Wow! What’s blooming in Albuquerque?

View Slides


We seem to wait so long for spring to get here; then suddenly, even with all the cold temperatures and crazy winds there are those irrepressible Winter Jasmine and Forsythias in all their wild yellow joy!

Bulbs are poking their brave leaves up above the cozy winter blankets of mulch. Lilac buds swell to bursting, and the trees dress up in their spring frocks of delicate blooms.

The phones start ringing at Hilltop Landscaping a bit more in the last weeks of winter—calls filled with wishful thinking about plans for the yard, but it soon turns to a positively enthusiastic chorus of questions about plants we see all over town doing their colorful best to cheer us all up. Some of the first trees to bloom are the refined, but profusely flowered plum and cherry varieties with the white and pink clouds covering the branches before any leaves appear. The flowering pears are next displaying a luscious bouquet of larger white flowers and the redbuds whose branches are lined with petals of a hue somewhere between mauve and red violet.

Leaving the confines of house or car you might start to notice more subtle signs of new life such as the tiny buds of the Chinese Ephedra I’m trying out in my yard. The stem and leaf colors of many plants are changing as well. The maroon cold season leaves of Wintercreeper Euonymus are gradually going back to their summer shade of green as are the red twigs of the so-named Dogwood. I know lots of seeds are ready to germinate, but I wait impatiently to see if the acorns I tried wintering in pots outside will produce oaks!

This spring in Albuquerque has seen a great deal of freeze damage to plants from the super-cold spell we had; many of us are waiting anxiously to see the Raphiolepis (Indian Hawthorn) as well as other evergreens with freeze damage put on new leaves. It’s always a little unsettling—this spring thing—waiting and watching to greet the new and the hardy survivors of dormancy, preparing to make the most of this growing season.

In a few short busy months we will be tired and hot, but right now we can’t wait to see the parade of lively colors reappearing as they inevitably do after even the hardest winter. For me this is the real “March Madness”!