by Lorayne Verwoerd email@example.com
In early May, my husband Len and I returned from our winter stay in the sunny southland. It?s the time I look forward to each year when I plan my flower beds and decide which of the colorful annuals I?ll plant. I look forward each May and June to seeing the dazzling display of Petunias and Geraniums and hanging baskets etc. as they are displayed like a great rainbow colored ocean in spacious greenhouses. It begins about Mother?s Day and it?s difficult not to get carried away and buy everything in sight. I try to shop for posies with a plan and a budget.
As we visited the desert this year, we were blessed to see it in bloom. It was the first time that we?d seen this beautiful phenomena. We are not botanists and can?t name many of the species we saw, but many of the lovely plants and flowers we saw there, we would enjoy having in our own garden here in Kelowna, BC.
Starting back in January, we were treated to a gorgeous display of desert verbena growing in many areas of Palm Springs. This beautiful vine-like plant is a glow-in-the-dark purple that spreads into all areas of the desert from the Salton Sea to the west end of Palm Springs. It grows and thrives in vacant lots in town and in sand dunes on the outskirts. It comes into its own after spring rain. Because of El Nino and more rain than usual, the desert started blooming earlier than normal.
When we were visiting the Picacho Peak area of Arizona, 40 miles N.W. of Tuscon, we were in awe of the wildflowers. The mountain was awash with bright orange California Poppies and indigo alpine Lupines. The state park charged $2.00 to park and walk the trails to view the flowers.
Many regions of Arizona?s desert, to the low and high deserts of California, have spring flowers native to each area. The rains this year caused a more prolific blooming, and we felt privileged to see it all. In Desert Hot Springs and Sky Valley, the early morning sun or afternoon sunset made the brittlebush glow with its greenish-grey leaves and yellow daisy-like flowers. We enjoyed the fragrance of the honey-locust tree with its long yellow staminate flowers and again in the yellow scheme of things, the wild sunflower bush growing in the washes and by the road.
As we departed Indio in mid April, the breathtaking pink and white Oleander, a domestic flowering shrub was coming on board, only to join my favorite desert plant, the fluorescent orange and magenta Bougainvillea. The various species of cactus and ocotillo were pushing forth bud and blossom.
Waving good-bye to the windmills in Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs, we stopped to make a memory of the blanket of golden brittlebush dotted with sage and tumbleweed. We will forever reflect on the purple haze, complimenting taupe shadows of the desert hills. Descending the mountain on Hwy. 58 into Bakersfield, we noticed the cobalt Bluebonnets making a subtle statement on the roadside and closer into the city the gorgeous ice plant were beginning their summer profusion.
This year I stopped to truly enjoy the desert and what it had to offer. From palms to pines, from poppies to portulacas, no artist could have asked for a more beautiful palette.