Monsoon Green

Although only receiving about 3" of rain in July, the grasslands are greening up nicely at the Painted Pony Resort.  The change in the landscape is dramatic with knee high green native grasses going to seed and the poppies blooming in the riverbed.  Monsoon green as a color is familiar to most visitors since they are surrounded by green plants at home.  But in the open desert shades of brown and red are predominant many times of the year.  The color change occurs with the winter rains and the summer monsoon rains.  The landscape changes dramatically shifting from the reds and browns to bright green as new grasses emerge and perennials green up, actively photosynthesizing in preparation for flowering and seed production.

This dramatic change can be startling, but has this dramatic seasonal change always affected residents in the high desert of southwestern New Mexico and is there any evidence to support this notion?  Personal observations of the landscape suggests former inhabitants also appreciated monsoon green.  From the use of green turquoise for jewelry to the production of manos (not shown) and metates from green rocks (see below), green was and continues to be a color of renewal in the desert.

Grasslands at the Painted Pony Resort

Granite peak from the San Simon riverbed

Portal Peak from the San Simon riverbed

green stone metate


  1. Our grass has also shot up past knee high, approaching waist high in the month of July. We had 4.9" rain in July. Two storms were both ~ 1" and FAST falling hard rain and they rearranged our road.

  2. I went to Douglas, Az. this week and views were fantastic as it is green from the road to the top of the mountains in a 360 degree view.

  3. Excellent news, the whole valley is green. Waist high grass is amazing but sorry to hear the road was rearranged in the process. It would be nice if the area received 0.1 - 0.2 inches daily and spread evenly across the landscape, but I guess that is not what a monsoon is about.

  4. I heard from someone that Douglas Arizona got 10" of rain, the most for any place in AZ this monsoon season! Wow!

  5. Wow, what a rain. I would not want to get a 10 inches in a single storm. I'd be doing road work for the remainder of the year.

  6. Oops, I think the 10" was for monsoon total so far, not one storm. Sorry to mislead you.

    Our friend in Western NY sent a newspaper article about Lockport NY getting over 5" in one storm. That flooded Lockport!

  7. I have checked the totals around southeastern AZ and the totals have reached over 14" near Hereford