Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Desert in Bloom

Each spring in Arizona I look forward to the wildflowers in bloom. Sometimes they are abundant; sometimes not. The conditions have to be right; enough rain and enough warm days. Well this year we had the rain, but not enough warm days to warrant an overflow of flowers. I usually check on the "Ranger Cam" at the local state parks to check out which park has the most flowers. We opted to go to Usary Park.

Because of all the rains, the desert is quite green. Here is the road driving to the park.

Some more photos of the desert floor and surrounding hills.

Here are the wildflowers that honored us with their presence:

Blue Phacelia

Desert Globe Mallow

Fairy Duster

Mexican Poppy


Orange Fiddleneck

Desert Marigold

Close up of Ocotillo bloom

Ocotillo bush in bloom

We didn't just see flowers on our hike. We also saw creatures. Geckos to be exact. They are camouflaged pretty well. We would be walking and then - zing! One would rip across the path. Then back again! By the time I'd find him with my zoom lens, he'd take off. I was lucky that these two stood still long enough for me to get a shot off. If you notice, the second one's tail is a little blurry. That's because he was wagging it!

We also saw a family of quail. The first photo is mine (not that great a shot as they were moving fast.) The second one was downloaded from the internet.

The lichen is growing rampant on the rocks. Close up it looks like little mosaic pieces.

If a saguaro cactus falls in the desert, and nobody is around, does it still make a sound?

We left Usary Park and headed back home. Everything is in bloom there, too. Like the prickly pear cactus.

The hibiscus plants have beautiful blooms in various colors. It's just so sad that such gorgeous flowers have absolutely NO fragrance!

But these little babies do! These are blossoms from a grapefruit tree. And the air is filled with a sweet smell from not only these blossoms, but also from the lemon and orange blossoms.

I did my best trying to identify the wildflowers. If I am wrong, please feel free to correct me. I don't have to know their REAL name to enjoy them!


Sunny said...

A lovely variety of wildflowers, certainly different than this area. While the Geckos were zipping around did they save you anything on your car insurance? ha!
It's so nice to see such vibrant colors.
sunny :)

Wanda said...

I see where the name 'Painted Desert' comes many different colored blooms. Beautiful!

Barb said...

Wow. What beautiful pictures! I love that Fairy Duster. I've always loved desert flowers. Thanks for posting these.
Happy Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I did not know the dessert was so beaUTIFUL that is truly breathtsaking;)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Pat you are making me jealous! I love the desert this time of year. Beautiful pictures and I agree about the hibiscus. -- Ir is one of the Flamboyant Florida Flowers we have around here -- but without a scent, it seems like a cheat.

misslynda said...

The desert is truly quite different from many other areas. Look at the contrast between the northern plants and the desert plants. And go closer to the equator and the tropical plants have some similarities - - like maybe the hibiscus but still not alike. This is the most fun about blogging - - - getting to see and hear explanations of unfamiliar things.

Carletta said...

Wow, what variety of plant and animal life you've captured and beautifully!
We I hear desert I never think of it ever being that green. Thanks for letting me see my mistake. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos.Otherwise i could never realize how beautiful some deserts are!

SquirrelQueen said...

I love all the flowers, critters and beautiful scenery from your desert hike. So many people don't realize how much beauty and life is in the desert.