nearing the solstice


proof we went on our walk this morning




echinocereus canyonensis


agave parryi. the snow here is not necessarily a good thing


agave ovatifolia. the roots are a little more exposed than they should be. the garden help you get these days …


agave parviflora at the foot of an incense cedar …and a bunch of this past summer’s penstemon stems.

The snow that fell yesterday is about half gone; not melted, but evaporated. I’ve been trying to tell my Californians (the plants I put in this year) to stop growing, but they paid no attention to me until yesterday. Now they seem to get the message. A smart plant stops growing when it gets cold. The agaves stop growing, when they’re in dry soil, so they’re only half smart.


smart cactus, losing as much water as possible before it gets cold


malacothamnus fasciculatus, the chaparral bush mallow from California, finally gets the idea ….it comes back from the roots here, if it doesn’t get killed trying to grow through a Denver winter.

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7 Responses to nearing the solstice

  1. paridevita says:

    P.S. It was so blindingly bright today that I couldn’t even look through the camera to take these pictures. I have a pair of 15 year old sunglasses, safety glasses with the prescription written for the wrong eye, that I had to wear just to be able to be outside. I just pointed the camera in the general direction of the object of interest (or maybe just the object), and pressed the button. I almost fell over the dog taking a few of these pictures.
    I had several paragraphs of text all written out, but decided I was being boring. Nothing new, I guess.

  2. Loree says:

    So I’m confused. You labeled one of the last photos “smart cactus, losing as much water as possible before it gets cold” but clearly it’s got to be less than 30 degrees, maybe even less than 20, already when that photo was taken. So when exactly will it be cold and why exactly do you humans live there?

    • paridevita says:

      Cold is less than zero F, in my book. (The dog apparently thinks cold is less than -50F, because he has a fine time walking in his regular clothes when it’s snowing.) It was 6 night before last, but it’ll be 60 tomorrow.
      I imagine that the cactus, Cylindropuntia imbricata, being native to a cold-winter climate, has adapted to begin water loss based on day length, though some cacti start this process when exposed to temperatures around freezing. If they don’t lose water, kablooie. (Technical term.)
      Why do humans live here? I don’t know. “For the skiing”. Or, “if everyone moved to the west coast it would fall into the ocean.” Wait ..”cold builds character”.
      There was an article in The New Yorker a while back on homeless people which said that Denver had a very high proportion of them owing to its “relatively mild winters”…I guess compared to places north and east of here. It rarely stays cold here for long. “Relatively mild winters” is my answer, for now.


  3. Pam says:

    Take heart…tomorrow the days start getting longer! Spring is only a few months away. (p.s. I for one would like to see any paragraphs you write.)

  4. I’m here! If Southern California counts that is…jarring to hear “let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow” while I’m basking outside at the mall in the sun under Palmtrees with a vast array of succulents and flowers blooming around me. Tough life..Why do we live in Colorado, Loree? So we can visit places like Portland in the “off” season and not worry about our gardens drying up. I love agaves poking through snow. Glad the world didn’t end after all…

    • paridevita says:

      Not everyone in Denver is saying “let it snow”. In fact it’s pretty nice today, almost 50.
      I’m here because I’m not somewhere else. Or, in the words of Buckaroo Banzai, “Wherever you go, there you are.”


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