Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fifteen days in the desert...

While my fellow Portlander's were experiencing the tail end of a wet beginning to October we took off for the desert Southwest, a two week excursion under the sun. Naturally Mother Nature changed her game plan as soon as we left P-town and we missed out on some gorgeous fall weather Pacific Northwest-style. I’m not complaining though as she treated us very well and unseasonably warm temperatures (think 97 degrees) and plenty of blue skies followed us along on our travels.

Here's a quick overview of our giant circle...

We flew into Phoenix, AZ, and immediately hit the road to Tucson where we spent a fun couple of days. Then it was back on the road for the scenic (for a desert plant lover like me) drive on to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where we spent a few days with my husband’s family. After leaving TorC the quick shot up I-25 to Albuquerque had me in never-before-traveled territory where I enjoyed spotting a few landscapes previously seen on the blog The Desert Edge (unfortunately scheduling didn't allow for me to hit David up for a tour of the Albuquerque horticultural hot-spots, maybe next time?). Then came the four states in four days segment of our trip where after leaving NM we spent a night in Durango, CO; Blanding UT; and then Flagstaff AZ. After a quick day in Prescott, AZ it was time to return to Phoenix and finish up the vacation visiting my brother and his family. Whew!

During the many hours we logged traveling I watched the vegetation and soil color change along the highways. We saw almost white sand (which passes for soil in those parts) to the reddest of clay. Yucca were a near constant presence (Y. elata, Y. glauca, and Y. baccata just to name a few) but after my last Agave sighting in Albuquerque I was positively Agave starved until I spotted this one growing off the road-side just outside Sedona, AZ. And finally I knew we were back in the Sonoran Desert when the dignified Saguaro began to appear along the road, quickly joined by multiple Teddy bear Cholla, and a couple of Yucca and Agave thrown in to make my heart beat faster. It's not an exaggeration to say my eyes hurt from all the spikes (or maybe the bright desert sun?) and I've got to admit it's nice to be home. As per usual with our vacation travels many gardens and nurseries were visited...I've got thousands of photos to sort through before I can share my travels and discoveries with you. In the mean time I've got a Pacific Northwest fall garden to clean up and enjoy (not necessarily in that order).


  1. I hate gardening in heat, so these last few weeks have been pure gold. How long can it last?

  2. Every once in a while a girl needs a real desert fix.

  3. LOL!!! Ahhh desert gardening. It is a lot of fun and I understand how you feel. I prefer it over my Wisconsin roots, but it does take some adjusting. Hope you had a good time. Tucson is much more interesting:)

  4. Glad the SW gave you spiky plant overload...yuccas rule! I was probably away on my "speaking tour", including visiting Lancashire rose's garden!

    Really nice scenes that are so AZ and NM. There is something to where you enter the Sonoran Desert and see those Saguaro plants take over. WOW!!!!!

    Love the Desert Sands Motel pic w/ the Yucca torreyi a few pics of that! My house is 5 miles distant, same side of Central. Next time...

  5. ricki, next weeks forecast is looking less than garden worthy.

    Lancashire rose, and how!

    Rohrerbot, Tucson really is wonderful. I wish we could have stayed and explored another couple of days!

    DD, Central goes on forever and ever! We loved seeing some of the vintage signs left over from it's Route 66 days, naturally the Desert Sands was a favorite. Next time we visit the in-laws we'll probably fly into Albuquerque so hopefully we can plan something!

  6. Ooo. You did make it to the DBG. Can't wait to see it through your lens!

  7. I totally understand the whizzing by of the plants right now and I still haven't even started back yet! I feel like I am flying past so many places far too quickly but I am thinking of you all the time with spiky plants everywhere. So glad to hear you enjoyed your trip.

  8. What a fun trip (except those 97 degree temps; I've had enough of those to last me a while). I look forward to your pics of the Desert Botanical Garden.

  9. Jenn, I almost made the horrible mistake of visiting on "Target free day"...what a nightmare that would have been! Luckily I realized and we went the day before...early so it wasn't too hot.

    Ann, if you see any sad agave pups feel free to liberate them and bring them back to me!!

    Pam, oh yes...I've got hundreds of pictures! Must try to break those down into a workable number. We also visited the Tucson Botanical and Rio Grande Botanical (in Albuquerque) Gardens.


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