Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bandelier National Monument, Part 2

Part 1 is here.

This post is for my mother. She loves flowers and plants, and she inherited a green thumb from her father (my only living grandfather). I remember that my grandparents came to visit us when I was in elementary school, when we had a row of rosebushes in our front and back yards. Those roses never thrived as well as they did while he was staying with us. It's one of those odd memories that I keep, that pops into my head randomly.

At Bandelier, the range between the desert-like rockiness and the cool, damp forest led to interesting plants and some beautiful flowers. They certainly weren't just conventional plants (although there were plenty of those, too).

On my drive there, I stopped to get something cold to drink. On the side of the road, without much of anything around, there was a giant bush, filled with these pretty purple blossoms. They were fuzzy, and that, combined with the unreal color, made them seem fake.
Obviously not fake, at least not according to this bee. I'm a little scared of bees, but this one had no interest in me. (I've been stung once in my life, while I was sleeping, and it hurt so much that I jerked awake to see what had happened.)
I love the long lavender tubes on these. They look a little like what I imagine plumerias would look like if they were abandoned in the desert and forced to survive.
Cheerful! Yellow! Summertime! I really love that dusty sage color that some plants have, and this is one of them. The happy bright flowers don't hurt either, of course.
Gradient effect by nature- this would look so fake if someone drew or painted it, but it's not fake at all.
Fuzz ball. I don't know what this is- the head of a flower that hasn't bloomed? Or a flower that's bloomed and died? It's interesting, though, and lovely in a strange way.
Desert plants in abundance ... is that contradictory to say? I like these colors a lot, the pale greens, the muted tones. I found the ochre growths on the rocks to be surprisingly bright and saturated.
Close up of those splotches of color. Maybe not "pretty," but visually intriguing. It can't be moss (I don't think), so I have no idea what these are. Just in case it's something germy and gross, I didn't touch it.
Stubborn trees like this were everywhere. They grow sideways and up, out of the smallest little crevices between slabs of rock. Nature always prevails, I suppose. I thought this was just the cutest tree- a rather miniature Christmas tree, Bandelier-style.
Shades of green. The cactus-y thing is surrounded by dried, beige-y grass, but behind that is a very lush looking forest. It's so odd how the two vastly different elements combine in this one location.
In the picture above, this plant is in the lower right corner. I like fuzzy things, which I can see is obvious- I took a lot of photos of fuzzy plants, fuzzy flowers, fuzzy animals, and so on. It's sort of like a big, floppy, green cattail.
I like the color orange quite a lot, especially in coral or melon hues, like these tiny little flowers. Not a very good picture, but I wanted to post a wider shot of the plant before posting a close-up of the actual flowers.
Very cute teensy flowers! I love the yellow center that goes to green, with the green going back to yellow before bleeding into the orange. Perhaps my favorite flower that I saw on this excursion.
This reminded me of silverswords, but not as hard and spiky. I don't know, something about the shape of this plant made me pause, and I picked my way through the brambly weeds to take pictures of it.
Oh, that's why I like it- it's fuzzy! And pretty and frilly. Tiers of ruffles.
Simple, basic, but still gorgeous. About as basic as flowers get.
My drive home went through the Jemez Mountains, where I stopped and took a bunch of photos. There were these huge dandelion things, about the size of a lemon, a little bigger than a lime. Giant puffballs.

That concludes the flora portion of the Bandelier program. There is actually a fauna section, coming soon.

I've been researching Turks and Caicos, and there are surprisingly few blogs that have photos or mentions of the islands. I'm not really sure what to expect (other than beaches), because even the weather seems quite varying.

Before I worry about vacationing, I should probably get packed and ready to move...