I started another little project this spring: The Tumamoc Plant Calendar. I am scanning the most visible or common plants that are blooming, or doing something interesting, at a particular time on Tumamoc Hill and arranging them as in a botanical plate. It’s a plant calendar hopefully with the spirit of the season. This is April and a lot is happening. There was too much happening in March and it overwhelmed me. That calendar plate is still unfinished.
It is approximately “Yellow Month” in the 13 moons of the traditional O’odham calendar. Indeed my botanical plate seemed too yellow to me. So I added the ocotillo (b), which really started in March, left out the no-longer-prime-time brittlebush, and I chose an orange cholla flower (f), although most of them are yellow. All this for the purpose of color contrast and harmony.
The sunflowers like brittlebush and trixis (i) had their time in the limelight in February and March. They were going to seed like dandelions or drying up. The Blue palo verdes (d) in the washes or roadside ditch started blooming first, while the foothills (h) palo verdes were budding.
Opuntias (f) started to bud and a few blooms that are still developing. I know O’odham people are harvesting the ciolim, buds of the staghorn cholla, Opuntia versicolor. But not on Tumamoc.
Creosote (c) has gone to fuzzy seed, mesquite (a) is flowering. And the first few saguaros (e) are budding with even a flower or two emerging in the last week. Saguaros are quite individual about when they decide to flower, a good thing for diversity and long-term viability.
Yellow has built up over the month to it’s climax. It is the theme for now. Most of the saguaros are budding or blooming this morning as I drove up and the hills are yellow with palo verde flowers. The air is buzzing with bees and flies.