Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Monsoon Plants

Weather: Rain Thursday and Friday nights, last rain 8/1.

What’s blooming in the area: Hybrid roses, yellow potentilla, silver lace vine, trumpet creeper, datura, bouncing Bess, purple garden phlox, alfalfa, sweet pea, Russian sage, yellow yarrow, zinnia.

Beyond the walls and fences: Tamarix, velvetweed, buffalo gourd, purple mat flower, pink and white bindweed, Queen Anne’s lace, goat’s head, leatherleaf globemallow, horseweed, wild lettuce, Hopi tea, plains paper flowers, tahoka daisy, strap leaf and golden hairy asters, black grama grass.

In my yard, looking east: Large-flowered soapwort, Jupiter’s beard, hollyhocks, winecup mallow, sidalcea, pink evening primrose.

Looking south: Betty Prior, Fairy and miniature roses.

Looking west: Caryopteris, Johnson’s Blue geranium, catmint, David phlox, ladybells, sea lavender, Mönch daisy, purple coneflower.

Looking north: Coral beard tongue, golden spur columbine, Mexican hat, black-eyed Susan, chocolate flower, blanket flower, coreopsis, anthemis.

In the open, along the drive: Dorothy Perkins rose, fernbush, buddleia, larkspur, white yarrow.

Bedding plants: Snapdragon, sweet alyssum, blue salvia, moss rose, French marigold.

Seeds: Reseeded Sensation cosmos from last year’s plants.

Animal sightings: Geckos, small birds, bees, grasshoppers, large and small black ants.

Weekly update: With the monsoons, come the late summer weeds.

Horseweed germinates in the fall or early spring in areas where moisture collects. The basal rosettes go dormant when the moisture dries.

There they stay in my driveway, too hard to remove without a shovel.

Within days of the first monsoon rain, Conyza canadensis bolts. Two to three foots stems shoot up, covered with tiny flowers that go to seed before the rains let up enough to remove them.

By then it’s too late to prevent next year’s crop from being seeded.

They can’t be ignored. The stems will turn woody and become hazardous to drive over.

Garden plants are better behaved. At least, most disguise their early summer dormancy with greenery.

Yellow Cosmos sulphureus is an exception. The seeds germinate then stagnate.

When the rains arrive they resume their blooming cycle, only they don’t always have enough time. When the frosts come, one surveys promises unfulfilled.

Water may not be the only factor. Some plants require water with warm temperatures; no matter what, they won’t grow in spring. Others may respond to sun angles, and only bloom when the sun’s rays aren’t as intense.

The differences between weeds and garden plants are more than aesthetics. The one is able to exploit our variable environment. The other is overwhelmed by it.

1. Yellow cosmos flower, 21 July 2013.
2. Partially opened horseweed flower and buds, 21 September 2013.
3. Horseweed rosette in gravel, 30 April 201.
4. Horseweed plants in gravel this week, 4 August 2014.
5. Empty horseweed seed head, 30 October 2014.
6. Dead horseweed stalk, 1 January 2013.
7. Yellow cosmos seedling, 28 May 2013.
8. Dead yellow cosmos plant, 23 October 2011.
9. Horseweed head with seeds gone, 11 September 2011.

10. Horseweed root, 28 June 2008.

No comments: