Travel in Green

HeyJude at Travel Words has a Life in Colour Photo Challenge 2021, and the theme for March is green. Here’s my gallery of green:

On the Hunt for Joy: Shades & Hues

Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy challenge continues with this week’s topic: color code.

She says: This one is all about color and keeping the same color or hues together. Tip from Ingrid Fetell Lee: Color-code: Organizing by color brings instant harmony to your bookshelf or your closet.

The best photos I’ve taken that are a variation of hues come from nature:

Shades of brown in a cavern (Arizona)
Beiges in a desert landscape (Masada, Israel)
Green cacti & succulents (Chicago Botanic Gardens)
Greens in a park (Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA)
Pinks in a cluster of roses (Point Defiance Park, Tacoma)
Green landscape on the slope of Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania)

There are also manmade hues:
Brown stones and jug (Masada, Israel)
Red theater chairs & floor in the same cave as the first photo (Arizona)
Shades of cream and brown almost camouflage this gold and tan angel next to a house in Des Plaines, IL
Gray & Silver: This monochromatic photo was a mistake – an overexposure of sailboats on the Mediterranean Sea (Caesarea Maritima, Israel). It has not been doctored nor altered in any way – both the sky and the sea were actually very blue.


Last Spiky Square!

For this last day of Becky’s Spiky Squares month, I am posting another photo taken in the desert greenhouse at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. I found this month’s challenge to be fun and interesting. I didn’t have a chance to participate as much as I would have liked because, well, LIFE intervened!
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My spiky desert photos have a message: Don’t squat down in the desert unless you have made sure none of these spiky plants are underfoot!

Spiky Squares – Desert Greenhouse

Becky has begun a new month of squares – yay!! This month the theme is spiky. On my visit to the Chicago Botanic Gardens the other day to see the orchid show, I also went into the desert greenhouse – I love cactus and succulents and there are plenty of “spiky” examples there! Here’s a partial view of the spiky trunk of a desert plant.
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Sunday Stills: A Plant’s Life in the Desert

For the first time, I am participating in the challenge Sunday Stills by Terry Webster Schrandt.  The theme for this week is A Plant’s Life.

Having recently been in the Southwest and because I love the desert, I am featuring the life of desert plants.  Of course, different plants are found in the desert than elsewhere, because they must be adapted to dry conditions. In southern Arizona rises the mighty saguaro cactus, the “tree of life” of the Sonoran Desert.


Saguaro National Park West, Tucson, Arizona

The yucca plant is ubiquitous all over the desert areas of the Southwest.


Blooming yucca in Sedona, Arizona

Yucca in the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona (click on image to see it larger).

Flowering bush, New Mexico

WPC: Twisted

When I saw that the theme of WP’s Weekly Photo Challenge this week was twisted, I immediately thought of two things: trees and cactus.

Winter is a good time to photograph twisted branches.
IMAG0157Springtime in the parkWillow tree, West Park, DPSometimes even trees need a hug!
I liked the knot in this tree!There’s a bird hiding in this tangle of branches!KODAK Digital Still CameraAt Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona, the mighty saguaro starts growing arms when it is about 60 years of age and these arms twist every which way as they grow!
Saguaros live up to 200 years of age, sometimes older. They provide shelter and sustenance for many species of animals.20151217_172406Anther twisty cactus is common throughout southern Arizona, but I don’t remember its name.20151215_110242Photos taken in Des Plaines, a state park in Indiana, Sonora Desert Museum (Tucson) and Saguaro National Park West (Tucson). 

Finally, a video by the band Twisted Sister, We’re Not Gonna Take It.


Photo Essay: Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

Located in Tucson, the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum is unlike most museums, in that it is almost totally outside. By walking along the different paths, you can see the variety of Sonoran Desert plants and animal species.

The Sonoran Desert has an amazing variety of flora and fauna. One common species is the palo verde (“green stick” in Spanish), a tree whose bark is green. The leaves of the palo verde are so tiny that they cannot photosynthesize enough energy to sustain the tree, so the trunk and branches also undergo photosynthesis.


It was Christmastime, and perhaps it was fitting that some palo verde trees had mistletoe clinging to them.
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Actually, the mistletoe is a parasite that can damage or even kill the palo verde tree.

The ocotillo (left) blooms in the springtime. It makes good material for fences. Be careful with the cholla cactus (right) – if you get too close, a piece of it may come off and stick to you!
KODAK Digital Still Camera


Fence made with the ocotillo plant – some of it continues growing!

Yucca plant and prickly pear cactus:KODAK Digital Still Camera

Desert plants can be very prickly!

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Silver cholla

Can you guess why this plant is called “octopus agave”? *

octopus agave
The octopus agave has a large flower stalk.*
Octopus Agave flower stalk
*Note: Images of the octopus agave downloaded from Google Images. Although I saw them at the Sonoran Desert Museum, I did not get a picture of my own.

Another interesting plant is the jojoba. There is actually a separate plant for the male and the female! The female jojoba produces a small nut which is edible. The male produces the seeds that fertilize the female plant.

female jojoba tree (with javelina resting underneath!)

female jojoba tree (with javelina resting underneath!)

The male jojoba bush has flowers like this:

Image downloaded from Google.

Image downloaded from Google.

The most well-known and ubiquitous cactus of the Sonoran Desert is the majestic saguaro cactus. This cactus can live to be 200 years old. It grows into a giant plant from a tiny black seed:

KODAK Digital Still Camera

The saguaro grows very slowly. You often see them growing among palo verde or mesquite trees. This is because the tree provides shade for the tender plant until it grows tall enough to survive on its own.

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Sonoran Desert landscape. Note in the foreground a saguaro cactus growing among the branches of a palo verde tree.

When the saguaro is about 60 years old, it may begin to grow “arms” which make it such a famous image.
KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

The arms of this saguaro are covered with bags to protect it from freezing weather.

The saguaro is the “tree of life” in the Sonoran Desert. Many species live in and around it.

Woodpeckers peck holes in the saguaro, and make their nests inside. When the woodpeckers move out, other birds, such as the elf owl, take their place.

Woodpeckers peck holes in the saguaro, and make their nests inside. When the woodpeckers move out, other birds, such as the elf owl, take their place.

The Tohono O’odam Indians (formerly known by whites as the Papago) use the saguaro for many things: they eat the fruit and the flower, which scatters the seeds, and when the saguaro dies, they use its spines for building material…

This dead saguaro's spines are used for building materials.

Dead saguaro

such as ramadas…


or roofing.

Roof made of saguaro spines

Roof made of saguaro spines

The Tohono O’odam even used the “boot” of the saguaro, which is the hardened scab that formed around the hole made by the woodpecker.
saguaro bootsThis picture comes from the web site of Allyson Latta.

There are many examples of desert animals here, too, including the javelina:

Javelinas look like pigs, but actually are not in the same family. They are peccaries, a species native to the Americas. What we are familiar with as “pigs” came from Europe.

There are coyotes…
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mountain lions (cougars),
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lynx, an ocelot, wolves, bears, and a variety of bird species.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still CameraWe saw a demonstration of birds of prey…
KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera The museum also has a small aquarium displaying the marine life that lives in the coastal waters where the Sonoran Desert borders on Baja California in Mexico.

Unless you come early in the day, it is impossible to see everything in this expansive outdoor museum. There are always the paths not taken.