We have been going on plant walks every week since June, and every week we see fewer flower species in bloom than usual. The last rain here was April 11 – just under eleven weeks ago. What a thrill today when the heavens opened and almost an inch of rain was recorded in our rain gauge! In a few hours the temperature dropped thirty degrees.
There are some wildflowers in bloom, including three that I have never noticed before. One of them had been on Joan Tedford’s plant list for years, but I have never seen it. Perhaps this is because it has leaves that look very much like the walnut trees which grow in the same area (about 6000 feet in elevation.) When I saw the leaves I thought it was just another walnut tree, but then I looked at the flower cluster and knew that this was a plant I had never noticed in the mountains. I could have seen it in other places in America since apparently it is the only tree or shrub that can be found in all of the lower 48 States. It is called Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra). I look forward to seeing the red berries, and its brilliant red leaves in the autumn.
Another new plant – not yet identified – looks like a lactuca, but it seems to be one that I have never seen before. The third new plant is a Galium. I am waiting to photograph it when it starts to bloom in a week or so.
I recently produced a new book of plant photographs. I call it – “More Wildflowers and Trees.” It includes photographs of plants that did not make it into my books: “Mountain Wildflowers of Southern Arizona” and “Mountain Trees of Southern Arizona”.
The new book has been printed in a very limited edition. Later I plan to print more. It contains photographs of 342 species.
On Father’s Day (June 19) the Arizona Daily Star had a two-page article titled “Art Strengthens Family Ties – Father, son share love for creating watercolors.” This excellent article was written by Angela Pittenger and features our son, Owen, and me plus pictures of our paintings. I have had many very positive responses to the article.
We are all excited about the rain that fell today, and hope for more rain in the coming weeks. This should bring out many more of the wildflowers that I love so much.