Sunday, December 16, 2012

Drying Up! Foliage Follow-up - 12/2012

Every hike and mountain bike ride I've made since July, has been more depressing than the last. Watching the effects of this drought, I just had to share that and dampen some cheery holiday moods. Just kidding!

And with the world ending later this month, maybe some plants just can't wait?

So, after reading this, please visit Pam and enjoy others' Foliage Follow-up posts, to regain your cheer - here.
The vertical growth and aromatic foliage are happy on 'Tuscan Blue' Rosemary. Often
a sprig gets broken off and simply broken into some olive oil for dipping bread. 

One of the numerous, new Chisos Rosewood plants along the freeway. I prefer the fine foliage on this species over the more common Arizona Rosewood. But both stay a nice deep green all winter, contrasting the gray and brown twigginess beyond.

But without irrigation, the wild is not so verdant these days.

Opuntia valida is really dying in the wild, and the brown
plants either side are usually a nice olive green right now,
including Hairy Mountain Mahogany L.

And the plant on the right of that last cactus is Shrub or Desert Live Oak...live...not this dry winter. More so when you like oaks enough, that your design practice is even named Quercus!

Flapjack Prickly Pear at someone's home, part of a few informal hedges of it, really, really need water. They've been shriveling for months, and it hasn't gotten super cold so far, so that's not the issue here.

I bet some readers and the owner of this house are surprised cacti even need extra water, at least sometimes. That's the case, when newly-planted and in the desert's typical dry periods, but especially so in severe, extended drought.

Until it gets a more suitable name, 'Cristiani Spineless' Prickly Pear at my own house just got watered - but too late? 





A pair of Windmill Palm trees at a residence being decorated for the season. I remember
about a decade ago, when that pair were new, no more than a few feet tall.

I thought it was better to end on a positive note, even if it is by an irrigated Bermuda lawn!

How nice, at dusk's low sun angle, with our Sandia Mountains looming over 3 miles beyond. (and the countless, very much dying cacti too far to see!)

The owners of this house already have their windmills strung with Christmas lights.

And the obligatory pic for Pam with an Agave.

And those are rain drops on the tree above one of
my A. havardiana plants. Borrowing my neighbor's
luminaria scene for the season, of course.
- - - - -
May your foliage and you thrive in 2013, in spite
of things beyond or within your control!

Assuming the world doesn't end this month...

22 comments:

  1. It is sad to see the effects of drought on the native landscape. But it's amazing how quickly they can bounce back. Maybe next spring 2013. I noticed on the weather radar maps a massive snow storm is shaping up west of your location and moving from Arizona directly towards Albuquerque. Let's hope so anyway.

    Let's hope the Palm Trees weather this storm, or the pathetic condition of those plants may change the subject altogether.

    BTW, you might enjoy this:
    Study: Turn off iPhone, take a hike – your creativity will soar


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    1. Herbaceous plants recover fast, but not cacti and woody plants - many of the latter now dying. There are skeletons of dead junipers left in wild from the *1950's* drought. Good news short-term - only 1/4" of snow overnight, but .27" of rain Fri. That's almost our Dec avg! The palms will be fine...irrigation. Plus, many trachys in Abq, all took it as cold as it's ever been here.

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  2. Those are some sad natives. In this case, I can say I know what it's like to see that. The rains arrived in South Texas just in time last year, maybe the winter will bring needed moisture to your area.

    It is a surprise to some that the opuntia need water in drought. Many of them around my neighborhood grow along the arroyos and some are right in the bottom of the dry creek bed.

    ABQ needs more Chisos rosewood. Love the color of the building across the way. At least the gray-brown shows off the occasional painted surface.

    Lights on the palms here next year, need to accumulate more lights.

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    1. I hear you - "pestilence" comes to mind. Maybe locusts will swarm in and clean up the cacti carcasses? I'm mostly positive, since wet spells usually follow droughts, and in town we are seeing plants like the rosewoods or sotols get more use, among the gray stuff!

