Sunday, December 18, 2005

December flowers in the yard

Yesterday, being the last weekend before Christmas, we got together to do this:

We usually bake up several types, then put together plates and give them out to the neighbors. My favorites are the tollhouse – chocolate chips, with walnuts, and I put in dried cranberries for a little softer chew.

While waiting for the oven to cycle I noticed that the front fountain was still frozen –

It was down to 26f Friday night, and by 11, when I took these shots, most of the ice had melted. Seeing the ice, and thinking of the snow reported across most of the northern states, I thought that it would be nice to show you what my yard looks like the week before Christmas. So I wandered around looking for what was in bloom.

We put two shoestring acacia trees right outside the kitchen window. These trees stay rather slender but get tall – around 60 ft. Right now after a year and a half in the ground these two are up to fifteen feet. When they bloom they have these nice little puff balls. The puffs are only about a half inch in diameter (12mm)

Unfortunately they also put out tons of pollen, so if you have any allergies you will notice these trees. Most desert plants put out a lot of pollen, because they are so far apart and usually depend on wind rather than insects for pollination.

Always in bloom are our rosemary plants.

We put about fifty along the low wall separating the desert back and the grass area. They smell nice, especially when you brush against them, and the little blue flowers are always there, and it’s good for cooking additions.

Also out back is the alyssum. This plant always has white flowers, but usually dies back with the cold, so it was surprising to see some still around.

We have quite a few different types of sage brush around the yard. We put a row of twenty out front behind the front wall – those produce a beautiful purple row when they all bloom – you almost can’t see any green for all the flowers. But we have a half dozen along the side, under the shoestrings, and there are still a few flowers hanging around.

Out front we put a lot of little plants around. Whenever we are at a nursery and see something that catches our eye we usually buy one or two and put it out. That’s what’s nice about having desert landscaping instead of grass, you can put plants anywhere (well, anywhere in reach of the drip hose for water) and they fit. We put in two little yellow flowering bushes, they are less than a foot high each.

But we still have some flowers left.

We put some acacia bushes out front – these are now about eight feet high, and are covered in yellow several times a year. This one still has a lot of flowers, and some of the long seed pods from the last bloom.

Under the yellow bush we have some purple lantana – we have assorted colors of lantana scattered around.

The lantana usually dies back from the cold, so we cut it to the ground, and it grows back larger every spring.

Across the front, planted down among the lantana and other things along the front courtyard wall, we put in some assorted bulbs. I was surprised to see the paperwhites in bloom.

They usually come up and bloom in the spring.

So that’s it for flowers in December. We walked around the strip today, to see the Bellagio Christmas display and hit the mall. Those shots to come.

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