Drought or Spring?

Spring has arrived, but it isn’t the verdant one many get. Add to that years of drought, some studies showing it’s actually a return to typical after 3 wet decades.

We call it Spring though things are dying – Bill Callahan, Austin TX

From the day of my mountain bike ride, 3/10/2015 –

remember this house? spring – ocotillos, sotols, a juniper, ephedras and various cacti are all A-OK
spring – little maintenance, but they added some pots
drought – Dasylirion texanum worse than D. wheeleri

It’s from places with at least 2X the yearly precipitation and more humidity.

mountain biking time – Señor Correcaminos greeted me

Roadrunners aren’t usually shy; this one ran when I got close. A teen?

drought – Opuntia valida
drought – dead Juniperus monosperma…spring – warm-season grasses
drought – about 1/3 dead woody growth…I’m out of breath, too
drought – evergreen Cercocarpus breviflorus, Quercus turbinella

I wasn’t even in my zone, but I still made the most difficult climb on the loop ride – with some stops and mishaps.

drought – dead Cylindropuntia imbricata, 50% dead Bouteloua eriopoda
now the good part…a curvy roller coaster, only minor hazards

Perhaps if more LA’s got out in the natural areas on the edges of town, they might embrace place, be less uppity, and design better? Like neglected landscapes in town, one sees what looks good in drought.

fitness like this = work + fun
you’re welcome, ABQ

I miss only a few things about Albuquerque, and my house of 15 years is in the past. Each drive through, I grin seeing the same plants massed, which I did 20 years ago. Plants thiving decades before I or their “creative class” arrived :-)

And I stay in touch with friends, though not enough.

Do you ever see what grows in the wild, or lasts in your area’s gardens, with little help? I hope so, whether the old friends are people or plants.


5 Replies to “Drought or Spring?”

  1. I was just thinking about how with even a minimally supplemental watering set up we are keeping a certain amount of seasonality out of our landscapes.

    Native plants are great at taking full advantage of fall/spring/winter rain, but then so many of us glide them past some of the worst of often “natural” stressors of dry times that (even in drought) things here often look more spring-like than they ever would otherwise. And (I’m assuming) any supplemental water means accelerated accompanying root development, bloom set and seed production.

    Does that mean the native plants propagated by growers and by extension gardeners/landscapers will be the ones that gradually take over niches created by drought? If that is so, perhaps I should give more thought to what I’m choosing out of the native plants/seeds sold locally?


  2. It makes me sad to see so many native plants dying from drought. We saw this in Austin in 2011 and 2012. Things are better now, after a reasonable summer and good winter rains this year. But it’s a cycle, and we’ll see it again. Poor Albuquerque though.

    I know, it’s a common scene in NM and TX. Maybe we can select some tough plant survivors from the wreckage?

    And hi from Sunset Valley, the Death Star hidden by the humid blanket! (at that public gardens conference)


  3. Visiting via Tara Dillard’s blog. This is great advice and astute observations. I give a program on roses that was influenced by a malfunctioning irrigation system in my largest rose garden a few summer years ago. No research was necessary, all I had to do was look over the landscape and see what was thriving … and put fingers to keys and produce the Powerpoint to go along with it.

    Thanks for stopping by, and I just found your blog! (thanks Tara) Your roses are proof that monitoring the plants surviving stresses are the ones to talk about. When I moved to the desert 23 years ago, I learned less from nurseries or my boss, than from what I saw in neglected front yards….pomegranate, cactus, sotol and a few others often present.


  4. I decide on my plants the same way…

    :) :) :)

    Breathtaking views

    No one ever taught me that in school or my first job; you’re ahead of the game!


  5. I might have said junipers but only the strongest of them survive. I see many dead ones along the roadsides. Even lost some of my Nolina and many oak trees. Prickly pear are looking ghastly. Mountain laurels seem to keep on but no blooms this year due to freeze. This too shall pass-shan’t it?

    until 2012, the junipers, pinons, sumacs all held their own…then those died, too…as did many cacti, beargrasses. I guess a few years of 4″ of rain, no winter moisture and shorter growing seasons took their toll. Your area seems to be a dry spot, but it will be good to see what remains, when those plants you state thin out…and prickly pear…there? Wow.


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