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.