Thursday, November 20, 2008

What's Blooming

Something is always blooming in the Sonoran Desert. Or at least in the suburbs of the Sonoran Desert. In the desert itself too though, desert lavender always seems to eek out something. But here in my irrigated one-eighth of an acre, nine species are blooming today, all native. There's the aforementioned lavender, a sage, ruellia, fairy duster, and Mexican oregano. Also some yellow bells, justicia, and orchid vine. Last but not least, a wiry looking plant with hot pink blooms called Dicliptera, aka "foldwing," which is the unsexy translation of the Latin describing the shape of its very sexy flowers. This one came in on it's own, a vagrant in my landscape. I like things a little wild. 

Along with the flowers come the bees and the hummingbirds. Hummers all year round! Today we watched a bright red-headed Anna's male declaring one of the palo verdes in our back yard as his territory. A bit early to be courting, you might think. But not so here in Phoenix. These males will start doing their spectacular aerial diving display in December, and nest-building soon thereafter. 

A little Costa's male was flitting about as well. This species is much smaller than the Anna's, but with a shortish neck that makes them look sort of "dumpy." To make up for their stout form, the males sport a purple forehead and throat with long "sideburn" feathers that make them quite distinguished and showy. Costa's are spring breeders here, and have just recently arrived from the tropics where they escape the blistering heat of our summers.  

These are the delights of our garden nearly every month of the year, excepting the very hottest weeks of summer when even the natives shut down despite our extravagant gift of bi-weekly watering. We have no traditional fall, nor a true winter. Instead, blossoms drift at the sidewalks edge, and hummingbirds wake me with their soft vibrations, reminding me where I am in November. 

No comments: