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Xeriscape Landscape Plants & Flowers
For The Arizona Desert Environment
Pictures, Photos, Images
Descriptions, & Reviews.

George & Eve Delange

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Saguaro Cactus, Cereus giganteus, Arizona State Flower. Xeriscape Landscape Plants & Flowers For The Arizona Desert Environment Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews. * Xeriscape Landscape Trees
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George and his friend Al Weichold kept honey bees in the Phoenix, Arizona area from about 1966 to about 1992. During that time they learned a lot about how to produce honey in Arizona.

One of the secrets of producing honey was to follow the "honeyflow" which is the opening of the flowers that produced the nectar that the bees turned into honey. Thus, George and Al had to know the flowering plants of Arizona and when the flowering plants would bloom. They also had to know which plants would not produce honey.

George also taught High School Life Science and Environmental Science from 1983 until 2003 in the Phoenix Area. Part of his class that he taught was the "Merriam Life Zones Of Arizona" in which the living organisms in the areas are determined by the factors of temperature and available water which are also influenced by the various elevations found within the State Of Arizona.

In 1889 C. Hart Merriam studied the distribution patterns of plants and animals in a broad swathe from the lower elevations of the Grand Canyon to the top of Humphreys Peak (elevation 12, 760 ft) in the San Francisco Mountains near Flagstaff, Arizona. Based on his observations in the field, Merriam developed the concept of a Life Zone, a belt of vegetation and animal life that is similarly expressed with increases in altitude and increases in latitude.

These Life Zones (sometimes called "Vegetative Communities") are unique groupings of plants and animals based on elevation. These communities take into account the fact that for every 1000 feet gain in elevation the temperature drops 3 degrees F and the precipitation increases as well. The plants and animals you'll likely encounter in the life zone depends upon the varying elevations as you climb up a mountain or "sky island" in Arizona such as the Santa Catalina Mountains. Keep in mind that what you will see when you visit each vegetative community is dependent on the season of the year and the amount of precipitation for that year.

Over the years Merriam's Life Zones have been changed and modified as new information has been researched and revealed. But, they are basically the same as when Merriam did his original work on the subject.

George will present on the following pages what he has learned about flowering plants in Arizona as a Beekeeper and Life Science Instructor. No attempt is being made here to present a detailed scientific page on the subject. Every plant in Arizona will not be shown. George hopes that these pages might be simply of interest to anyone who wants to learn about the beautiful wildflowers and plants of Arizona.

Over the past fifty years Phoenix has became less agricultural and more urban. Therefore some of the photos on this page will also show how native plants and some not so native plants are used in todays Xeriscape (low water use) landscaping in Arizona.

It may be of interest to know that many of the non native plants that are growing in Arizona were introduced from Australia.

George still spends the winters in the Glendale area, in an urban neighborhood about a quarter mile from where he kept his bees. George never thought that population changes would have effected the Glendale and Peoria area as much as it has done! Glendale and Peoria have certainly grown.

People now are afraid of Honeybees. Laws have been passed outlawing beekeeping in urban areas.

Good News ! George has started up keeping bees again. He hopes to have some fresh honey soon!

Eve DeLange also is very interested in keeping bees. George calls Eve, the "Queen Bee !"

George often wonders; since bees are absolutely necessary for much of our food production, what will be our future without bees? Another practice that he wonders about is that over the 68 years he has lived in the Greater Phoenix Area, almost all of the very rich agricultural land has been covered with cement and buildings as the area has grown. Where will our food come from?

And, do we have enough water to continue building lakes, swimming pools, golf courses, and landscaping on our urban areas the way that we are now doing? Even though the winter of 2004, the spring of 2005, and Jaunary of 2010 have been some of the wettest seasons we have ever had in our recorded history, we are still considered to be in a time of drought!

George hopes it will all work out. Only time will tell!

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Arizona has two major wildflower seasons every year; with the Spring Wildflower Season usually during March to May, and the Summer Wildflower Season from July through September. Then there is a blooming season for a few flowers, during the fall.

However, some wildflowers can usually be found at other times of the year . Depending upon local temperatures.

Rainfall has a lot to do with our wildflower season. In the Phoenix area, the driest weather is during May & June when an average of about 3 mm (0.1 in) of rainfall (precipitation) occurrs.

The abundance of wild flowers in the deserts of Arizona, in the spring, is largely determined by the amount of rainfall during the winter of the prior year and the early spring of the present year.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released their winter outlook for the months of December, January and February of 2013.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) creates forecasts of weather patterns, based on various models.

According to their reports, in 2012 Arizona moved out of the drier La Nina forecast in May. Then the onset of a wetter El Nino looked promising; until August when it dissipated! Now forecasters suggest we’ll stay in a “Neutral” pattern, so we’ll very likely be not too wet, but not too dry, in the months to come.

They say. "Despite these transient features contributing to cool conditions, the collective atmospheric and oceanic system reflects ENSO-neutral."

They also say. "ENSO-neutral is favored through Northern Hemisphere spring 2013."

