Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Desert Botanical Garden: Au Naturel

In the midst of all the Chihuly exhibits, there still abounds the wonders of nature that are the heart of the Desert Botanical Garden. Here sits a Curve-Bill Thrasher atop a cactus, relatively safe from most predators.

A crowd of small cacti gather as if to listen to an inspirational address.

And do not forget the cactus flowers that bring much needed color to the otherwise drab desert landscape.

Here a lizard warms in the sun, waiting for the next insect meal to present itself. It is curious to me that the lizard's belly is so brightly colored while its back blends right in with the rock.

More cactus flowers — but those long needles say "Look but do not touch".

And I love barrel cactus with its multiple patterns of ribs and spines.

Well, hello Mr. Quail. I hope you enjoy the garden as much as we do.

Some cactus flowers are beautiful beyond words. I am glad the camera can do such a good job of capturing it.

The ubiquitous Prickly Pear cactus provides such an interesting contrast in styles with its flattened body, long spines plus flower buds that open into gorgeous yellow, orange, red or rose flowers (depending on variety).

One of the docents alerted me to a bird's nest with baby birds. Well, actually the baby (further from the camera) has nearly grown up and will probably soon leave the nest. Meanwhile Mom (Mourning Dove, I believe) scans for any danger to her offspring. Apparently, she did not perceive me as a serious threat although she did keep her eye on me.

Another spectacular burst of cactus flowers — love it!

Last but not least, is this cactus with bright pink tipped flowers with body of white accented by a golden glow at the base. Mother Nature can hold her own even against a great artist like Dale Chihuly.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com