I apologize, but life is kind of crazy this week, so I promise that I will get to back to my ‘Tree Planting’ posts soon. In the meantime, I would like to share with you one of my favorite posts that I wrote about 1 1/2 years ago. I was rather new at blogging at the time so most of you probably have not read it. I hope you enjoy it 🙂
When people think of a desert, most envision a place of intense heat, sparse plants, snakes and lots of sand. Well, some of that is true, but there is much, much more which I have discovered. I am not a native desert dweller. In fact, I was born and raised near the beach in Southern California and I never thought that I would live in the desert. However, here I am, having lived in Arizona for over 23 years and I wouldn’t have it any other way….
All of the photos were taken in an area about 30 minutes northeast of Phoenix.
The desert that I live in is called the Sonoran Desert and it occupies over 120,000 sq. miles covering parts of Arizona, California and Mexico. Although deserts around the world do not receive much rainfall, the Sonoran Desert receives more then any other desert in the world. We have two seasons of rain. In the winter our storms come from the west from the Pacific coast and the rains are usually gentle. In the summer our rains come up from Mexico and are called “monsoons”, which means “wind shift”. These summer storms are sporadic and result in torrential rainfall and high winds. Often, when we receive these torrential downpours, my kids and I just stand inside our front door, just watching the rain.
By the way…..you know you are an ‘official’ desert dweller when you rejoice whenever it rains.
Because of our dual rainy seasons, the Sonoran Desert has the most animal and plant species of any North American desert. We have over 2,000 native plant species alone. In the spring, the desert is awash in wildflowers and cactus blooms. The rain brings out the distinct, yet pleasing, scent of the Creosote bush (if you rub the leaves in your fingers, it smells like the rain). I live in zone 8b and we do experience occasional freezing conditions during the winter.
Interestingly, the western part of the Sonoran Desert, located in California (Palm Springs and surrounding area), is regarded as a sub-desert called the Colorado Desert. It differs in appearance and in that the soils are sandy, there is less rainfall in the summer and as a result there is less plant density and native plant species. The Saguaro cactus does not grow naturally in the Colorado Desert. If you have a chance to drive across the California – Arizona border, you can see the difference as you cross over the Colorado River. This sub-desert has a beauty of it’s own and I enjoy visiting this part of the Sonoran Desert.
The Sonoran Desert is a fascinating place with cactus and snakes (I rarely see them), but is also filled with trees, shrubs, flowers and wildlife. Far from being a barren wasteland, this desert is full of life and beauty.
It is my home….consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."