Names like ocotillo and chollas tripped easily off our lips; we had learned to identify the desert plants, spell their names, and drawn their pictures for many weeks as part of a class unit on ecosystems.
Seeing them in bloom is tricky: they only bloom for a short while in springtime. Come too soon or too late and the springtime desert landscape colors will not be seen.
ocotillo's spikey form dots the rocky hillsides year around.
But only in springtime do the tips burst out in fingers of flame orange red.
It is quite a popular drive to take on a motorcycle or in a convertible. The old roadside rock wall wouldn't do much to stop someone who missed a turn, and it also does little to prevent camera toting tourists from climbing over to get a perfect shot.
Bernie watched as his three favorite women trotted about taking pictures right, left, up and down.
Somehow flowers find a way to grace a rocky path.
The phrase "Bloom where you are planted" comes to mind.
A solitary California poppy glowed like a fallen sun; I've stood in fields of these poppies before.
Usually the California poppy is quite a bit more orange...I wonder why the desert ones tended more towards a yellow cast.
Cue the mixed signal flower: The prickly pear cactus is just a miserably vicious plant in terms of thorns. One inadvertent touch to the "stickers" is shockingly painful, yet check out that delicate tissue like blossom.
So many kinds of cactus....and they all have such delicate blooms!
And check out those tender pink thorns!
Talk about a mixed message!
Some of the cactus even smile at you....(hee hee..)
Anyone thinking "Teddy Bear" here?
That's a hint by the way....
Laura took my picture...I love her artistic photographic skills.
I will admit that even the paddle like leaves had a silky look between the thorns.
Yes, I find that to be beautiful too.
Small insects sneak into shots....
Some cactus are at full bloom with garland like circles upon their crowns.
(Are these the Princesses of the Desert playing a game of dress up?)
At this point we were taking a walk down a path at the Borrago Desert visitors center, where everyone seemed to be carrying a camera, and many languages were being used to exclaim over the pretty scenes. I wondered how people from Germany and Japan knew to come out to see our desert just now.
The blues are so cool looking, yet they choose to bloom in desert where they mimic the scarce element of water.
....and I start staring at the mountain.
Is the tallest bump supposed to be the Indian's nose or am I missing something?fluffly sort of stem on this plant. The micro mini flowers could only be seen up close; and up close I could enjoy the effect of sunlight on the small hairlike structures. I imagine that the plant is somewhat sticky and that contibutes to the deserts ability to capture and hold seeds that would otherwise blow away.
Barbara and her boy. I always love taking pictures of them together, especially when we are out exploring someplace.
Barbara spotted this lizard....Bernie has trained her well!
Do you love the twisty white center pistle in the middle of that flower?
Barbara told us how Bernie's dad once backed into one of these massive cactus. Those spines and spikes were almost impossible to dig out as they each have a tiny barb that causes a skin reaction.
Frankly, I get the heebie-jeebies just looking at cactus thorns! My skin has a few memories of unpleasant encounters as well.
I sneaked into the book area and looked up pictures of the flowers I had been seeing.
Teddy Bear indeed!
Did desert wolves like to hang out around them?
Perhaps eat the ensuing fruit?
Or did Mr. Wolf the botonist name the plant?
(Questions...I am always the curious sort...)
Sometime I had to laugh. Don't the five perfectly spaced barrels at the base of the larger cactus look staged?
California: The Golden State.
Some days and some scenes make this concept come to life.
The gold streamed through field like rivers.
The cloud shadows would play on the scene, changing it from moment to moment.
(Now you know what San Diego back country/inland looks like. Don't fall for the hype: It isn't just all about beaches in San Diego!)
Which is why having your own garden is so important! Barbara has a colorful flowerbed by her front door.
and blue margarite daisy are SO different than what we had seen out in the desert.
Beauty comes in so many forms...
We picked up Bernie's dad Hal and headed out for a Mexican food dinner.
Delicious as always...and I was so glad that Barbara didn't have to cook us dinner. A day in the desert in bloom should trump time at the stove every time!