Sunday, May 19, 2013

Humbled

- By winter.
Despite being in the midst of a glorious and flowery spring, I feel it honest and necessary to honour the dead of the last winter.
It was exceptionally cold, with a snow-protection-less streak of inversions, which brought havoc to the more tender plants grown in gardens in Western Colorado, and mine was no exception, but a sore demonstration.

Two collections of plants are concerned: marginally hardy Agaves (From Mexico and Texas) and Marginally hardy Mesembs form Africa.  The  naked truth of the matter is that most of these plants, which I've celebrated in prior blogs, are dead.

But some are alive.

And other things are very much alive, laughing at my folly.

So here's the run-down. Check NOAA or Wunderground if you want the gritty details of temperature; In mid-January some folks registered minus-teen-degrees-fahrenheit around Grand Junction. (-14F/ -25C)  It lasted for several days.  Plants which still looked normal through -4F, -8F even, were suddenly ostensibly dead.  Limp Agave Jelly, or Rare Iceplant Jam.


I really liked having two Agaves there, and so did passersby, so I've replaced thier melted Mexican memories this spring with the Agave species which clings to the cliffs of the Grand Canyon:  


Agave utahensis var. kaibabensis.

The Agave Score:
Dead: 
A. ovalifolium
A. palmeri
A. havardiana (suprise, sad suprise)
A. lechuguilla

Alive:
A. utahensis
A. neomexicana
A. palmeri

(Same round, different teams:)

The Mesemb (Iceplant) Score:
Alive:  
Aloinopsis spathulata
Neohenricia sibbettii
Stomatium sp.

Dead:
Everything else, including 
Delosperma 'Firespinner"
Rabiea spp,
Nananthus spp, 
Rhinephyllum broomii,
Bergeranthus jamesii

But what about everything else?  The Buckwheats, say, or the Milkvetches?  Perfect.  Untouched. Of course.  But they are better appreciated alongside dead colleagues.




The "take-away" (to jump on a current buzzword) of this is that natives rock, and keep rocking.


Like the federally endangered Steamboat Buckwheat.  Live on, o little gem.
Eriogonum ovalifolium var. williamsiae, (and background Penstemon caespitisus ex Rio Blanco, Co, CO)

1 comment:

Acantholimon said...

I had enormous losses with my marginal mesembs, but my cacti and agaves did better. The spring bulbs were totally fried here--and some may perish. This was the worst spring I can remember--but things have bounced back. Looking forward to visiting in a few weeks!