The 40-Year Bloom

At the risk of boring you to the point of not revisiting our site again, I’m going to chance it and present an update to the magnificent flowering desert that many old-timers (older than me) are calling a “40-year bloom.” The bluebonnets have been blooming since February, and are still marvelous, reaching heights of over 4 feet…just imagine.

IMG_2061

IMG_2062

IMG_2074

In the past couple of weeks, the addition of many cactus blooms has only added to the already fabulous weave of colors across the desert. One of the most impressive is the yellow bloom of the Texas Rainbow cactus. The “rainbow” comes from the bands of color caused by annual growth rings:

IMG_2025

IMG_2026

The yellow and red blooms of the purple pricklypear are appearing everywhere:

IMG_2050

IMG_2037

The brilliant fuchsia color of the strawberry pitaya is more rare, but easily spotted blooming among the yellows and greens of the desert:

IMG_2049

IMG_2040

IMG_2032

The orange/red brilliance of the claret cup cactus is found mostly above 4000′ in rocky areas:

P1000477

P1000480

One of the most dramatic plants in the desert is the ocotillo, not a cactus, but sporting sharp spines and brilliant reddish/orange blossoms, sometimes growing to heights of over 15 feet:

IMG_2064

IMG_2065

IMG_2067

When it comes to flowers, the desert marigolds are still in full bloom, forming a carpet across the usually dry desert floor:

IMG_2033

IMG_2042

Earlier in the spring, the indian paintbrush was conspicuously missing from the landscape, now making an appearance in secluded places:

IMG_2058

Out in the more open plains, the prairie verbena waves in the wind:

IMG_2077

Hiding in the endless sea of desert marigolds are the wonderful clumps of blackfoot daisies:

IMG_2043

These rainbow cactus blooms are safely tucked in among the lethal spines of the lechuguilla:

IMG_2034

A last look at the beautiful blooms of the strawberry pitaya and purple pricklypear, to be enjoyed for weeks to come:

IMG_2051

IMG_2063

And so, the “40-year bloom” reaches its peak, but is by no means done. More cactus are putting on bloom pods in preparation for an encore of magnificence in May and June, so stay tuned for more of God’s glory.

Published by

texasflashdude

Photography and Travel, specifically adventure travel and backpacking in remote North America, give me an excuse to stay outside. If kayaks, bikes, backpacks, Jeeps, archeology, geology and wildlife can be included, all the better. Having spent my life working in the fashion and photography industries, I love the unusual, the spectacular, and the beautiful. God has given us a wonderful world in which to live, and I try to open others’ eyes to its wonders. I have shared nearly 50 years of this indescribable wonder with my wife, Jodie, and we go everywhere together. I hope you will share some of our journey with us.

4 thoughts on “The 40-Year Bloom

  1. After the drought and freezing temps 3 years ago, the desert appeared “dead.” A great testimony to the resilience of nature to bounce back quickly. The animal life has also recovered, but not as easy to photograph.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s