Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's Yellow in the Desert

I'd been to Tucson in the 1980's, staying for a weekend at Canyon Ranch with TBG.  We exercised and spa'ed and ate ourselves silly.  We bicycled on paved road to Loew's Ventana Canyon resort, where we drank fruity slushies - which now we'd call smoothies - before we trekked back on the pavement to our other manicured home away from home.  If we were in the desert, we certainly didn't know it.

When we flew to Phoenix 6 years ago this week, we were definitely in the desert.  The ride to our hotel took us past perfectly landscaped highways, meticulously maintained and sparsely planted with the weirdest looking cacti I'd ever seen.  Who knew that cacti bloomed?  Not I. Who knew that those flowers were red and yellow and white and coral and peach and burgundy?  Definitely not I.

Today, I live in the desert and have grown to appreciate the yellow season.  Only in Tucson would folks roll down their car windows when the temperatures were in the mid-90's.  Those of us afflicted with allergies arrive at our destinations bleary eyed and congested, filled with pollen and beauty.

These are night-blooming cereus, a yellow variety of trichocereus.  They open at night and surprise me on my way to yoga at 8 in the morning.

They close up and die as the sun rises. 
There are more buds all around it; I have many more mornings of delight to come.

The golden barrel cactus, echinocactus, is also getting ready to bloom.
This one came from Acacia Nursery, where Roby puts his Masters in Landscape Architecture to good use.  He's created a museum in the desert, where the exhibits are all for sale.  Elizibeth and I strolled the grounds and pointed; Roby pulled them out of the ground and onto the garden cart.
I have no doubt that my cacti are locally sourced.

The flowers are kind of inconsequential,
but they make a nice counterpoint to the dusting of palo verde and acacia and mesquite blossoms
covering the rocky ground cover. 
I thought someone had left a yellow towel on the driveway.  It was pollen.
The pieces which have not been inhaled have landed in my yard, in my garden, on the paths.
It's much prettier on the tree itself.
That's the front yard at midday. 
It is extremely yellow.
Although my favorite part is the shadow.
With 350 days of sunshine each year, a little bit of shade is always welcome.

There aren't any tulips or daffodils announcing Spring.
Somehow, that matters less to me as time goes by.


  1. I thought it interesting you talking about allergies. I was always under the impression that people moved to Arizona for allergy relief. Was surprised by all of the pollen on the ground. It's like that here in DC. And because we had such a mild winter, it's been really bad this year. I constantly have a sinus headache due to the pollen. Even taking allergy medicine isn't helping. :(

    BUT.... I love all the color. So it's the price I pay for living in this area. I wouldn't change a thing though.

    Thanks for sharing the beauty of Arizona with us. :)

    Megan xxx

  2. I really do appreciate the beauty of desert plants. They are so architectural, and the blooms are amazing.

  3. I have not seen a yellow trichocereus. The ones in the park are white, pink, red and magenta. So, yellow is new for me. I just love those cacti, they're just lovely. Too bad they don't last longer.

  4. Allison, Acacia Nursery has lots of yellow ones, and one he thought might be mauve. I, too, have seen the white and the red before.

    Glad to share our desert beauty, Linda and Megan<3


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