Friday, February 27, 2015
Rogues and Ruffians
It is all the more difficult to deal with here since one's instinct is to let anything green grow. It is not a matter of encouraging the lawn grasses to grow thick and rich so they can crowd out the undesirable species. It is a question of removing a growing plant from... empty dirt, which will either remain empty dirt or else will host another type of weed...
But some plants are worth getting rid of! The plant below - apparently Malva neglecta, the common mallow weed - is the worst at the moment though, as you can see, it kindly hosted one of my only frost photos earlier this year. Some of these plants have made it to 4 ft (1.2 m) or more out by the orange tree and are actually impeding access to the tree. They have made a huge growth spurt in the lovely weather we are having. I should have removed them earlier; but because of the property layout, it is easy to ignore problems on the west side of the house. I've certainly ignored these much too long. I began hacking them away from around the tree the other morning; additional measures will follow soon.
There are also quite a few delightful plants, large and small, that one could not have growing in a grass lawn, but which can be left to add some desert beauty to the surroundings here. In addition to the beautiful Dichelostemma capitatum of my last post, here are a few others.
For instance, this tiny plant - perhaps 9 in (23 cm) high - sprouted here and there in the back yard last spring. Its smoky colour made it virtually unnoticeable unless looked at carefully, but it was a lovely thing in its way. And it did not seem to produce any prickly seeds or stems, it did not spread aggressively, it died off and drifted away on the wind, and is only now beginning to show again. ID anyone? (By this time, I worry that any wild plant I like will prove to be nasty in one way or another!)
Last summer's heavy rains produced a fantastic showing of Desert poppy (Kallstroemia grandiflora). It would be hard to imagine a more perfect desert wildflower.