Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

I’m excited not only to share a favorite subject, a bee nose diving into a flower, but my first photo duo using the slider, which I only found thanks to Dan at nofacilites. He’s been giving lessons on using the block editor and as far as the slider goes, once I knew where to look, it was simple to find. Thanks so much, Dan. This particular bee and flowers were at Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona. These cacti and flowers were very small but eye-catching.

for Squares: bright and Life in Colour: pink

“Life, when it was good, was indeed pink. La vie en rose.”
― Lydia Michaels, La Vie en Rose: Life in Pink

for Life in Colour: pink and Squares: bright

Color in April is different in Arizona than in every other place I’ve lived, starting from ground level up. Except for Steamboat Springs where April was mud season, April almost everywhere else starts with a carpet of green grass covered or at least dotted in many places by innumerable wildflowers. Not so in Arizona where in populated areas grass is replaced by a layer of rocks with individual or small groups of plants dotting it, and in the desert, not much of anything with the same individual or groups of plants. There is grass, but it requires large amounts of water, something I find irresponsible when you live in a desert.

Be that as it may, we were blessed in our rental house because we have a great variety of plants. Most of the other rentals I viewed had nothing in the backyard and I mean nothing, nothing but “dirt” and “dirt” here is a cement-like thing called caliche, nothing like in the Midwest where you can easily sink a shovel into the earth almost anywhere. One of the nicknames of caliche is “hardpan” for a reason.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty and color, such as this yellow trumpet bush which just showed up one day in a corner where it appeared nothing was growing, a welcome surprise! We have another much larger bush of these and an enormous one with orange flowers.

Red yucca isn’t really yucca (go figure) but its flowers are beautiful. There are streets with a row of these along the side which makes for very attractive landscaping.

As far as I can ascertain, this is Britton’s wild petunia, one of the flowers the bees love but one that can be invasive.

You can’t have a colorful April in Arizona without the spectacular flowers and fruits found on the cacti that are everywhere. There may be thorns on many plants but there’s also luxurious beauty and sometimes food, as in the case of the fruit of the prickly pear cactus you see here. These will open up.

Finally, there are these short-blooming, one day, flowers found on the trumpet cactus. Our cactus is small, but welcomed us with three rounds of gorgeous flowers when we moved here just over a year ago and has already has two flowers this year.

Now that we’ve seen some of the April color in our backyard, have a seat on the patio and just relax for a bit. I’m always happy when you stop by and I have some delicious jasmine green tea if you’re so inclined or some iced English breakfast.

We’ve been walking at the Desert Botanical Gardens, but let’s take a moment to look in our own garden. A year ago, the flowers of the torch cactus welcomed us to Arizona with three different rounds of flowers. Now it’s blooming again. My parents have an enormous one with huge flowers. Ours is small, but also beautiful. Torch cactus come in a variety of colors, which you can see if you click here.

The one on the right will likely be full-blown tomorrow morning. It makes every day an adventure. Until they bloom, the flowers have a rather sci-fi look.

Bees love flowers and this bee was having a good time. But when I tried to get close for a better shot, it would go just inside, then zoom away. This was the best I could do. You can see him at the bottom right, looking a little fuzzy, but then bees are. Just FYI, his antennae aren’t curly, those are dark lines in the flower. It would look pretty cool, though, if they were.

also for Cee’s Flower of the Day

This is what spring green looks like in Arizona, specifically at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. Probably not what spring looks like where you live.

for Life in Colour: green

For my birthday, we visited the Phoenix Botanical Gardens, a marvelous slice of desert life, past and present. The last time I visited was in 2014 when Dale Chihuly set up a marvelous installation. My sister-in-law and I arrived in the late afternoon, walked all the paths, then revisit after dark when everything was illuminated. It was magical! (And I did blog about it if you want to search.)

This day was just an “ordinary” day if there is such a thing there: a scheduled appointment, masks, and a somewhat limited crowd (although there were more than enough visitors for me.) When you arrive this is the first thing you see, the only leftover from the Chihuly exhibit.

Before setting out, let’s take a look at some of the inhabitants. Pollinators are some of my favorites.

Camouflage is even more of an asset when there are less places to hide.

There weren’t any butterflies around but I look forward to seeing some during our next visit.

I’m always happy to see bees.

Hopefully I’ve whet your appetite to see more of the visit. But for now, happy Monday.

for Jo’s Monday Walk

for One Word Sunday: opposites

Last month’s color was yellow, this month’s is green. This plant I found while walking along the canal recently makes the transition from last month to this. I’m not sure if the spines are actually hard. I didn’t touch them but it certainly makes the plant/weed fit in in Arizona! This might not be the sort of green you want to wear for St. Patrick’s Day, though! 🙂

for Life in Colour: green

This week Tina has set us a daunting task: to share special moments with the Lens-Artists community. Just the thought of trying to choose only five or six special moments out of all the years of photos almost made me give up in despair. Instead, I decided instead to limit my special moments to moments since moving to Arizona just under a year ago…and believe me, that’s hard enough!

Not long after we arrived at our new rental house, the torch cactus in the backyard bloomed with beautiful flowers that have a fleeting life of only about one day. I was stunned by their beauty and thrilled that they bloomed a number of times in the ensuing weeks. What a welcome to the desert! But like much of the desert, be careful how close you get! Beauty and danger have a habit of co-existing here.

On several visits to the Riparian Preserve, I’d spoken with a birder from, judging by his accent, either Boston or that part of the world, about the harrier hawk (he pronounced it “hairyah”) that he was an expert on. This day I followed him down a back path where he not only pointed out the hawk but told me about where he thought her nest was, her usual flight patterns, and so on. Here’s one of my shots of that special moment.

copyright janet m. webb

This pollen-covered bee ecstatically dancing in a poisonous datura flower was definitely a moment that brought joy to my heart.

copyright janet m. webb

Me finally catching a cormorant catching a fish was pretty exciting as was catching him drop it and an egret snatching it away a few minutes later.

copyright janet m. webb

There’ve been so many more special moments since we’ve moved: in Sedona and Saguaro National Park, seeing a vermillion flycatcher at Tuscon’s Sweetwater Wetlands and seeing alpine growth at the top of Mt. Lemmon. The most special moments though don’t have any photos…being here to spend time with and help out my aging parents and, weirdest of all the special moment, the three of us getting our second Covid vaccinations as well and my husband getting his first. What a year when getting shots is probably the highlight!

This last shot may not seem special but it’s of the only squirrel I’ve seen in this area since we moved here. Small joys.

Patti’s set us a challenge today, that of sharing photos the convey emotion. I don’t take lots of photos of people, but humans aren’t the only ones who express emotions. What emotions do you see?

Can’t resist a reprise of my W.C. Fields cactus. 🙂

© janet m. webb
© janet m. webb