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At least they remind me of my lovely yellow primroses back in Michigan. This is the Lady Banks Rose. The specimen shown here is clambering over the neighbor's fence into my yard. Later this year, I am going to take some cuttings to see if I can start a few of these plants.
The individual flower of this rose is quite diminutive, as each bloom is slightly larger than a quarter, yet these are borne in clusters - this is a group of 14 - and produced in great sprays across the entire bush. This picture shows a vanilla bottle vase and a coaster for a pedestal. Tiny!
The flowers bloom but once a year, but for a show like this from a rose in the desert? Worth the wait*.
I'm not the only one who appreciates this rose. Here is one of our resident lizards who spends a lot of its time sunning on the wall just below the boughs.
The Desert Mallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua, is blooming in my backyard. We moved into this rental at the beginning of the year. The winter rains dumped nearly two inches of precipitation soon after, guaranteeing good weed wildflower germination.
So I've been pulling a lot of weedy material out of the gravel in both the front and back, but I've been doing so with a careful eye, trying to identify what grows down here. In the far back corner of the yard, I have a cluster of these mallows. The one in the corner might even be a second-year plant, all of the others look like newbies.
This is a lovely plant, obviously desert adapted. It's cousins in the mallow family like to have their feet in the damp, and this one is no exception. The plants I have seen in the wild have been constrained to the areas of the washes, where the water comes in volume and stays longer than anywhere else in the desert.
I will be watching my plants to see their summer habits. Desert Tropicals, an informal on-line encyclopedia of Arizona desert plants, states that "The coral flowers of the desert mallow come in summer to fall."
I'm not keeping my hopes up. The ones in my backyard look like they are putting on an all-or-nothing show.
Meanwhile, at the back feeder, I got a positive id on the Lesser Goldfinch. He is a green-backed male, and the two of them seem to be local. Maybe I'll get to see babies in a few months!
So today the goldfinches came back. The female stayed at the feeder as I came out and sat down, and filled up on nyjer seed while I watched her. Either she's been habituated to people, or she was really hungry.
The male made one swooping in-flight to consider the feeder, then landed in the neighbor's yard, out of sight. But he proceeded to sing.
Based on this, I think they are the Lesser Goldfinch. The female's strong olive color contrasted with soft grey wings matched the photo at the Cornell lab of Ornithology for this species. I think the male is the green-backed variety, but this will need further viewings to confirm. One glimpse as he was flying rapidly way does not give me full confidence in the sighting.
But it's such a thrill to have these birds singing in my yard. A little bit of bliss.
I watched a flock of starlings come in and have a round of drinks at the stock tank that is my lily pond.
And later, a pair of goldfinches tried to buzz the thistle feeder. The greedy house finches wouldn't give it up, but here's hoping the golds stick around and try again!
Plus, the Abert's towhees are getting quite sassy and coming right up to the bird bath feeder to scavenge downed thistle seed! Shy and retiring birds, eh? Hmmm. If these towhees are going to be my backyard robin replacements, I'll be happy. They are handsome birds.