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!