Friday, March 26, 2010
Spring Has Sprung in the Sonoran Desert
People who say that the Sonoran Desert landscape is blah and uninteresting have never seen a Sonoran spring. In years of good winter rains, the desert will literally be covered with blankets, comforters and crazy quilts of riotous shapes and colors. One recent spring north of Phoenix, it was my privilege to see a carpet of Mariposa lilies. (My photograph of one is to the left.)
I love the natural world. It is my church. I also love to photograph it, so when the winter rains fall, I begin to dream of spring. I keep an eye on websites like the Desert Botanical Garden, which has a section devoted solely to wildflower sightings.
I am no master when identifying wildflowers. Sure I do know quite a few, and I can make educated guesses now and then to help me turn to the right page in my reference books, but each spring, I do need my reference books. One of them is Meg Quinn's Wildflowers of the Desert Southwest.
Going out and about in search of wildflowers is fun, educational, a wonderful stress reducer, and... did I say fun? If this is something you haven't done before but would like to give a try, Google for wildflowers like I did. "Arizona wildflowers 2010" brought up some excellent hits, and if you substitute your area for "Arizona" you'll undoubtedly have good luck as well. Same thing with looking for wildflower reference guides, if you want to know what you've found. The best tip I can give you is to make sure you get your hands on a book in which the flowers are grouped by color. Most of us aren't botanists, and technical names, quite frankly, mean squat to the beginner.
My favorite places to look for wildflowers are out on unpaved trails, but many times you can see spectacular displays along the sides of major highways. If I want to pay a small fee, two of my favorite places to take my camera are the Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix, and the Boyce Thompson Arboretum just outside of Superior, Arizona. Tonight as I was checking on wildflowers, I came across a short You Tube video showing what Boyce Thompson looks like right now. Meg Quinn, the author of Wildflowers of the Desert Southwest, speaks in the video. You also get to see some gems, like an adult hummingbird feeding its young in the nest. I hope you'll take a look at the video, and-- more than anything else-- I hope you make the time to get out and really see and enjoy spring in your area. It only comes once a year, and it's quite wonderful.
My Book Rating Scale:
A+...Don't delay, get your hands on a copy of this book!
A...I loved it!
B...I really liked it.
C...I liked it, with a few reservations.
D...I finished it, but it's not my cup of tea.
- Phoenix, Arizona, United States
- Hi! I'm addicted to books (especially crime fiction), laughter and traveling off the beaten path. In my free time, when my eyes aren't glued to the printed page, one of them is usually pressed against the viewfinder of my camera. Let's see... books, laughter, travel, photography. Anything else? Oh yeah-- my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.