Beautiful Flowers are Sometimes Toxic

    A night-blooming Sacred Datura¬†(Datura wrightii) trumpet flower starting to uncurl is a beautiful thing, but the plant is also a toxic hallucinogen. It’s in the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant, but unlike those, is not edible. Sphinx and Hawk moths are common pollinators of the plant. To learn more about […]

Grasshopper – Chilling instead of Hopping

Well, I’ve been busy and ignored my blog for awhile … three months. My last post was in honor of the first day of spring. I guess now that it’s summer, it’s about time I post something! It’s been incredibly hot here the last few weeks – with afternoon high temperatures hitting 116! At least […]

Valentine’s Day – A Day of Love

It’s Valentine’s Day, but this¬†day is not just for sweethearts. It is a celebration of love –¬†for¬†all who have a heart to give and receive love. May you share your love and accept love back on this and all days. http://www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com Image copyrighted. Use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.

Even the Hummers Need to Stop and Rest

I walked out on my porch and this beautiful little hummingbird was taking a rest. I thought he was hurt, since his wings were out. Usually the hummers fold their wings in close to their bodies when they stop flying. He patiently awaited¬†while I went in to get my camera, then¬†crouch down and move within […]

Liken It To a Lichen

Just what is lichen? It’s¬†the symbiotic union¬†of algae and fungus, with fungus being the dominant partner. Its combined form is different from either the fungus or algae. Some varieties cling to rock surfaces and grow in a carpet-like state, while others branch out from the surface of damp wood in a more three-dimensional form. It […]

Out with the Old and In with the New

  Bees and other insects like cicadas have their skeletons on the outside of their bodies (exoskeleton). So when they are ready to grow, they¬†molt. The process begins with them taking on air, water or raising their blood pressure. http://www.insectidentification.org/process-of-molting.asp Once the shell is detached from the muscles and internal organs, the insect can climb […]

Little Gems in the Woods

One of my favorite places is Muir Woods in northern California. Walking through the giant Redwood forest is grounding; Mother Nature is in charge. The beauty of this forest is its richness in both the large and the small inhabitants. That old figurative expression¬†can be applied quite literally here; it is easy to actually “miss […]

Mountain Harebell

Summer wildflowers abound in Colorado. Some of the flowers are the same as we see in southern Arizona, but ours burn¬†out by the beginning of May, since we are so much hotter, while the ones in Colorado are at their best in summer and into the fall. This is a Campanula routundiforia¬†(Mountain Harebell). It grows […]

Grow Some Spearmint; Make A Mojito

This is the spearmint plant I have growing in a pot on my porch. The slightest movement of the leaves creates a wonderful aroma. I started growing it mostly as an experiment¬†after seeing¬†it for sale at my local nursery. I’ve always liked the smell of spearmint, but wasn’t sure what I would do with it. […]

This From The LEAST Risky Skin Cancer …

Wear your sunblock, kids … This is not the first time I have been cut into, and I’m sure it will not be that last, given that I am of Irish descent, but have lived my entire life in Arizona, where the duration of sunshine¬†(in the Sonoran Desert in which Tucson sits) is second only […]

Only a “Face” a Mother Could Love

    I was watering my plants and found this on a kumquat leaf a few weeks ago. At first glance I thought it was a bird dropping.¬†I am not certain, but I¬†think it was a Common Mormon (Papilio polytes) Swallowtail butterfly in the making. If so, his ugly appearance as a caterpillar changed dramatically […]

Happy in the Heat

Dianthus barbatus, or “Sweet William” is part of a genus of 300 species, which includes¬†carnations. Sweet Williams are short-lived perennials which were first noted in the English botanist John Gerald’s garden catalog in 1596, but Dianthus are native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. I like growing Dianthus because they are pretty hardy through […]

Globe Mallow

Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea)¬†is a perennial desert wildflower that¬†grows from one to three feet high in dry, rocky and sandy soils up to 3500 ft. in elevation and blooms throughout the spring, summer and fall. http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=SPAM2 It produces a steady supply of pollen to honey bees and other insects, but according to the United States Forest […]

Like A Glass Bead Necklace

Another spider web photo for my friend Mary Ann taken at the Cactus Forest Trail by the Rincon Mountains in Saguaro National Park, which we accessed from the east end of Broadway. http://www.nps.gov/sagu/index.htm This one looks like a necklace or the lace overlay on a Victorian dress. It’s amazing that such delicate strands can support […]

Design Perfection

I followed¬†my own advise from the¬†previous blog post to get out and photograph the rain drops that were in abundance after our three days of rain. What I had not expected was a¬†foggy morning, but more on that in an upcoming¬†post. As I had mentioned¬†in my previous post, with macro photography and the close proximity […]