      I wonder if lights deter deer??

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  3. Suddenly I'm craving a little olive oil with rosemary and good bread; and wishing my Trachy was tall enough for lights...

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    1. Doing that as we speak...except lights, too much work!

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  4. It`s the 30`s all over again. :( So dry here too ,but not as bad as there , it`s not supposed to be. I think maybe the rain we received starting last fall and going through early summer this year was an abberation in an otherwise long term drought. Maybe `13 will bring the deluge.

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    1. I need to find a chart showing past mega-droughts...it was revealing, though as investment prospectuses say,"past performance does not determine future performance".

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  5. The pain of drought is well known here in Austin. I feel for you. The scenes of shriveled and browned wild plants are so sad. You are so right to point out that even very xeric plants like cactus need a drink in times of drought.

    Thanks for joining in. If you have a chance, please stop by my FFU post to leave your link so others can find your post too.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. True, you all lost wild upland trees and others...I try to look at it as a thinning or culling process, all will be OK! Esp if people plant more reasonably in town based on lessons learned. (just did...I knew I forgot something!)

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  6. Wow. I had no idea it was that severe there. That is quite something. The rosemary and trachys are looking really good but I imagine those trachys are heavily irrigated to look that good through severe drought. They even suffer up here sometimes in the summer without supplemental waterings from time to time. Crazy!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. And the drought's worse E of here on the great plains...the trachys here suffer if not enough water or too exposed to heat and cold - an easier plant in the PNW. Rosemary...many varieties in most of town, like the late 1990's version of shrub junipers!

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  7. Some sad pics yet some plants are doing beautifully - I need to read about Chisos Rosewood - that is a handsome plant! I guess people take cacti for granted, eh? I think I may...I need to remember to water mine once in a while. This was a great illustration, as always. Thanks David! Just an FYI - did you close your comments on your last post? Tried to comment...."no new comments allowed"...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Amazing, even in uber-drought, it just takes a little water. Cacti are tough, but only so tough when not enough moisture can be taken in, while they continue to transpire in continued drought. Rosewood...(3) different species in our desert mountains, and a plant person in Dallas has had great success with them; they even do great in very hot Phoenix.

      Just re-opened that post's comments for you...I probably jumped the gun closing it to comments!

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  8. R. 'Tuscan Blue' I reckon to have to the most intense level of 'oil'?

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    1. That makes sense on its oil, though the pale blue flower is not my favorite - I prefer a deeper blue of other rosemaries. I hope to find some comprehensive chart of oil flavors, foliage scents, and bloom colors on all the rosemary cultivars, from some Mediterraneophile website - no luck so far!

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  9. I remember when I lived in San Antonio in the late 90's we were in a seven year drought. I did some research then and discovered that the drought cycle was usually 7 years with mind bending floods to follow. I always like to say "a flood follows a drought".

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    1. Not sure on the cycles being so regular (I've heard of the 7 year cycle in Calif related to El Nino), but something periodic is there. In 2006, we started out with a warmer and dryer year, only to finish with 17"+ of rain for the year mostly from the late June-Sept monsoon season.

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  10. It is so sad to see native plants dry up in their native environment. I wish and pray for rain for your state.
    In the meantime, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (filled with rainfall!)
    David/:0) Houston,Texas

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    1. Same here - I hope both of our areas don't get worse in drought, and that 2011-2012 is not worsening. But I get this impression.....

      You also have a perfectly moist / dry combo and a great New Year!

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  11. Thanks for posting the trachy pics. I love the coldhardy palms!

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    1. I wondered if you were into hardy palms! A person I know in Grand Jct CO, which seems much like Boise or Salt Lake in climate (intermountain desert, but in the Colorado Plateau - mild but chilly winters / hot summers), has a number of different Trachys and they do fine there. He has a few other interesting plants, too.

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