Well, the year of the poppy, it ain’t. Following ample rain in November and average precipitation in December, the Phoenix area went almost 70 days without a drop of rain during a critical time for the spring wildflower bloom in the desert. On top of the lack of rain, the low deserts have experienced significantly higher temperatures than normal. So 2014 isn’t going to go into the record books for our spring bloom.
With the chance of a wide-spread display diminishing each day as fast as our much needed rains did this year, shutterbugs with a careful eye can pick out single blooms to practice their macro techniques out there! Here’s what we’ve been seeing out there…
Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Ample globemallow and desert marigolds in the parking area. Ice plants along entry walkway showing off pinks and purples while the aloe have sprouted their orange flowers. The Demonstration Garden has some penstemon, blanket flower, and cactii in bloom, but it’s a smaller scale bloom than what we’re used to at this time of year.
Lost Dutchman: Ocotillo and hedgehog cactus in bloom near the Saguaro Day Use area. Brittlebush burned out. (The ranger suggested some small flowers existed along the Jacob’s Crosscut Trail but I was leading a private workshop and wasn’t able to scout.)
San Tan Regional Mountain: Ocotillo and a variety of cactus currently in bloom across the park. Brittle bush past peak.
South Mountain: Specifically along the Pima Canyon & Bajada Trails, the brittle bush bloom is done while the ocotillo and hedgehog cacti are blooming now.
Gonzales Pass: Palo verde trees showing off brilliant yellows in the median among ocotillo, globemallow, desert marigolds, and some brittle bush.
Silly Mountain: Brittle bush not looking real promising…
Bartlett Lake: Scattered brittle bush and globemallow hanging on, but looking pretty burned out otherwise.
Sun City area: Thanks to the recent construction activities, a nice disturbance bloom of poppies and scorpionweed intermingling is currently happening near the intersection of the new 303 Expressway and Grand Avenue.
Let us know if you’ve seen anything great out there!
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the upcoming monsoon season (will it start early, given the shift in seasons??) will bring additional moisture to the entire state. In addition, we’re watching the development of a possible El Nino closely. The last Climate Prediction Center report suggested a 50% chance of an El Nino developing this summer or fall, so the verdict for this summer’s bloom is still out. Stay tuned!
~Colleen & Paul