It’s been another week of super hot temps, very windy at times and no moisture at all! When is it finally going to rain here? That is the million dollar question. We are struggling to keep things hydrated and we are out of irrigation water now for the fore-seeable future. I can tell you that I am dreading and don’t EVEN want to see what our water bill is going to be this next time. That said, there are a lot of flowers blooming and beautiful now on the farm, despite the super dry conditions we are dealing with, so I thought a flower tour is in order!
Above is the Wild Zinnia that we grow in our seed crop field. It’s native here and doesn’t seem to really mind the dry conditions thank goodness. The 4′ x 100′ bed of it is just blooming like crazy.
This is Yerba Mansa, sometimes called Lizzard Tail, and it is also a native to the southwestern part of North America. This one too is used to growing in hot dry conditions and it’s doing great. My planting of this native medicinal herb has been in the same place for about 14-15 years and I harvest from it as needed to make herbal medicine. It doesn’t always bloom very much, but this summer there are a lot of flowers in the yerba mansa bed. They are about a 1/3 of the size of my hand, so they are pretty large flowers.
This beauty is Desert Bird of Paradise and the honey bees and hummingbirds love these blooms. Aren’t they exotic! This is a bush for us, although it does die all the way back to the ground each winter. By late May it is re-growing from the roots and it started to bloom about two weeks ago. Right now it is loaded with flowers. We have two of these bushes planted in our south facing wild bird garden, and they have been growing there for 5-6 years now.
My friend, Diana, who co-owns Perennial Favorites (google Perennial Favorites and check out Diana and Merrilee’s website…it is fantastic!), was recently talking on her blog about a hybrid that is a cross between this beauty Chilopsis (common name is Desert Willow, although it is not a true willow) and Catalpa trees. The flowers on that hybrid are gorgeous, but in truth, I’m partial to this true species plant. These Chilopsis are also native to the southwest and they are tough as nails and fully drought tolerant. It is a small bush, about 10-12 feet tall and maybe 7-8 foot in diameter. It leafs out late in spring and then in late June it starts blooming, which it will continue to do for most of the summer months. Our plants are growing in places where they do not receive very much supplemental water, in fact this plant has been here as long as we have…we planted it the first year we came to this land in 1996, so it is 17 years old now. It always comes through our winters whether they are mild or terribly cold. We water it 2-3 times a year and not very much water even then. It’s been run over at least half dozen times by the DWF delivery truck, which is a huge box truck, but it just re-groups. Now that it is about 10 foot tall it doesn’t get run over any more because it is easy to see it. The flowers are like miniature orchids. I love this plant and I’ve planted these all around the building compound here. A lot of those plants are small yet, but when they get bigger they are going to be stunning when they are all blooming the summer through!
This is called Birds in a Tree. It’s another one of the crops we are growing for Jelitto Seed Company. Hummingbirds also really love this plant, as do the syphinx moths during the evening hours.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this photo of a nighttime visitor to the farm. The skunks come around at night and unless we are driving into the driveway late in the evening and catch sight of them, we normally don’t see them very often. This visitor was captured on my wildlife camera. The skunks don’t cause us any trouble here, so we enjoy seeing them on the occasion that they visit.
Enjoy your weekend and do a little rain dance on our behalf, would you? We’d be thrilled if you can help us out and somehow make it rain here!