Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some photos from our trip to Southwest US

This photo is about the vivid orange I see on some of the desert plants.  It seems to be some kind of vine that is growing on the actual plant.  I find that a good portion of my photos from our trip to the Southwest US in Feb. - March, are of plants, of course. 
Some of the grasses that manage to grow in the white sands desert, in New Mexico.
There is a surprising amount of plant life in these harsh conditions.  This is at Death Valley, California.
More Death Valley.  You can see the reflection in this photo.  They had quite a bit of rain, just prior to our arrival here, and so you are seeing quite a large expanse of water that has not drained away.  I have much to learn about this area.  The night before we drove through Death Valley, we camped near Shoshone just at the edge of Death Valley.  At night, there was a chorus of frogs... I could not believe it!  I made a video of them.  I have the audio but no photos of the frogs... I could not see them.  As it was getting dark I did not attempt to look for them.  There are all sorts of 'harsh'  and maybe poisonous creatures that live in this area.  Most of them come out at night, when it is cooler.  So, not knowing what I may have gotten into, I returned to the Dodge Lodge without finding frogs. 
My viewing of the trip photos will have to wait for when I have more time.  It has been a busy week, It was raining off and on for most the week, but I seemed to be busy the whole time.  I read the Wild Swans book, by Jung Chang.  The horrendous story of a woman, her mother, and her grandmother, who lived through the political reign of Mao.  I can't begin to imagine how so many people were brainwashed into living through the things the country endured for so very many years.  The present politics and revolts in the Muslim world sound awful, too.  The whole world seems to be tipped on its ear, with the climatic catastrophes and human wars and economic disasters. 
Marlene and Art were over to dinner.  They had a rather nasty bit of weather to come home through.  We were lucky on our dash home, going up the I-5 with no snow anywhere, except up in the mountains.  While we were away, and snowed in at the KOA in Flagstaff, Arizona, Victoria had a dump of snow that lasted a few days.  The weather is still coolish and we seem to be about 3 weeks behind in our beginning of Spring.
Yesterday, I was to the Rock and Alpine garden club's show and sale.  . no photos this time.  I somehow did not feel motivated.  It was a good show, I thought.  I brought home a few little rock plants.  A salix boydi to replace the one I lost last summer.  When we were away last summer Victoria had a heat wave and the little willow had no water.  I also have 2 more willows... these can grow quite big if left on their own.  One of them I saw at the show had been made into a bonsai ... sort of... just in a larger pot and not trained, but pruned way back to have a good show of the catkins every year, I suppose.  So, now I may put this one into a larger pot with a nice rock for it to spread over.  I have a nice green rock out in the garden that might work very well.  The other one I may try to grow near the pond and have it grow over the rocks of the waterfall.  The water fall is becoming quite mossy, but still needs more encouragement for the moss to grow all over the rocks.  I also got a Japanese quince tree that has some blooms.  This is a very strange shape, with one branch with leaves sticking 2 feet up and the blooms are on another tiny branch at ground level.  I have seen these plants as bonsai also.  I think mine may become just a pot plant that will be kept pruned  smaller too.  With my neighbours butchering my trees maybe I am acquiring a taste for this stuff.  Ha!  :)  I have 2 more lewisias to add to my lewisia patch on the little rockery at the back.  These plants need very sharp drainage.  I got a little androsace camea ssp. laggeri with lovely pink blooms.  This will go to the little rockery too.  And a cyclamen coum.  that needs more shade so it may go in the little rockery in the front garden.  I have a Paeonia veitchii that is to be the size of 20" x 24" with purple red blooms.  I shall have to prepare a good spot for this one in the back garden bed across the stepping stone path from the Harry Lauders walking stick.  I hope to get this area more organized as it has had a year to settle I have watched how it drains the winter wet and where how the sun/shade affects it.  I have a campanula biebersteiniana for the back garden little rockery - 2" x 6",
After the plant show, we went over to Mark and Anya's for coffee.  They live in a delightful older home.  Little Lily is truly a wee sweetie. While we were away Cannor delivered the plants, potting soil, sand and pea gravel that I had bought last week.  So when we got home I moved this stuff to the back.  While out looking at stuff, I found that Mrs. P had someone chop off more of my cedars from on her side.  Now there is no screening left to them at all.  These people's kids kicked the hell out these trees playing hockey by them and now the rest of the branches up to deck floor height are chopped off.  Their ignorance knows no bounds.  Saanich is no longer letting us use plant killing chemicals on our lawns or gardens.  People have to dig out their dandilions by hand, if they want to keep their lawns.  Mrs. P.  has a lot of dandilions!!  That should keep her busy!!  I hope Sannich passes a by-law to be sure every lot has at least 6 trees on it, in keeping with the 'green' approach to our 'garden city'.


Anonymous said...
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Maggie said...

It seems the orange vine is a Dodder.. I copied this from another web site:
This is an unknown bush covered in bright orange dodder – Cuscuta genus. Bright orange dodder is a parasitic plant with many nicknames, including Love Vine, Witches’ Shoelaces, Hairweed, and Devilguts. It grows from seed and sprouts from the ground like any other plant, but immediately reaches its stem, looking for a host plant to latch onto. The Dodder seedling can survive for about 10 days. If it doesn’t attach to a host plant in this time, it will die. Once the Dodder seedling finds a host plant, it quickly twines itself around the plant’s stem in a counter-clockwise direction and loses its connection to the ground, becoming 100% dependent on the host plant. Dodder survives by little bumps on its stem, called “haustoria.” Since Dodder wraps so tightly around its host, the haustoria are pressed up agains the host plant’s stem, eventually pushing their way into the stem. Through its haustoria, Dodder extracts nutrients that it needs to survive, from the host plant. Dodder rarely kills its host plant, although it will stunt its growth.