What is blooming in the high desert in and around California City for the Memorial Day weekend? More than you think. Sweet smelling Desert Senna is nearing the end but still putting on a show. California Buckwheat and a half dozen other buckwheats are in full bloom. Jimson Weed, also with a sweet perfume, is best seen in the morning or as the sun is setting. The Creosote bushes are sporting adorable, fuzzy seeds. There are other surprises, you just have to look.
It is very easy to tell male and female Hop-sages and Desert Hollies apart in the spring. Hop-sage is leafing and blooming prolificly this spring due to a well spaced, normal rainfall this past winter. The female flowers have green bracts that are on the tips of the stems that eventually turn a deep pink. The male flowers are small, yellowish with deep pink. They are pictured in the second photo.
Last Tuesday we played hookie for a couple of hours and walked in the desert. Everywhere it was green! The shrubs were leafing out and looking the best they had in five years. Blotched-sided Lizards were zipping across our path, stopping on occation to do little pushups. Teeny white flowers that are part of the forget-me-not family carpeted patches of the desert floor.
The sun was getting bright, and it was getting almost too warm. It was time to turn home.
Some scat and, not much further, some tracks caught our eye. Tortoise? We turned back and had not gone three paces. We had walked right past one! It was sunning itself and looking very content, its mouth messy green from munching on spring growth. What a rare sight! We walked home, grinning ear to ear.
Our desert is green, very green. The rains last night and this morning will keep it that way. What the flowers will do is hard to say. Early blooming Milk Vetch has been blooming for a couple of weeks.
The usually rare Yellow Evening Primroses are making quite a showing this year. These spectatular blossoms open at in the evening, bloom through the night so moths can pollinate them, and start to fade once the sun rises.