Temperatures took a dive yesterday, down to freezing this morning after being in the mid-60s and 70s (roughly 18-24C) all week! We've had a couple of mini-blizzards this afternoon, one minute snowing and looking a bit serious, the next back to high and dry.
The Easter Daisies (above) don't care what the weather people say; they've been thoroughly convinced by other forces. I captured these yesterday just as the sun was dipping below the foothills (or an hour or so before real sunset). I wanted to make sure I got them before the snow expected by the weatherfolk arrived. Townsendia hookeri (or maybe T. exscapa; didn't look that closely). Asteraceae, Sunflower Family.
No snow still this morning, so I prowled the yard in search of a Biscuitroot in reasonable bloom. Also known as Salt-and-Pepper, these Lomatium orientale are very early and relatively nondescript; easy to overlook unless you happen to be looking specifically for them. They are among the first, but this year, at least, the Spring Beauties had gotten there before them. I swear this flower stalk was drooping, struggling to get by on the near-complete lack of moisture in the soil. Times are tough, and if they don't do spring early, they may not get to do it at all. Fern-like leaves + umbel flowers = Apiaceae, Carrot Family (in this case).
Even the exotics are fooled; maybe I should say "especially the exotics." Lilac buds are greening and swelling, promising flowers that may never appear if snow or rain continue to elude us. The Chinese Elm flowers are past swelling and into full bloom. Male flowers (left) and female flowers (right) on the same tree tell us the plant is monoecious ("one-house") but the flowers themselves are unisexual or imperfect. (Click to enlarge.)
Artemisia tridentata subsp. tridentata
5 hours ago