Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Flooding in the turtle courtyard and more from New Mexico…

The week before last was one of extremes. We left record setting heat in Portland (Wednesday, September 11th a new high of 95 degrees) to arrive in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, to record setting rain; a 10, 15, or 20 year rain event depending on who you listened to. They had a very very wet week and I think 4” fell in just our first 24-hrs on the ground (9.92 is their avg annual). Unlike my previous visits to the state of NM everything was green, remarkably so.

The purpose of our travels was to visit my in-laws, we hadn’t seen them since last January and my father-in-law was recently admitted to the New Mexico Veterans Center. We weren't sure what to expect from the Vets home but were pleasantly surprised. Are you wondering how I’m going to bring this around to tie into a garden blog? And what’s with the "turtle courtyard" mentioned in the title? Well, there was a courtyard…and there were turtles!

Lots of turtles! And a fountain too, with turtles!

Built in 1936 this building used to house a children’s hospital, the fountain must have been a source of some delight for the kids. I wonder if there were real live turtles back then? We counted more than a dozen and they all had such unique expressions.

I almost stepped on this guy, not seeing him in the tall grass.

Did I mention it was wet?

I was pleased to see there were raised planters for the residents to garden in.

And crops of tomatoes…

And strawberries.

Plus more creatures to discover!

Out front the building took on a southern feel what with the plantation style porch.

I stopped to admire this graceful Desert Willow (I think)…

And was joined by a beautiful sphinx hawk moth. It was huge!

Later that afternoon the rain let up and I went for a walk around my in-laws neighborhood, hoping to scavenge a few opuntia pads from a vacant lot. Naturally I couldn’t help but snap more photos as things caught my eye.

Here was an example of the kind of flooding you could find all around town. Not anything like what they were experiencing in Colorado at the time, but there were local evacuations and sadly a couple of deaths.

All that debris is just washed out across the street…

Here the water is on path through someone’s side yard. Can you imagine having this dedicated stream bed in your garden year round?

So did I find anything worth bringing home? Of course! You don’t usually find Opuntia linguiformis here in Portland, so when I discovered a plant growing in an empty lot I snipped off a couple of pads (I brought one back a couple of years ago which has finally grown a new pad). Then I did a little weeding at the in-laws place and ended up with a few Yucca seedlings (Y. elata and Y. glauca I believe).

One of the Y. elata has already found a home.

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

28 comments:

  1. Cool, and Turtles no less! Thank you.

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    1. Naturally Andrew picked one up, so cute! That photo didn't turn out.

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  2. Wow! Where did all the turtles come from???

    I love the plants you brought home. I've always wanted an Opuntia linguiformis but I've decided NOT to get any more opuntias. They're just too unpleasant to handle.

    Love desert willow, too. There are several around town. I'm glad to see it's being planted more as a landscape tree.

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    1. You know I didn't even think to ask how the turtles got there, seems like the perfect spot for them though.

      Would you believe I procured and packed those opuntia pads without gloves or tongs? It's a practiced skill.

      There were several Desert Willow at the airport (or it might have been the car rental place) in ABQ too...so beautiful!

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  3. Have I ever told you how much I love turtles?! That's awesome. Beautiful place there.

    The flooding all over is unreal. It's certainly not what you'd expect in New Mexico! But I'm glad some foraging was done! Those opuntia are unreal. And yucca elata does wonderful here.

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    1. Glad to read that (about the Y. elata) the ones I brought back a couple of years ago haven't done so well, then again they were hauled all over the SW for a week + and then boxed up and shipped back. Not exactly ideal plant survival techniques.

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  4. Heaven help the TSA agent that decides to inspect your suitcase. Maybe you need to add a danger warning tag.

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    1. Haha...actually they were wrapped pretty good in newspaper and in my carry-on (we didn't check anything). I would have warned them if they'd asked to open my bag.

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  5. Turtles - what a fun and cute surprise. Looks like a good place for your father in law.

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  6. Love the turtles. And a good little haul.

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    1. I really wanted to bring home a couple of the ultra-spiky pads in photo #125 but since everything was going in my super stuffed carry-on I thought that might be pushing my luck.

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  7. Those Opuntias are a cool shape. Is that your flip-flop in the middle of that picture (fourth down from the plantation style porch)?

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    1. Good eye! I wondered if anyone would notice that. Nope not mine, it was huge (both my feet would have fit on it) and there's no way I'd be caught with bare feet around there. They've got a zillion sand burrs wherever you step and I don't need those in my feet (although of course I was wearing flip-flops!).

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  8. Oh, the irony: you going to N Mex, where it is raining, while your kind of weather is happening here. Oh well, the plants you love were there to see (and confiscate).

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    1. Exactly!!! Nobody but me seemed to get that. People kept joking about the weather being "just like at home" and I kept saying "no...it's sunny and hot there!" but they just looked at me like I was crazy.

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  9. Nice haul and the monsoon season has been surprisingly wet this year.

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    1. And late too right? Isn't July/August normal?

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  10. Adorei a tartarugas ,trágico a inundação mas temos
    que acostumar com as surpresas da natureza.

    http://eueminhasplantinhas.blogspot.com.br/

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    1. Indeed, nature certainly is able to remind us who the boss is!

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  11. Love the shape of those opuntias, looks unusual. Most of us are content to have frogs in the garden, to have turtles is cool!

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    1. Frogs and turtles both would be cool, but then again probably not so good for the frogs.

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  12. I wonder if the turtles were surprised at the rain. They look like the kind that usually live in pretty dry locations. The Opuntia linguiformis is a cool shape - I can see why you like it (in addition to its spiky charms, of course!)

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    1. None of them looked particularly thrilled about it, all kind of moving to the areas where they could remain dry. Poor things!

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  13. Haha...that turtle courtyard is so totally random and unexpected, I love it!

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    1. As did I, a courtyard is something I've always dreamed of having. Now I know it needs turtles! (I wonder what Lila would think?)

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  14. Love all those turtles!! so funny! hope your new babies grow happy in their new home!

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  15. It is almost like the turtles had turned out to worship at the fountain with idols in their image, or maybe their homes were flooded. I hope the best for your father-in-law and your family.

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