Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Wet winter brings wildflowers.(Homestyle)

Byline: Story by Rick Nathanson * Illustration by Carol Cooperrider * Of the Journal

THE JOURNAL GARDEN PLANNER

Spring March * April * May

Colorful wildflowers are probably the last thing on people's minds as winter storms continue to blanket New Mexico ski areas and snarl traffic on the state's roads.

But in a month or so, those storms are going to start producing a bumper crop of wildflowers, said Judith Phillips, a landscape designer and owner of Bernardo Beach native plant farm.

"The moist soil and the freezing and thawing really fluffs up the soil," she said. "So not only do the seeds absorb the moisture but the soil is softened up, allowing for the roots to penetrate more easily."

During dry winters, such as the last few in New Mexico, wildflower seeds lay dormant on the ground. However, during wet winters the scattered seeds absorb moisture and germinate in great numbers.

Albuquerque's eastern foothills will likely see lots of evening primrose and wild verbina this spring, Phillips said. The West Side can look forward to abundant growth of narrow leaf penstemon, paperflower and desert marigold.

Throughout the metro area, look for blackfoot daisy and, of course, sunflowers whose leaves begin to appear in April and May and are in full bloom by mid-August and September. …

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