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The Desert Southwest is not colorless. Nor are the colors in the landscape just from different hues of sand and stone. There is a great deal of life, a fascinating variety of plants.
When I moved to Arizona, I carried a bit of the family tradition with me, trying to grow the sorts of flowers, herbs, and vegetables I had grown up around. I acclimatized and discovered that even short absences resulted in returning home to find sun-blasted plants. So, I switched to regional plants in my large container garden.
Thai peppers did well, yielding blazing red little peppers, covering the plants. A chili tepin, really a woody bush, was so different. I worried about the leaves turning almost an almost black purple. A bit of local research showed the plant was healthy. Then there was the wide variety of cacti and succulents, different but similar in their ability to absorb water and subsist for weeks, sometimes months, until the next rain storm.
Here are some examples from around 2004:
The copper colors on the left and right nearest to the viewer are signs of healthy plants. The plant in the lower right corner looks like a living rock. Pretty cool stuff.
Mingled amongst the different sizes, shapes, and colors of cacti and succulents, a variety of regional wild flowers would briefly spring up and blossom once or twice a year. Independent of the desert wildflower bloom, cacti have their own seasonal clock for brief beautiful blooms. Consider a few examples I captured at the Desert Botanical Garden:
I do not know the names of each plant, I just know I like the pretty colors and the widely varying shapes, sizes and textures. On that last note, the textures are to be enjoyed with the eyes. You can look, but you better not touch!
On one occasion, there were some especially colorful and interestingly shaped plants:
Oh, you are not buying it? It certainly fits the environment in which it is situated. Perhaps you already know the creator. Chihuly has done blown glass art installations at the Desert Botanical Garden more than once. These bloom in the desert less frequently but more predictably than the native plants.
What colors and shapes of plants surprise or delight you, where you live, or in places you have visited?