Say “Spring” in Phoenix and half the U.S. imagines blooming cactus. That’s it. Areas of the desert that have enough rain sprout Mexican Poppies.
My joy is seeing plants that come into Spring with a metaphor. Here’s what I mean:
Palo Verdes grow fast, so they are often trimmed hard in the fall. Palo Verdes have tiny leaves, and in the heat, they drop off. The tree had adapted with green branches and a green trunk–photosynthesis is not left to fickle leaves.
Aloes are not indoor windowsill plants here. I have them as border plants. In late January, they send up straight spikes and in February the spikes bloom.
The fig tree is deciduous—it looses its big, fuzzy leaves in November, and in March, the new leaves unfurl, one by one. The fig tree is about three weeks early this year.
–Quinn McDonald is a naturalist who never knew how much greenery thrives in the Sonoran Desert.