In Late 2012, they said "an El Nino pattern, a recurring patch of warmer than usual water in the equatorial Pacific that can have a potent effect on US weather, gave hints of developing in September but then subsided. This is the first time such a phenomenon has happened in approximately 60 years of record keeping."

Mike Halpert of NOAA, said. "This is one of the most challenging outlooks we've produced in recent years because El Nino decided not to show up as expected."

George DeLange says, "as of today, February 21, 2013; these predictions seem to be holding out."

Here is a short weather prediction of the Phoenix, Arizona area. During the early part of 2012 from the National Weather Service Phoenix AZ.

Below-median precipitation is likely for Oregon, California, western Nevada, southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. ENSO conditions remain near-neutral.

Tropical sub-seasonal oscillations (the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO)) are moderately strong, and are likely to continue.

The Arctic Oscillation is predicted to be negative during the next 2 weeks.

THE OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC PREDICTIONS, for the time period of November 2012 to October 2013 are:

"Winter will be cooler and wetter than normal, with near- to above-normal snowfall. The coldest periods will occur in early and mid-December and late February. The snowiest periods will occur in early to mid-December and early to mid-February.

April and May will be much cooler than normal, with near-normal rainfall.

Summer will be 3 degrees cooler than normal, on average, with slightly above-normal rainfall. The hottest periods will be in mid-June and early July.

September and October will be cooler and drier than normal."

George says, "as of today, February 21, 2013; these predictions seem to be holding out."


We will have an Above Average Blooming Season!

George was going to predict an average blooming season, but we were fortunate enough to be blessed with an unexpected winter storm on February 20th; which we will call, "The Blizzard Of 2013." The storm added rain and snowfall to just about all of Arizona! Remnants of the storm even dropped snow in the higher elevations of Arizona on February 21, 2013.

"The Blizzard Of 2013," actually dropped snow in Phoenix, & Tucson, Arizona!

In addition, about 5 days later, we had some snow in the higher elevations.

Based upon the 2012 monsoon, & fall rainfall. And based upon our 2013 rainfall, including the "Blizzard Of 2013." George predicted on February 21 that we will have an Above Average Arizona Wildflower Bloom!

In the spring of 2013 we will be able to see examples of most of Arizona's Wildflowers!

To make this prediction, George has examined the other weather data & predictions mentioned above. He also has taken into consideration the rainfall of Arizona during the fall & winter of 2012 and the first part of 2013.

For example, in the Yarnell Area of Arizona, we have recorded 9.13 inches of rain during August through December of 2012. We also recorded 3.82 inches of rain during January 1 through February 21 of 3013.

On February 21, 2013; George has looked at some of the areas on the low deserts and of the mid elevations. At that time the desert grasses were beginning to grow & a few wildflowers were beginning to bloom, but they were not as prolific as usual.

But George said; the "Blizzard Of 2013," will improve their growth. Cooler temperatures then prevailed from February 21 to March 3 of 2013. The cooler temperatures allowed the moisture to remain in the soil and stimulated the desert, and higher elevation plant growth.

Prediction Update.
Another rain, & some snow was predicted for March 7 - 9 th. It is taking place right now & it is providing more moisture for the desert & higher elevation soils.

We have visited several places on the desert on 3-6-2013. We have noticed that the Mexican Gold Poppy, Eschscholzia mexicana is blooming along several highways at low elevations, especially near the Phoenix Area, and Lake Pleasant. Some are near Wickenburg.

We also noticed a few other wildflowers like desert lupine, popcorn flower, fiddleneck, & wild hyacinth; beginning to bloom in the same areas.

We have also noticed that along Highway 93 north of Wickenburg, & along Highway 60 west of Wickenburg, the Joshua trees, Yucca brevifolia; are beginning to bloom. They probably will continue to bloom for about 2 - 3 more weeks.

Special Note: Up Date 3-08-2013. It is raining right now and almost everywhere around the western and central part of Arizona already has at least a half inch of rain. This will be followed by some nice warm weather for several days. I think we will have a great wildflower season!

For those of you who have citrus trees nearby, and who love the smell of orange blossoms in the air; George, the old beekeeper says, "the citrus flower buds are almost open, and they should be starting their full bloom by March 15th."

Hopefully, we will also have a wet monsoon season in 2013, which may also improve the wildflower bloom in 2014.

Remember, several plants found in the early blooming, lower elevation, Sonoran Desert or Mohave Desert can be found blooming at later times in the other elevations of the Merrium Life Zones of Arizona. So, if you miss the blooming time of any of these plants, just wait 15-45 days and look for them at higher elevations. You probably will be able to see them!

The following cities and organizations in the Valley Of The Sun or Phoenix Metropolitan Area are supporting Xeriscape (low water use) Landscaping and offer advice, booklets, and cash incentives worth several hundred dollars.

Chandler; 480-782-3580, Gilbert; 480-503-6098, Glendale; 623-930-3596, Goodyear; 623-932-1637, Mesa; 480-644-3306, Peoria; 623-773-7286, Phoenix; 602-261-8367, Scottsdale; 480-312-5650, Tempe; 480-350-2668, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association; 602-248-8482.

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