sand verbena

Early Spring California Desert Wildflowers

I recently had the good fortune to visit the Mojave desert just after the area received a few days of much-needed springtime rain. The rain was followed by warm, springtime temperatures and sun, and you know what that means… FLOWERS!

Ocotillo flowers Joshua Tree

Ocotillo in Bloom

They look like a cactus, but aren’t. When we were here in June (the height of summer), they looked like little more than dry, thorny whips standing on end in the hot desert landscape. This time, because of the rain, they had come to life, with new green leaves and big clusters of bright red,

Joshua Tree

Greetings from the Mojave Desert!

Last June, Davin and I drove 1000 miles through the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. One of the highlights of that trip was a few days in the Joshua Tree area. We found ourselves captivated by the otherworldly landscape and vowed that one day we would go back in the winter or springtime and spend more

Joshua Tree

Mormon Tea (Ephedra)

Mention of our mid-June desert road trip on Instagram this morning has compelled me to share a little nugget of knowledge that I gleaned on the trip. The plant in this photo is Ephedra (I don’t know which species as there are several), commonly known as Mormon tea. Those of you who are not from

Old Motel Saguaro

Saguaro Cactus Trees

They were so much more than I imagined they would be. Bigger. More imposing. Majestic. Awesome.

Joshua Tree

Yucca Valley Yard Sale

Day three of our desert road trip, we decided to “take it easy” with a short jaunt to the Yucca Valley and up hill to Pioneertown, which is at a higher elevation and promised to deliver slightly cooler temperatures. I did not like the drive up into the mountains and so it was difficult at

Apricot Mallow

Apricot Mallow: Tiny and Tough as Nails

I saw a lot of amazing plants on the desert trip, some with fascinating stories and critical ethnobotanic ties to the region. Yet, with so many to choose from and so many photographs far better than these, even I find it a little bit odd that I chose to begin with one so tiny and

multiplier onion tohono oodham iitoi

Sonoran Desert Multiplier Onion: Tohono O’odham I’Itoi

I have long sung the praises of the perpetual aka perennial onion. Allow a few to multiply each year and you will have them forever. I started growing one such type, ‘Egyptian Walking’ onion (Allium proliferum) aka tree onion in my community garden plot well over a decade ago. The exact date is a lost

Desert Road Trip Map

Ten Days in the Desert

We arrived home last night from what I can only describe as an epic desert road trip. I had planned to start doing posts on specific places and plants today, but decided that one more overall post is in order. I saw, learned, and experienced so much in those ten days… my head is absolutely

cholla garden Joshua Tree National Park

Teddy Bear Cholla in Joshua Tree Park

We are still on our desert road trip. Yesterday we drove through Joshua Tree National Park, down a road that took us through a box canyon with some crazy terrain, and then down along the east coast of the Salton Sea. I was surprised to see a lot of agriculture out there in the middle

agave queen victoria

Dispatches from Two Deserts

We arrived in Phoenix, Arizona on the hottest day of the year. We got a car at the airport and hightailed it to the Desert Botanical Garden where a day that started out unbearably hot got worse. And worse. Few people were in the garden that day, except us, the crazy Canadians.

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