Yellopig Is Free

Or, Recreating A Life From Scratch

Archive for the tag “Caliche Globemallow”

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:

Photobucket Photos

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.

Photobucket Photos

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.

Photobucket Photos

I really like it. It came out like a kind of 3D, time-compressed explosion. Or, y’know, whatever you saw… 😀


Wildflower Season 2015 — Part 2

Greetings from the wet and wonderful Sonoran Desert!

I mentioned that I moved to the desert because it was supposed to be dry and sunny most of the time. Clouds make me sad. I like to see that endless blue sky, day after day all spring, and the whole Milky Way at night. This year, though, not so much of that.

OK, it’s mostly sunny, most days. But we’ve been getting a shower about every two weeks — which means there are three days out of every 14 with clouds, and a half hour of light rain. Clouds! And Rain! In May! Yeesh.

As of the end of April (latest figures available), we’re six tenths of an inch above normal, making this the 36th wettest of the last 120 years! Well, yes, we measure rainfall in the hundredths of an inch here, and when the totals are so small (3.48″ average YTD), there obviously can’t be much variability. The wettest of all those years (1905) only had a bit over six inches by the end of April. Woo. Shoot, once when I lived in Florida, it rained 36 inches in a single day! Sure, it was a hurricane that day, but still. I honestly think most of my yard would wash away if it ever did that here.

Read more…

March Wildflowers, Part 3

Wow, I’m really getting behind! But to be honest, April & May haven’t been spectacular, so I’m sticking with the March flowers.

The remaining March wildflower crop are all visible to the naked eye, unlike most of the ones I’ve presented previously.

First up: the Desert Zinnia (Zinnia acerosa)!

20140517-133359.jpg Read more…

Post Navigation