Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Desert Plants

We had an exceptionally dry winter this year, and spring wasn't much better. Our monsoon, which more or less arrived in July as it is supposed to do, has been weak. Desert plants are adapted to such irregular moisture. They tend to form enormous roots and appear when the situation is favorable. For someone like me, trying to use native plants both in the cultivated and more natural parts of my yard, this can be dismaying at times, followed by lovely surprises.

That's a desert four o'clock that I planted in a natural area. I have some in the flowerbeds, too, and they bloomed earlier under the influence of regular watering. I've seen a wild plant in Bandelier National Monument that must have been four feet across. None of mine are there yet. There's a prairie zinnia, too, down by the mailbox, that is about to bloom. I was quite concerned back in the spring that it was quite dead.

The four o'clock has been spreading its seeds, too. Here are a couple of what I think are seedlings ten feet or so from the flowering plant. I say "I think" because there is another plant in the yard, apparently here before I was, that looks like a four o'clock but never flowers. But it's tangled up with a juniper, which might affect its behavior.

And a closeup of a flower.

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