Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring Sprung When I Wasn't Looking

Feathery Cassia                         Desert Bluebells

While I was otherwise occupied, spring sprung at my house. We've had record rain this year--as of today, 7.68 inches! We had no frost at all this past winter, which allowed many plants to begin an extra early spring growth spurt. One would think with all the rain, I would have a yard full of wildflowers, but that's not the case. Since we had hardly any rain in the last quarter of 2009, the wildflowers didn't sprout until late January, so it will become too hot for most of them to make it.

However, the unusual weather really helped the weeds! I've been picking weeds for weeks but I can't keep up. Now that we received another inch of rain, I'll be back where I started. The Mediterranean Grass (Schismus barbatus) will burn off by May, so I don't worry about that except where it's really thick. My main concentration is on the Cheese Weeds (Malva parviflora) because their super long tap root makes them impossible to pull out as they get larger, London Rocket (Sisymbrium irio),  Sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) and Tumbleweed (Salsola kali var. tenuifolia).  My last resort will be Roundup Herbicide. I hate using it, but sometimes there is no choice. I could opt for pre-emergent in early winter to keep the weeds at bay, but that guarantees I'll have no wildflowers in spring, so I usually avoid it.

Chuparosa--a hummingbird favorite. It looks like a big tangle of stems with red flowers.

Eremophila hygrophana is an unusual Emu that I got a couple of years ago. It is a straggly looking thing, but I like the look.

Desert Marigold is springing up all over my yard. I let them do what they want--unless they are too close to sidewalks or drives. They bloom year-round and add color to an otherwise barren looking summer garden.

Penstemon parryi

Thousands of sprouting Penstemon plants are taking over one side of my yard. The heavy rain caused a bumper crop, but I have only five mature enough to bloom. Of all those Penstemon plants coming up, perhaps a few dozen will grow to maturity. It's too late for them to bloom this year,  but they make it through next spring, I'll have a nice field of Penstemon swaying in the breeze. Last year I had dozens of various Penstemon varieties in my garden. This year, only the Parry's Penstemon came up.

Valentine Emu

This Emu has been in bloom since February but right now it's in its full glory. I should have sheared this bush several years ago when it was small, but didn't, so it has grown lopsided and droopy. This is one bush that does a lot better when kept sheared and shaped.

My yard looks so barren now with the loss of so many trees to storms this past year. I will not replace them. There comes a point that it makes no sense to keep spending money on things I won't see to maturity. It's getting harder and harder for us to take care of our large property, but like so many others in this state, we are stuck because the real estate market is so bad that sales are practically non-existent. Never mind the money lost as values went down 50 percent over the past few years. We've resigned ourselves that we will never see that money again. So, no more money will be going into my house and garden! I'll live with the bare spots.


jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

It's good to see you posting again! Also great to see spring has found you. What an outburst of colour you get to experience all at once. We're still dealing with winter here, of course.

Julie said...

I sure love that Valentine Emu, Aiyana! Gorgeous color!!! I have never heard of an Emu...I must go research this!!!

I hear you on property values. Recently our neighbor has gone to our code enforcement with the city and has had them issuing tickets to folks that have let their yards go too far south! One guy across the street from me has a completely dead yard now...and must re-sod. It is tough for people...I know I stopped buying fertilizer for the yard due to cost! I have to get back to it though. Times are so hard right now. Hang in there...I'm sure you will have your garden looking great even with the bare spots!!!

Maybe one day we will be able to sell our houses!!!!!

Claude said...

In DFW, we were lucky in that property values didn't go down on the level that they did in many parts of the US. They have gone down a bit though.

Is there something else you can put in the bare spots? Here, we'd plant sunflowers or castor beans to get something tall in a spot like that... I don't know about your part of the country though.

Jean said...

I'm happy to see your spring blooms! If our warmer weather keeps up I may see some too and restart Bloomin' Tuesday. My property is still snow covered.

Desert Swamp Dweller said...

Lovely flowers! Have you considered looking on Craigslist for people giving away trees and plants?

beckie said...

Aiyana, take heart, the market is sure to comeback one day. In the meantime enjoy as much as you can your desert garden. What you have blooming now is beautiful and to be treasured. Good to hear from you!

verobirdie said...

Now I know where OUR spring has gone :-)
Beautiful pictures, thank you!
Here, we are back to winter, with cold, frost and a little bit of snow... Very unusual here, especially at this time of year...

Lancashire rose said...

Ah! The desert in bloom. Wonderful. I don't think I know the desert bluebells. We also had lots of rain this winter and are expecting a huge wildflower season. f course like you said that also brings on the weeds. Sorry to hear about your property values. Our son also got caught up in the although he is young enough that he will see things return in the future. I think we have all come to expect the value of property to go up but it is now like the old days when values hardly moved over a 30 year period. That was certainly the case for my parents. We aren't so bad in Austin, still houses are taking forever to sell.
My suggestion on tree replacement is that you find some seedlings at little to no cost to replace the ones you lost. I lost all my flowering sennas in the cold but I am hoping that some seeds will survive and will make for a replacement. They grow quite quickly. Isn't this true of many of your trees too.

kate smudges said...

It is good to see you back and wonderful to hear that you have spring there. I love the Chuparosa and the two Emus. The Penstemon are a beautiful colour. I love Penstemons ~ the cold hardy ones do well here. Our summer is dry and hot.

Why is it always the weeds that do so well no matter the conditions? Grrr... I was sorry to hear about your tree loss ~ I can certainly understand why you don't want to replace them. What a bummer about the property values there. If only the market rebounded faster.

I'm glad you are still blogging!