Yellopig Is Free

Or, Recreating A Life From Scratch

Last Look Back at Summer Flowers

The time between the solstice (or if you prefer, Christmas) and New Year’s Day has always been a dead time for me. The world holds its breath, waiting for the day when there is no doubt at all that the sun will return to us. Of course it will return, as it always has. But when you’re watching for it, and waiting for it, you can sometimes almost feel that little doubt, can’t you? And that little doubt is the reason why important celebrations take place at this time of year.

Oops, I forgot: I’m a mathematician, an engineer. The relentless physics of our little corner of the universe absolutely requires that the amount of daylight shall increase now, and so it does. Yay, Newtonian dynamics! Yay, gravity!

But on a chilly, gray day in late December, I can sometimes forget all that and look through the milky sky to the washed-out sun and say

“I will never, ever complain again about 115° in the shade, but PLEASE come back!”

I hate being cold.

For a diversion, here are some flowers I found in the yard, in August.


Ah, see that clear liquid sunshine bathing everything like…

Oh, sorry, but I just can’t wait!

These are Phemeranthus aurantiacus – orange flameflower. For once, my exemplars look exactly like the reference pictures, hehehe.

Enjoy more of them:



These plants are very small, maybe 4″ tall, and they live in the sheltered spaces among the rocks and prickly pears.

Here’s another denizen of the cracks and crevices of the desert:


This is a fishhook pincushion cactus (Mammilaria grahamii). They’re very small (this one is 2″ across), and as ubiquitous as the prickly pears, but much less noticeable.

Here I have a wonderful plant that I love, but I have no idea what it is:


Look again, and if you know what it is, tell me.

It’s a small, deciduous bush. The leaves are shaped like maybe grape; they’re glossy, the twigs are red-colored. The bush is about 2′ tall, but that’s not very informative, since it may be just indicative of the local environment. It’s possible that with more water, this could be a tree, but in my yard, it’s a small bush with an loose, open structure. In winter, now, the leaves are gone, but the twigs are still definitely red. I haven’t caught it making fruits or flowers, but that may be because I wasn’t watching very closely. I’ll do better next year.

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8 thoughts on “Last Look Back at Summer Flowers

  1. solarbeez on said:

    I grew up in Phoenix. Whenever we could, we would drive out to the desert a few days after a rainfall. It was hard to believe, but there was a carpet of grass everywhere. It only lasted a few days but was sooo beautiful. I’m guessing you must have gotten some moisture for those flowers to show.
    I prefer “solstice,” but don’t get me started on why. 🙂

    • LOL, you’re getting ahead of me. I just took some pictures of the current ground crop the local gardeners call the “green haze”. So weird that it pops up for a few days and then disappears. 🙂

  2. solarbeez on said:

    Could the bush be a manzanita?

    • I’ve been wishing somebody would point out the manzanitas to me. I hear about them all the time, but never knowingly saw one.
      But it looks like (from the picture) that the manzanita has ovate or elliptical leaves with smooth edges, while this plant has more cordate, serrated leaves.
      Maybe a variety of manzanita?

  3. Beautiful pics…. my husband is from Sagebrush desert, southern Idaho. I will take my New England landscape anytime. When I go to visit in-laws, its psychosomatic, but I am dying of thirst!!!!

    I prefer Solstice or Yule… and feel free to get me started ;p

    • Thanks!
      I’m originally from Ohio. And I miss the leafy greenness of summers there, and the deep forests, but I just can’t take those winters! I tease my friends back east by making sure I notify them when the humidity here drops to the single digits, while they’re sweltering in 95%!
      And yes, I’ll go with Solstice / Yule 🙂

  4. Chickweed? Does it ever have tiny white flowers?

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