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Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, California, United States
Gazing into this abyss called Life and wondering.....what's next !?!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

26 March 2012

Busy, busy, busy......the past two weekends I have had the privilege of following two different experts around in the desert. One, an ecologist. The other, a photographer as well as friend. So many intriguing things to explore. For now, I will just show you mainly in pictures.

This past weekend, a group of 'budding' photographers from the Desert Institute wandered about 2 miles up a very wide wash exploding with wildflowers. There aren't many this year, at least not in the higher elevations, yet. We won't have the profusion of flowers we had a few years back but last Saturday was not a disappointment. I am so glad I do not suffer from allergies........

Here are a few highlights of my day this recent weekend. I wish I had bothered to bring my 100mm macro AND a wide angle lens. The wash was vast and complicated with the rocky canyon walls along the wide wash basin strewn with the remains of the huge flood last fall. The breeze made it difficult to get clear shots up close of the blossoms. Many of my photos were quite fuzzy. Delete. Delete. Delete. Still, it was fun, once again, to lie belly down in the warm desert sand, getting close to the miracle of spring birth.

(All images © Diana Shay Diehl 2012)

I love this tiny little cluster. They are a type of desert daisy. There are several varieties that look similar but have distinctions only a trained eye with a loop could discern. This cluster could fit in the palm of my hand with maybe 2-3 more. Miniature perfection.


Chuparosa or hummingbird bush.  These were abundant all along the roadside at the southeast end of Joshua Tree National Park. 




 Above: An unfurled Datura

Right:  Close up of Datura in full bloom

Bottom left:  Full view of Datura. I love the purple tinge on the outer most edges.

Beautiful to behold, deadly to ingest. Other names for this lovely plant is Jimson Weed, stink weed, devil's trumpet, loco weed.... It's in the nightshade family.  Stay away.....


Apricot mallow, I think. Although I remember them having yellow 'innards'. I should pay better attention. Anyway, if that is what this is, desert tortoises love snacking on these.










To the left is desert lupine. The leaf is as spectacular as the delicate flowers. This one has been pollenated already. You can tell because what was once yellow has turned red after pollination. The color change tells the pollinators to not waste their time here....the deed has been done.
 Above is a sand blazing star.  Don't you just love how it shimmers? Like taffeta on a gown....







Not exactly sure what this beauty is. I believe it is a golden sun cup.
  To the left is a young fan palm (I think) in various stages of leafing out. (Okay, I know that isn't the scientific term....dear botanists, forgive me....)  Anyway, I never realized how the new leaves are tightly bound and look like corrugated cardboard as they open up. Look at those patterns.  In the background, you can see the leaves after they have had time to stand straight and fill out.  The local Native Americans used those stringy fibers in their intricate weaving.


And finally, to the left is a......scorpi-something or other. For the life of me, I cannot remember. I think it's in the pea family. It grows like a vine. See how the tendrils intertwine?
The flower clusters are a soft peach, like I remember seeing in beach cottages on the Atlantic coast where I spent my younger years.  These have a Victorian look to me. They smelled nice, too.






















And there you have it. A bouquet in pictures. I have tons more. Another post. Another time.....