“Albuquerque Winter” may make some people laugh. Although we do see flashes of it here in town, they usually are neither long nor severe. The State of New Mexico depends on mountain snowpack for water.
The end of last week and Saturday saw spring-like temperatures, and sunny, brilliant days. Sunday morning’s wind hinted at change to come. Compare Sunday’s sunrise to that of Saturday’s (in the prior post). In addition to the clouds blowing along in the sky, note the cloud bank rolling over the top of the Sandias.
As the sun set Sunday night, the winds increased, and rain fell briefly. Within a matter of minutes, the rain turned to snow. Thankfully, the winds died down. I awoke this morning to a beautiful, soft snow.
The snow is already melting, and the streets are clear. However, more snow is due tonight into tomorrow. We do need the moisture, and if it does not last too long, it will just be part of a typical Albuquerque winter.
Redbud trees – where I grew up, these trees are quite common in early spring. I have seen them in Albuquerque, but they are not so abundant here. The common variety in Oklahoma, native to the region, is Cercis canadensis var Texensis or “Texas redbud.” It is beautiful and hardy. The Albuquerque Biopark has examples of that variety, and they were blooming on Saturday. There is also the Eastern redbud, along with its many varieties.
The Biopark has another variety of redbud, Cercis canadensis var. texensis ‘Oklahoma.’ It is the State Tree of Oklahoma. To be honest, until last Saturday I was not aware of differences between the two, or even that those two varieties existed. In walking through the BioPark, however, I turned a corner and suddenly came upon one whose flowers were darker, with much more intense color, and really markedly abundant flowers. Fortunately, that one had a marker. The common redbud is a beautiful tree; the Cercis canadensis var. texensis ‘Oklahoma,’ is, in my eye, even more beautiful.
These images are from Saturday, April 6. Yesterday and today (Monday and Tuesday, April 8 and 9) we have had strong winds. I doubt many spring blooms remain, not only at the Biopark but around town. The best of the spring bloom was short-lived, but glorious while it lasted. There are the summer-blooming flowers to which to look forward: roses, hibiscus, cosmos, sunflowers, and many others. Spring bloom 2013 has been glorious!
Yesterday so much was blooming that the beauty was almost overwhelming: flowers on the ground, and flowering trees. The air was filled with sweet scents wafting by.
Images of the redbuds will be posted in a subsequent post.
Here are images of two of the flowering trees with white blossoms. I do not know the names of these trees, only that they were beautiful and had a wonderful scent. The images do not begin to convey their beauty in reality.
Warmer days of Spring have finally arrived in Albuquerque, and the trees are beginning to respond.
One of my favorite trees is the Japanese maple. Even in the best of years, Albuquerque is not the ideal spot to grow a Japanese maple – too hot and dry. By the middle of summer, mine definitely shows it does not belong here. But it is glorious in the spring. It is just now barely beginning to show tiny leaves.
Another maple, a silver maple, is beginning to drop its seeds. I love these – they spin through the air as they fall, and kids of all ages love them! There is not much hope for this one, however. It fell on dry, parched, cracked earth from the several years of severe drought of which we remain in the midst. It is only early April, and the city has already announced that fines have been doubled this year for water violations. One month last year I got a whopping surcharge (not a water violation charge) for using more than I should have, and I can guarantee that this year I will not get a surcharge or a water violation charge!!!
When we are not in the midst of severe drought, birch trees do pretty well in the Albuquerque area. Mine this year are producing a bumper crop of the male catkins, which I almost think of as a bad sign, almost a desperate attempt to reproduce before dying, which one of my birches seems to be considering. The catkins are quite attractive in the spring, as the female cones are later in the year.
Spring brings hope, and this year is no different as I see the trees in this part of the seasonal cycle. But all around me, I also see the effects of a severe drought we have been in for several years now, with no sign of relief in the near future. As water restrictions require me to cut back on watering, the trees will be the last thing I let go, because they are so important in providing shade, nesting spots for birds, and many other environmental factors. And I keep hoping for rain. . .