Thursday, October 30, 2014

Joshua Trees Against Blue Sky

Joshua Trees against blue sky are rugged beauty. They offer tranquil shade in the harsh climate of the Southern California high desert. Here the dry desert air is stifling in summer. However this time of year, the warm dry air is peaceful yet it's powerful enough to remove loads from shoulders. Sitting in the quiet is a welcome relief from the steady noisy hustle of city life. Listening to the silence out in the desert is a fabulous stress reliever. The Joshua trees thrive here, like characters out of a Dr. Seuss book, they stand in frozen poses. 
This is the view from Dad's back porch. Who can blame my parents for moving from the city to this picturesque desert?
This territory has been made famous by Joshua Tree National Park which attracts visitors interested in rock climbing, hiking, and camping. It is home to my father, a Nebraska farm boy turned high school teacher/football coach. Sadly, my mother passed away several years ago but she enjoyed many years of leisure in their desert sanctuary, creating quilts and growing roses despite the harsh climate. I recently visited my father and took some photos of their property and the interesting plants to share with you.
Joshua tree, Yucca brevifolia
This beauty is in my parents' front yard. Joshua trees do not have growth rings like other trees so their age is estimated by their height. They are said to grow roughly 1/2 inch per year, and this one is probably 25 ft tall so it's around 50 years old.

They grow from a seed but perfectly timed rains are required for germination and many years can go by without the right conditions, so they grow sparsely.
This is a Joshua tree forrest.
Joshua trees have tough spiky leaves which are as sharp as they appear.
Their leaves were used by Native Americans for weaving baskets and making sandals. If the conditions are just right, blossoms will appear. They are white and grouped in clusters. The dried flowers are seen at the top of this plant.
Because of their unique climate requirements, there are few places where Joshua trees are seen. They grow in Western Arizona's Sonora Desert, and in Southern California in the Mojave Desert and the San Bernardino Mountains.

Here are some of the other interesting plants in my parents' "yard".
Desert bird of paradise with her false eyelashes.
"Touch me, I dare you!"
Dainty wildflower
Tiny wildflowers reminiscent of marigolds
Notice the red rose growing next to the Joshua tree? That is my mother. She's with me as I take these pictures, in my heart as always. She was many many things, in fact she was everything to me, and she was a lover of roses. She planted them, nurtured them and cut them as soon as they bloomed. They were spread throughout the house and brought her such joy. We used to laugh that no rose was left alone outside in her garden. Look at these beautiful roses blooming in late October.
What a treat it was to time my visit when the roses were blooming. It was a wonderful weekend spent with my dear dad as he prepared for his trip.

Dad is taking off to hunt ducks and catch fish, leaving the Joshua trees behind. He does get some strange looks driving down the road with the boat on top of the truck. 
Happy travels, Dad!

1 comment:

  1. Love this green and touching blog because my soul is so close to nature and its amazing to see what you did here! keep up with the excellent work darling and take care.