Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Desert Botanical Garden, Part 1

After I left the Japanese Tea Garden, I drove over to Papago Park to visit the Desert Botanical Garden — one of my favorite places to tour and photograph. Since it was my birthday, I was entitled to enjoy myself and the desert plants should be blossoming. They were — but not those pictured here. Longtime subscribers to LAHP will recognize the Chihuly glass sculpture, Desert Towers.

For newer readers, this piece was specifically designed for the garden when Dale Chihuly had his first exhibition at the Desert Botanical Garden back in 2009. If you are interested in seeing more click here for the index page for 2009 then look for the issues dated June 1 through July 6.

Saguaro cacti are everywhere in Phoenix and all of them were in bloom. It amazes me how Mother Nature places flowers wherever they can go — even on the spiny tops of cactus. Bats, birds, and insects have a field day during the short blooming season. Once the flowering is done, ruby red fruit form then eventually fall from the cactus.

From Wikipedia, "The O'odham tribes have a long history of saguaro fruit use. The Tohono O’odham tribes celebrate the beginning of their summer growing season with a ceremony using a fermented drink made from the bright red fruit to summon rains, vital for the crops."

This shot captures a flowering Palo Verde tree, native to the Sonoran Desert. The name is Spanish and means "green pole or stick" referring to the green bark. This time of year, the tree offers a profusion of flowers. Some people hate them because once the flowers are pollinated, they fall and spread everywhere — included being tracked into your home. Their seed pods come next with the second round of cursing directed at this beautiful tree.

And the red prickly pear cactus are in bloom. Nice juxtaposition for the beautiful, colorful flowers against the spiny exterior of the plant itself.

Another blossom, this one on a regular prickly pear cactus. The desert can be surprisingly beautiful.

And again.

The photo shows blossoms maturing on a spiny cactus. Look but don't touch.

A few days later, the bud in the previous photo will look like this one.

Next up is a fishhook barrel cactus with the fruit forming after pollination. Please watch out for those long, curved spines.

More prickly pear flowers.

Last for today are flowers on a red teddy bear cholla cactus. Way cool.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

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