Wildflowers — Spring 2016
Taking a break from the excavations 🙂 Here are some wildflowers I found around the yard this spring.
This first group is Parry’s penstemons (Penstemon parryi). Every spring I see little clumps of these along the road to town, but had never caught them blooming in my yard until this year. Here’s a close-up:
See the orange brush running up the throat of the flower? That bit glows brightly in ultraviolet light. So if you were a bee, that would look like a landing strip.
Next, I have a Desert Hyacinth (Dichelostemma capitatum). They grow all by themselves or in groups of up to three, between the rocks all over the scrub part of the yard.
Doesn’t that name sound nice? Desert hyacinth. That’s the alternate name, though. Which I prefer, because the more common name is Blue Dicks. When I went out to mow down some of the bunch grass that grew so well with the rains last year, it sounded so much better in my mind to say I should “Leave the desert hyacinth growing” rather than to keep reminding myself “Don’t cut off the blue dicks”.
I haven’t been able to identify this flower at all. I’ve looked at hundreds of pictures, and I just don’t see this one in the databases. I’m sure it’s there, but my exemplar is probably some kind of mutant. The closest thing looks like a wild American carrot. Maybe.
Many of the wildflowers bloom for only a few days or maybe a week, and if I’m not out there, I’ve missed them for the whole year. When I do get a picture of them, I look them up and write down their names and file the pictures by month, with a bit of the leaves too, so that next year I know which plants to look for and when, which makes it easier to catch them again. Here are some flowers I’ve shown before, but this time not so close up, and you can see what they look like when you’re just walking by them. So I have some of this year’s Smooth Threadleaf Ragwort (Senecio flaccidus):
And these are the Caliche Globemallow (Sphaeralcea laxa):
It doesn’t look like much from far away (and by “far away” I mean 5 or 6 feet) but they’re really pretty, and visible from quite a distance, since they’re such an unusual color around here.
And lastly, another Fiveneedle Pricklyleaf (Thymophylla pentachaeta), and kinda close-up because I couldn’t resist 🙂
For fun, I’ve been kinda sorta loosely participating in a photography “class”: in the sense that some guy online has a weekly “try this technique & post your most interesting result”. The object of this particular lesson was to manipulate a picture you already have, to emphasize texture & depth. I took one of my (many) pictures of fairy duster flowers, removed the color and sharpened the contrast a bit.
I really like it. It came out like a kind of 3D, time-compressed explosion. Or, y’know, whatever you saw… 😀