Deer-proof Shrubs

Russian Sage and Cherry Sage

The rains in the mountains have turned the grass to a lush green. The shrubs are doing well too. The deer leave the Sage and the Butterfly Bushes alone.

Butterfly Bush

The Trumpet Vine is doing well too. The deer went after the tender shoots when it was first planted, but now that it’s mature, they leave it alone. (Trumpet Vine develops a thick woody trunk, so it needs a strong support system.) As I was trying to get a good photo, a hummingbird flitted from one blossom to another. I asked him to stay in one place so I could take his picture. He obliged me by perching on a dead twig that jutted out from the base of the vine. Handsome fellow.

Last Day in the Mountains

Elk grazing near the road

Here in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a herd of 50 to 60 elk sleep on the Links Golf Course at night. Upon rising, they spread out into the forest to begin their day, often blocking Hull Road. I love seeing them, but I am not usually out driving so early. This morning I was lucky enough to see a few.

I’ve enjoyed my week in the mountains, although it took a few days to adjust to the mountain sounds. Periodically, a strange thud would hit the house. Armageddon? Bear attack? No, it was just the Ponderosa Pine dropping another pinecone on the roof. The dance of the pinecones is definitely a springtime event. I’m not sure how they came to be associated with winter. Perhaps because they make such good kindling in the stove.

The forest floor provides the landscaping for much of the town. However, for those who must garden, the ‘Red Hot Pokers’ are in bloom. The deer won’t eat them.

March Mountain Garden

Sierra Blanca (White Mountain)

Earlier this week I drove up to the Sacramento Mountains in Southern New Mexico for a little R & R and ‘social distancing’. For several days, Sierra Blanca disappeared under low-hanging clouds and intermittent rain. I could only admire the trees from my window. At night, pine needles from a nearby branch scratched my roof as it swayed in the wind. This morning, finally, I opened the door to clear sky and crisp mountain air.

A few hours away where my husband and I live at a lower altitude, spring has already appeared in the blooming trees and a multitude of weeds that would like to take up permanent residence in our yard. But here at the higher altitude, spring comes a little later. Yet, on my afternoon walk, I managed to spot a few dandelions, a patch of blooming clover, and the little purple darling pictured below.