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 […]

Baja Fairyduster

One of the many plants erupting in color at Tohono Chul Park in northwest Tucson, Arizona (www.tohonochulpark.org)  is the Baja Fairy Duster (Calliandra californica). It is a soil and drought tolerant shrub which grows to five feet and blooms year-round, though more heavily in the Spring. It can take full sun, but is also hearty down to twenty degrees. As […]

Happy Feather Tree

My Feather Tree (Chilean Mesquite Tree) is in bloom. I’m happy. I have pampered three of these extremely slow-growing thorn-less mesquite hybrids from seed for about six years now and this one is only about two feet tall. They are a deciduous plant, so every winter they drop their leaves. Hearty to ten to fifteen degrees fahrenheit, they are usually […]

Aeonium decorum

On a “macroing” excursion I saw this gorgeous Sunburst Aeonium (Aeonium decorum) in the nursery at Tohono Chul Park (www.tohonochulpark.org) and was taken by the visual rhythm of this plant. I’m not a fan of baby  pink, but accenting the sage green and soft yellow, it is stunning. Aeoniums are members of Crassulaceae, in the succulent family. Most are native to […]

Signs of Spring

Today I was gifted an adorable miniature cactus with these beautiful orange flowers. Though my macro lens makes them appear fairly monumental, they are diminutive blossoms smaller across than the size of a dime. They made this cold and rainy day a bit brighter. Thank you, my friend.   Image copyright Martha Lochert http://www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

Spring Chores of a Honey Bee

Spring will soon be upon us and already the cycle of life has begun again. The pollinators are extremely important in that cycle. Almond crops depend entirely on the honey bee for pollination at bloom time, while blueberries and cherries, are 90-percent dependent on honey bee pollination, according to the American Beekeeping Federation. http://www.abfnet.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=14 This bee has been […]

Silverpuffs

Silverpuffs (Urapappus lindleyi) are in the sunflower family and grow in open areas below 6,000 feet in much of the western United States. They bloom from March – June. I found these growing in my front yard and photographed them with a 60mm macro lens at ISO 100 for 1/800 second at f/4, which gave a nice […]

Pink Cereus Flower

Generally I’m not a fan of the color pink, but this beauty caught my eye when it bloomed in the front yard of one of my neighbors. As it turned out, this was just the first of several dozen blooms which erupted in wash of fuscia over her collection of cactus. These are night-blooming Cereus, which are […]

Fiddlenecks

Rancher’s Fireweed / Devil’s Lettuce (Amsinckia menziesii) of the Borage family glistens in the back-lit sun on Cactus Forest Trail in Tucson, Arizona. It’s flowering season is March through May in mostly weedy or grassy places below 5,000 feet in the western United States and northwestern Mexico. The fiddleneck flower cluster uncoils, leaving the new blossoms accessible to the […]

Douglas Spring Trail

The desert southwest is sometimes touted as a dry, sparse and harsh environment, but no one could argue that point at this time of year; the terrain is erupting in color. Earlier in the week we hiked the Douglas Spring Trail which starts at the far east end of Speedway in Tucson, Arizona. We embarked […]

Cactus Forest Trail

Thanks to a very wet winter, wildflowers are giving Tucson a great show right now. Yellow and orange African Daisies and Poppies fill yards where the homeowners have planted wildflower seeds, and in the outlying desert areas to the north and west yellow Brittlebush is abundant, but at the base of the Rincon Mountains on the east side of town, the dominant […]

Honey Bees of Spring

It’s officially Spring and the honey bees are already busy pollinating the flowers and collecting their treasure to take back to the hive. This little guy has been busy visiting the blue lupines, as you can see by the orange pollen sacks on the tibia of his back legs. By the time he finishes with his work those […]