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.
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.
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.