Beauty In The Desert….
As I have mentioned before, I am not a desert native….I grew up near the ocean. To me, the desert was a brown place where prickly cactus and coyotes lived.
Well, I have now lived in the desert for almost 24 years and I have found out that the desert is brown, there are cactus and I have seen my share of coyotes. But, I have also discovered that the desert is so much more then what my previous stereotype was.
Last week, I was visiting a client in the outskirts of the Phoenix metro area. Her home was located in the foothills of the desert. The plants and scenery around there were just breathtaking.
Thankfully, I had my camera with me that day and I would like to share with you some of what I saw….
Plants and scenery
The homes are set against the backdrop of beautiful mountains.
Blue Palo Verde (Parkinsonia floridium) were in full bloom against the blue sky.
Buckhorn Cholla were covered with unopened buds just beginning to open….
It sometimes hard to believe that something so prickly can produce such beautiful flowers.
I met a little friend, a Gambel’s Quail, perched atop of a mailbox.
One of my favorite shrubs, Chaparral Sage (Salvia clevelandii), was beginning to flower. The foliage is very fragrant and I have a small one in my own garden that I just planted recently.
The familiar desert shrub, Creosote (Larrea tridentata), was flowering along with their fuzzy covered seedpods.
Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) brightens the desert with their yellow blooms. They self seed very easily and you can help the process by collecting the seed heads from spent flowers, like the one(s) above.
Many different types of Prickly Pear were in full bloom.
It never ceases to amaze me that the beauty of a plant is often in the small details.
The bright colors of Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) were on display.
Okay, I have save the best for last. I was just about ready to pack my camera away and head for home when I saw a beautiful Snapdragon Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri). Unlike the more common Parry’s & Firecracker Penstemon that are found in the landscape, Snapdragon Penstemon is not found often in our area although it does very well and is native to Arizona and other southwest states.
It is a large perennial – it can grow 4 to 5 ft. tall. Native to the desert southwest, it does best in areas with low rainfall.
Unlike many Penstemons, this one is lightly fragrant.
Thank you for joining me in viewing some of the beautiful sights from my visit last week. In closing, I would like to share with you my favorite photo, which is a close-up picture of Snapdragon Penstemon flowers.
Have a great day!
Beautiful Desert Sunset…..Storm Clouds On The Horizon
Very beautiful. The Penstemons are gorgeous.
Love the quail 😀 One time, a flock of quail flew out of the trees while Chuck and I were walking, and scared the hell out of him. He carries this walking stick, and immediately assumed a warrior stance out of reflex. Bahaha!v I'm still laughing at the memory 😀
I'm always amazed when I read your blog at just how beautiful the desert really can be. I love the Palo Verde, Chaparral Sage, and especially that Snapdragon Penstemon!
Thanks for a great post, Noelle. I love that Snapdragon Penstemon. I've never seen one before!
What great inspiration! Yes, the desert is brown, but that sand makes for a wonderful matte and a place for the eye to rest! I think that the topography there also makes things more interesting.
Thank you so much for naming the Penstemon! I see them all over my neighborhood and never knew what they were called. And that creosote bush in bloom… my fave smell in the whole world is a creosote bush in the desert after it rains. Beautiful!
You have changed the way I imagine the desert that's for sure!
Pretty, but I am originally a native Texan, and I prefer the beauty of the Deep South's gardens with those in the Southwest ..so far in the US. I do believe your photography is magical !! Thanks for the post, Gina
For some reason, I had the same stereotype about the desert before I became a frequent reader of your blog. Now I know there are so MANY beauties in the desert!!! Thanks for sharing all the beauties with us! Love that snapdragon.
You are changing many people's perception of the desert through your blog. Because of you, I now realize there are many types of desert, each with their own unique flora and fauna. I love that Chaparral Sage! What a pretty purple! The flat-top buckwheat is beautiful as well, but what a name! And that snapdragon penstemon is lovely and quite un-desert-like.
Is the landscape planting in the top picture your work? That is so inviting, with texture and colour, and vigorous healthy plants.
I think a lot of people think the same thing you did about the desert, myself included. You've really done such a nice job of showing just how beautiful it is.
I think your blog shows that beauty can be found in every types of landscape … if your really look!
Terrific photos once again … but I do have to agree that the Penstemon is an outstanding beauty!
Your blog showcases the beauty of desert gardens so well… the taupe and green landscape, the mountains, the trees, the vivid flowers in the bright sunlight, all wonderful.
You have posted beautiful picture of flowers. i admire those lenses you are having. They are so vivid and charming.
As always, your pictures are beautiful and I enjoyed walking through the desert in your post!
Hi Noelle, really great photos! Some of these are familiar to California's landscapes. Penstemon palmeri, Creosote, Globemallow, and Desert Marigold can be found in the Mojave desert, while the Buckwheat and Cleveland's sage are common to Southern Cal's chaparral habitats. All are superb specimens in cultivation.
I really had my eyes opened when I started to read over here – so much beauty even in those hot arid conditions.
Noelle, your pictures are fabulous.
Noelle, that Palo Verde is so beautiful against the blue sky. I wonder if you know the Golden Shower or Casia fistula, looks like your Palo Verde though its spikes are drooping that's why the name.
Yes indeed the desert has its time of bloom and great beauty. I should love to visit and see the flowers and wildlife! Lovely post Noelle. Hope you have a great day too!
Our recent vacation to Arizona allowed me to begin to appreciate it's different kind of beauty. I still prefer greenery, but I can definitely appreciate desert beauty too. Your adoptive home is lovely indeed!