Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Comes to the Desert Southwest

Spring and Fall are the best times in the high desert southwest. Just 2 weeks ago, I couldn't go outside without a big coat. Yesterday I was able to leave a couple of sun-filled windows open for the first time since last October. Because of the prevailing U.S. jetstream (SW to NE), don't worry if you're in the Northeast -- I'm happy to report Spring is on the way!

Here's a bit of what's going on around my house. I'll spare you the fertilizer and pruning stories. Click on any photo to enlarge.

We have a couple old dogs who hate walking on gravel. It hurts their paws. I found these nice flagstones dumped in a vacant lot & brought them home for a little pathway across the gravel. Since construction debris is filling up the landfill, I felt good about recycling someone's leftovers. And the oldest dog was very appreciative, too. She better be; the large stone she's standing on about broke my back!

Two yrs ago, I planted 50 red tulip bulbs around our house. Last spring all 50 came up. This year, only 10. What happened? They should've divided & multiplied over the winter. I just love the flash of red!

I've heard about bees dying out, but this Creeping Rosemary sure attracts them from wherever they are hiding. I can walk out my front door & twist off a few sprigs for cooking. Fresh cut Rosemary fills the whole house with a lovely aroma. Careful of the bees!

These succulents are called Gopher Plants. I have no idea why. We don't have any gophers in our yard. This utah desert's winters are too harsh for most succulents. Think of them as cactus without spines. All cactus are succulents, but not all succulents are cactus. At the heart of each yellow blooming stem on the Gopher Plant is a little tiny red star. Very pretty!

Hiking in Zion National Park last week, I came upon this spring waterfall. The photo was taken looking straight up a cliff face. Winter snowmelt water seeps through cracks & fissures for miles, following different paths each year. You never know where exactly they will pop up. Chancing upon this one was a delight. The waterfall will disappear soon, but the memory will stay in the rocks to weep out all summer, giving the navajo sandstone a dark patina.

You will definitely have to click on this one to enlarge. The Zion canyons have many sheer faces with fissures to tempt rock climbers. Peton climbing has been outlawed for some time, but free climbing can be done during the off-season/low tourist times. The canyon walls are so tall, climbers are easy to miss. This guy was just getting started. Unfortunately, our hike took us another direction & by the time we returned, he was out of sight.

OK, hope you enjoyed this little Spring Break!

I will be scarce for a couple weeks, spending time in my tax dungeon.

ps, I just noticed: there are *only* 300-days left on the Bush Countdown Clock!


TomCat said...

Red, those are some gorgeous photos. Here in the Pacific NW, spring comes when it wants, anytime between February and June.

D.K. Raed said...

Hi, Tomcat! Good to see you out & about. Now that you mention it, I do remember from the few yrs we lived in the NW, how unpredictable spring is up there. Some yrs, it went straight into summer (which was very much like spring down here in the SW).

enigma4ever said...

Oh lovely SPRING...thank you,......I needed that....

Fran said...

Nice pics--Zion looks like such a beautiful place. In western Oregon.. we have a sampling of springs-- we usually get what I call fake spring mid January for a few weeks, & then it gets cold & rainy again, but keeps warming up-- so the blooms start to come. January the Camelia bush blooms, and then the crocus, tulips, iris & azalia & rhodies. WE just happened to buy a house with a ton of old growth rhodies in lots of different colors... a variety of lilacs too... white lilac & deep dark purple. We have a cool dogwood tree too. I can take credit for none of them-- they were already planted & flourishing when we arrived. Still I always look forward to the *show* of successive blooms doing their thing.

D.K. Raed said...

Never fear, spring WILL eventually arrive up there. I bet you'll have an incredibly green year, too.

Someone obviously knew what they were doing if you get a good show of successive blooms. I loved the azaelas & rhododendrons we had up in Washington state. Down here, last fall I planted a couple small lilac bushes in a very cold north spot that never sees sun all winter. They went dormant right away, so I had no idea if they even made it through the winter until a few weeks ago when leaf buds started appearing. Now there are 2 good lilac blooms already starting on one bush. Very deep purple.

We are definitely through with winter. Our pattern is maybe, if we're lucky, 2-months of spring, before it turns hellaciously hot.

TomCat said...

Red, I spent a few years in Arizona. Your part of the world is too hot for me.

D.K. Raed said...

TCat: unlike most of AZ, SW UT is a "high desert" w/furnace summers, but bitter cold winters ... more like Albuquerque NM ... great potential for solar power though, since even when it's freezing, the sun is pretty intense.

Cheryl said...

Very pretty pics! We haven't had a furnace down here near Palm Springs this summer! Actually, we've had a really mild summer! Only 75 or so in the morning in AUGUST! That is unusual, as you know!