I'm afraid that I'm bereft of blooms until until about March, when the daffodils start coming up... Always nice to see your dessert garden though!

Lythrum said...

It's nice to see all of those cheerful yellow flowers!

beckie said...

Aiyana, your bloomers look so great to this winter weary blogger. And of course I love the hummer. You are so fortunate to see them year round. The 'orange jubilee is beautiful, With it's bright leaves, it must add a beautiful spot of color to the garden.

patientgardener said...

I found your blog fascinating. Living in the UK - desert gardening is very far removed from what I do.

Darla said...

Great blooms still hanging on. Dearly love the desert marigold, wonder if it would grow here?

Dee said...

Beautiful pictures- thanks for the "hope" they bring that Spring is near!
I "wish" we hadn't seen temps below 32 yet- I think we got down to 29 one night and although I covered many plants some got a bit of a freeze. I am longing for Spring!!!

verobirdie said...

The pods of Ferocactus cylindraceus look like tiny pineaple!
Charming!

Mary and Skip said...

Wow! You got a volunteer brittle bush! How cool is that! :)

Love, Mary L.

susan (garden-chick) said...

Lovely photos as always. I am incredibly ignorant about succulents, but just posted some photos I took at the entrance to the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, Ca. The third photo is a close-up of a silver leafed succulent with pink berries. If you have time to stop by and know what it is, I'd love an expert id!

Jean said...

Super post as always! I love the color of the desert marigold plant. It seems to have a bluish hue. The seed pods on the cactus certainly do add color and interest. I didn't know there was red yucca. Would love to see it when i's in full bloom. Jeqan

areeiro said...

The Ferocactus looks very similar to my Hamatocactus setispinus. Could it be these genuses are closely related? Your garden looks great and so exotic to me. Well, what we consider exotic in Europe anyway. It must be great experiencing a garden year there having all those succulents in flower along the season and having a new surprise everyday!

Shady Gardener said...

Aiyana, It is so interesting to see what happens in Arizona compared to our Winter Wonderland right now! ;-)

Ashraf shreif said...

wow...Aiyana
you have Jungles deserts no garden.
i like your garden ,beautiful fruit Frocactus.
thank u to photos

Julie said...

Ahhh...some of your beautiful year-round yellow colorations!!! Beautiful!!!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Thanks for the tour---your garden looks so warm and welcoming!
Jocelyn

Yolanda Elizabet said...

What a colourful post you've made this time and quite a few of us are in need of some colour. ;-)

Those desert marigolds look great as an edging to your patio. I like the seedheads of the Ferocactus cylindraceus very much, they look like little fruits.

Your Brittle Bush has both lovely flowers and foliage.

Have a great weekend!

Lancashire rose said...

I love your desert landscape. I think I would be quite happy to move to the desert. Is that gravel or granite you use alongside the patio? My son has granite and I find it very hard to work with when I am there.

Aiyana said...

Darla,
Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) is recommended by Sunset for all zones as an annual, and USDA zones 7-10 as a perinnial.

Lancashire Rose,
It's 1/2 inch granite in Madison Gold. It is a bit difficult to work with, but better than mowing! Also, I don't care for gravel--it is too fine and makes a mess when it catches in shoes, etc.

Aiyana