Wild Arches

Alas, August is the cruelest month for a California garden blogger, especially when she's away from her garden. Yes, we try to keep things interesting with posts about our travels, and reminiscing about visiting gardens, but comments are hard to come by...Of course, who wants to sit at their computer in the evening and comment on other people's blog anyway. It's the time to be outside.

But if you're interested in one more set of travel photos, here are a few flowers and critters my friend and I observed in Arches National Monument.

Above, a picture of, I think, Spaeralcea Munroana (Munro's globe mallow), which is found throughout the dry areas of the southwest. Country Mouse planted one in a container last year, and it harmonized beautifully with the terracotta of the container.

But other plants were like nothing I'd ever seen before. Tall, beautiful yellow candles reaching up out of the desert floor.

I couldn't stop taking photos.

All that color in the midst of sand or stone was beautiful to behold. Here a purple beauty, nothing but a few greyish green leaves and lots of small flowers.

It made me realize the gradations of "dry". Yes, we live in a dry climate on the San Francisco peninsula, but arches is quite a bit more dry (and yet not as dry as other areas, where only sand dunes remain).

The visitor center had information on how the plants protect themselves. The junipers, above, have lots of stem, and no so much exposed green surface. Many flowers bloom for a short time only, and then grow dormant or grow back from seed. Many critters seek shade during the day and come out only in the cool morning hours. This fellow here was digging a hole right along the path in the Devil's Garden area of the park, much to the delight of the many early morning hikers (especially the kids).

It was quite a large lizard, and the spotted pattern was beautiful and made our little friend blend very well with the stony desert floor.

Just as daring was this raven (or crow?), who did not seem to mind at all that my friend was taking a photo.

A beautiful bird, and quite interested in the goings on during the early hours.

Of course, he was probably disappointed we had no handout for him, no little bag of peanuts or maybe a piece of bagel with cream cheese. But we hadn't had much to eat ourselves, and had a long road ahead, so we said good-bye, carrying with us the images of life in the desert, precious and beautiful.


Carol said…
Lovely desert blooms and critters. I love the photo of your friend taking a photo of the crow. ;>)
Diana Studer said…
Your lizard even has spots to match that globe mallow up top ;>) Tx to Carol for her smiley
Barbara E said…
Looks like fun. I think the yellow "candle stick" flowers are Stanleya pinnata. Thanks for the pictures.
Tatyana said…
i love the picture of the juniper with tree' shadow!
Christine said…
We're still here- just in the doldrums of summer... That lizard has such a saucy look on his face! And the globe mallow is lovely- thinking of where I can fit one in...
Brad said…
It's the time for us all to travel indeed. As for dry, I always think of the Bay Area as lush since I grew up in Southern California and finished high school in Phoenix. But I remember a friend of mine from Wisconsin saying how dry the Bay Area was when she moved here. It's all perspective I guess.
Country Mouse said…
Talk about contrast - We just got back from Minnesota. It was 90 degrees and humid in Minneapolis when we left. I tried posting a comment from my Blackberry Storm - Iphone wannabe - but it just didn't go. The lizard is great! No lizards in Min. I would really miss them. We were with family in rural central Min. and there were quite a lot of wildflowers bordering the fields and lakes - mostly yellow, it seemed. I love your yellow flower pic framed by that old Juniper trunk. I'll be sorting through my pics in the next day or two. Yes, travel does broaden the mind indeed. It's good to compare and contrast - and enjoy it all.