Saturday, February 10, 2024

False Spring or Just Crazy Tucson Weather?

First poppy of false spring

If you strolled past my yard yesterday morning, you might have caught me outside in my pink housecoat. On our sporadic cold winter days, I love to hang around the house bundled in my cozy robe. Who would have thought that I would be inspired by the sunny 57 degree weather to snap photos of the wildflowers sprouting in our rainwater harvesting catchment basin! I just had to capture a photo of the first poppy of False Spring.

The term 'false spring' refers to a period in late winter or early spring when temperatures become unusually warm, before suddenly growing cold again. The warm weather tricks the seeds that are waiting for spring to sprout prematurely - just be frozen again. I'm not sure whether that the term "false spring" really applies. Our weather this past year has been all over the place. For example, it snowed twice late last February and early March - when it rarely snows in Tucson. As the snow melted, our yards filled with wildflowers last April. Looks like it's gonna be another spectacular year for wild flowers! 

Poppies filled our basin last April

After an excruciatingly long summer with the most days over 110 degrees in Tucson's recorded history, it actually hailed in our back yard wreaking havoc on our poor agaves. After suffering from the brutal "non-soon" we are getting plenty of rain this winter. While the rain is a welcome relief, I'm afraid it isn't a good sign for the coming monsoon. I found out from a meteorologist at the Southern Arizona Heat Planning Summit that a wet winter means a dry monsoon. Doh! We are grateful to have cisterns to collect some of this winter rain to help us get through the dry summer ahead and desert trees that can handle these extreme shifts in the weather.

In the meantime I am enjoying seeing our basin green up - a sign of the wildflowers to come. #lovemyrainbasin  What else can I do?

It's fun to see the globe mallow springing back with all those leaves! 

I can't wait for all the orange flowers to bloom!

Globe mallow last April

One of the neighbors who caught me in my pink robe invited me over to take some of the succulents that had overgrown in her yard. (Of course I changed into my street clothes first! lol)

I planted a couple of agave in the right of way basin (leaving plenty of room for them to grow.) Thanks, neighbor!

So... False Spring or just crazy Tucson weather? You decide.

More poppies February 23rd

The life cycle of a Mexican poppy: