Sunday, March 24, 2013

Killing Winds

Weather: Last rain 3/09/13; 12:21 hours of daylight today.

The weather records from Los Alamos and Santa Fé this week showed humidity levels as low as 6%. Yesterday’s winds gusted to 45 in Santa Fé.

What’s blooming in the area: Forsythia, daffodils coming into bloom. Weeping willow leaf buds forming, turning stems bright green.

In my yard: Apricot. Tulips coming up.

What’s blooming inside: Zonal geraniums, petunia.

Animal sightings: Rabbit.

Weekly update: In the midwest, when the weather turned too warm too soon, we got tornadoes, then cooler weather. Here, we just get high wind gusts and freezing temperatures. The winds came this last week, at the same time humidity levels were getting as low as the worst of summer. The only plant that benefits is the Russian thistle, which has leapt the fences to dump its seeds in protected beds.

The new trees and roses have made it so far. But winds have killed roses before by tearing off their leaves and desiccating their stems. Nothing is safe for another month. I can only hope the new peach will survive what’s coming. Because it’s too young to bloom, its ready to leaf. The established tree is slowed by the flower buds that are fattening, but not opening like their apricot cousins which will probably be dead this afternoon. Even so, most years the peach flowers are killed by early May snows.

With plants that are established, I’ve learned, even if the winds or coming cold temperatures kill the first growth, the roots will send up more.

It isn’t just the weather that kills. The rabbit is back. Last week, the first tulips were coming up.

 The bulbs had been uncovered by the dripping snow, and need to be recovered. When I went out to check on them yesterday, I found the rabbit had eaten them to the ground. They may put up leaves again, but they won’t bloom this year.

With the dry winter, there aren’t many other choices for the cottontail. But I don’t grow things to help the hungry wild animal population. I invest the money and labor for those occasional bits of beauty, like the apricot from a distance, that somehow defy the dangers of nature.

1. Apricot coming into bloom, 23 March 2013.

2. Jémez in the wind, 23 March 2013.

3. Russian thistle plant blown into garden bed, 23 March 2013.

4. Elberta peach leaf buds, 23 March 2013. Tree planted last summer.

5. Daylily leaves poking through dead leaves of established colony, 23 March 2013.

6. Tulip leaves and exposed bulbs, 16 March 2013.

7. Same tulip cluster after the rabbit, 23 March 2013.

8. Apricot from a distance, with yellow-green forsythia and brown Siberian peas in back, 23 March 2013.

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