The seasons here don't seem so obvious, at least not in horticultural terms. There are relatively few deciduous plants so autumn (fall) colour really doesn't occur. Herbaceous perennials, apart from some grasses are also not common, so there isn't the familiar cycle of growth and die-back that we know in temperate climates.
|Pyrus kawakami - strangely with the common name of evergreen pear!|
However cycling to the gym this morning, I was aware that the mountains which surround this area were capped with snow for the first time this winter. The San Jacinto Mountain is the main range to the west of Palm Springs and rises to 8500 feet. An aerial tramway takes visitors to the top and you can go from cacti basking in the winter sunshine to pine trees covered in snow in just 20 minutes. The temperature at the top today is 24F (-4C) whereas down here in the desert it is 65F (18C). So actually in this little spot of California, I can experience winter and summer in the same day!
|Winter is up there!|
|Typical wasteland in spring - good years!|
|Desert Canterbury bells|
Although many of the desert landscape plants like Bougainvillea and Lantana bloom all year round, there are some that have specific seasons. Pyrostegia venusta is a beautiful orange climber that is just starting to flower and Russelia equisetiformis a colourful ground cover plant. The latter didn't like my yard and refused to flower but when its happy its spectacular. Both are looking quite colourful at the moment.
|Pyrostegia venusta - fire vine|
|Russelia equisetiformis - this is a gas (petrol) station|
|Palo verde - a Californian native|
|Opuntia basilaris (corrected!)|
I have to say I'm not looking forward to returning to the British weather in three weeks and leaving all this behind but the gardens and all the many plants we can grow in the UK climate do soften the blow!