|Mid-March in our neighborhood, facing the Catalina Mountains|
In late March of 2014, 60% of the State of Arizona was in a severe to moderate drought and rainfall had been scarce (0.59 inches since the first of the year). This year we have had 3.45 inches of rain since the first of the year, due in part to a very impressive rainfall at the end of January. Even so, 55% of the state is in a moderate drought, including Tucson, so we’re not yet out of the mega-drought we’ve been experiencing for so many years.
Thanks to the rain we received this winter, we did have some spring flowers, though not the spectacular flowers that are popular with the tourists (such as Mexican gold poppies). Most of the blooms I saw in March were on shrubby perennials like brittlebush, though globemallow and desert marigolds made a nice show.
|Fairy duster flower|
|Globemallow and desert marigold|
Sadly, in our neighborhood at least, there was only an occasional penstemon or lupine.
|Left to right from the top, Parry's Penstemon, New |
Mexico Plumeseed, Coulter’s Lupine, and Phacelia
Now the palo verde trees are bursting into bloom, and the prickly pear and cholla are budding, but just around the corner waits the challenge of lengthening days, baking heat, and monsoon rains that won’t arrive until after the summer solstice…