Thursday, December 22, 2011

Snowy Succulents

What an odd La Nina weather pattern here - unseasonably cold and wet for weeks. With some snow, it's a great time to see patterns in a plant form that should be common in gardens, as chile is in New Mexican food!

Compact Queen Victoria Agave / Agave victoria-reginae 'Compacta':

The repitition forming this agave rosette my favorite when it snows; thick, triangular leaf sections help. Like a Protea flower.

Big Bend Agave / Agave havardiana:

The last storm dropped 4" of cement-like snow, making for some botanical interest. This storm's precipitation totaled .95", helping December gain 1.93" of precip at the house, 4X wetter than our monthly average. Most high temperatures have run 5-20F below average, with low temps just below average.

Ahhh! So Madrean on this side of the property. ("Google it"):

Is it Desert Candle / Dasylirion leiophyllum or Texas Sotol / D. texanum?

Twistleaf Yucca / Yucca rupicola:

Beaked Yucca / Yucca rostrata, Mtn States' powder-blue selection:

Small (4") terra cotta pots, w/ Mescal / Agave neomexicana pup (L) and Pig's Foot / Cotyledon orbiculata (R):


  1. How pretty. I love snow...maybe because I don't see it very often.

    Glad you didn't get TOO much of that storm. Our grandson waited a day too long to head home from Boulder. Got stuck in Raton for the night. He made it home safely yesterday.

    These fronts, one after another, are a bit odd for La Nina. But, the rain is very welcome here.

    Have a Merry Christmas..
    Stay warm...

  2. Brrrr! We thought it was chilly here, not so much compared to Abq.

    Cement-like snow is not fun when you have a lot to do. It does stick around long enough to show off the forms of the plants though.

    Always teaching, madrean is now in the vocabulary.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Beautiful pics...and strange weather. We're still cold but thankfully not in an arctic way, and unusually dry. So glad the moisture is going where it's needed.

  4. Nice pics - I always love pics of snow on desert plants. Cotelydon orbiculata sure didn't handle the cold/wet combination too well around here; I hope it holds up for you. We have had a whopping 0.25" of rain so far this December in Seattle, isn't that amazing?

  5. When I lived in Colo. Springs the old timers always talked about the Aberq. low that would bring them hugh snows. Missed us but we got lots of rain this month in South Kansas. I suppose the plants I bought in West TExas will probably rot.

  6. Snow always adds some special magic to the garden. Merry Christmas David.

  7. Hi David, happy holidays! Love your snow plant pictures. We've had a strange (and welcome) wet period too--in the last 4 weeks we've had 7 inches of rain. That's more than we had from February - October.

    I'm hoping for wildflowers come spring...

  8. Oh my gosh, you are having some crazy weather my friend.....It's cold here!!! Tomorrow is supposed to be worse with freeze warnings in effect. Nasty. So you'll have a white winter after all:) I hope your plants hold up. Stay warm and drink something hot:)

  9. Loved the top photo, but the second one really blew me away - great idea for a series! Glad you are getting so much moisture...

  10. I can only hope we'll get's so rare here...and few things transform the garden so completely.

  11. L/P - in middle/high school, I lived in Denver. To see the colder, more snowy winters the last several years is giving me, "where did I move to?" But yes, I'll take the precip...over 1/2 is soaking rain, so not all bad!

    SF - brrrrrrr! I think all this rain and wet snow is going to give us a rare spring annual flower show!

    Danger - that is true, and you are getting a nice break you probably need! Maybe a trip to Cascadia to warm up and dry out is in order...

    I - I think the pot helps with drainage, though usually it is so dry in winter. Tried it in a pot? I am considering popping this one and adding some others in the ground, since they look so nice!

    G - my brother also mentioned the Abq Low pressure systems...those missed where I grew up in Denver, but got Colo Spgs good. Hopefully you dry out some before it gets colder, so those plants don't rot.

    LR - I will have to send you some snow!!!

    KS - you too! Our 2" is simply amazing, as winter is our 2nd driest season (only spring is drier)...and we'll both take it happily. .50"/week, please!

    R - crazy for sure! We are getting a white Xmas and winter as you say...looks to finally be a change in the pattern next week. What is odd is how Tucson is picking right up on what NM is getting, while normally colder Las Vegas is escaping!

    JC - thanks for the feedback; I like the 2nd too. I figure that it is good to look for the interesting patterns in these plants emphasized by the snow!

    SW - wish I could package it up for you. Hopefully you get some snow this winter, just enough to create the desired effect, but nothing on the roads. Hilly there!

  12. Nice post...since snow is another element changing, transforming any installation. Most commentators, bloggers stay on the surface...

    At any rate, glad to see your return.

    The worst part about gym is that you have to pay for the length of the contract, there is no way out.

    until then

  13. How wonderful those Agaves look decorated with snow. Lovely! Glad your weather was not too horrific.

  14. Was it crazy today?!! It looked nuts on the roads. Hope you have a great holiday. Stay warm.

  15. SF - I forgot to should also Google "Tamulipan" and "Mattoral", the dominant terms for your area! (I think "mattoral" is the humid gulf coastal plain version of our "chaparral" in the drier SW and Calif)

    AC - thanks, I think it is also noteworthy to see what light, shadow, snow, rain and dry do to transform the look of a garden or plant. Bravo! Gyms - I may have to go ride or hike today, though only 35F.

    Hoover B. - yes, we were 16F today, but it has consistently been more rain than snow, and only 2 days staying <32F...could be worse. And I hope not again, unless I am visiting a colder place!

    R - yes, odd, but seeing such good skiing conditions on both Sandia and Mt Lemmon is a reward for sure! You also stay warm and enjoy a whiter (or at least frosty) desert motif.

  16. Great photos David...captures the essence of winter in the desert!

  17. WM - yes, especially this cccc-cold winter!


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