Desert Bonsai tree and grass communities

wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I have been out walking in the desert in rainstorms. I loved these small worlds of bonsai plants onto of the ridges. UI thought I would share this with y'all. They are such perfect little worlds.








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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Your state sure has a diversity of plant communities. Everything from what I imagine to be nearly subtropical piney woods areas of the SE to this desert scene. At least so guesses this person who has never been there!

+oM

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docmom_gw(5)

Wow. So serene, yet tough. It really is like being taken there. Thank you for the trip. I wish I had something as precious to share. Is that on your property?

Martha

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texasranger2

That's not the Hill Country in Texas......is it? Gotta be New Mexico. Similar outcroppings around here are red sandstone, as a matter of fact, since they were saved from the steel plow in the 30's they make up pockets of original native plants. I often see stiff, powder blue little bluestem growing in them while the surrounding flat area that is soil is a mess covered in tall weedy grasses and brush. Sometimes the rocks are carved with names etc.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

A trip to the Albuquerque area some years back-with enough time for some limited exploration-was a real eye-opener for me. I guess prior to that, I really did not get the desert. Not that I'd had any exposure to it-that's just the point-but I just didn't think there was anything there, lol! That trip opened my eyes in a way that has never left me. For an example, we visited the abandoned mining town-well, mostly abandoned, there's still lots of little shops to buy your turquoise-of Madrid, in the foothills of-I guess-the Sandia Peaks area. I found it an amazing place, full of a kind of inverse to some of the funky tourist-trap towns up here. Lots of gardening enthusiasm was apparent alongside the tiny shops, but whereas in an equivalent place up here-say Door County-where the shops would have ferns and wildflowers typical of this part of the world, it was the same arrangement there but all different, desert-adapted species. I found it simply charming.

+oM

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Campanula UK Z8

Oooh, life is so tenacious, isn't it? There are some astonishing little oak forests which are not only dwarfed into minuscule size, but also bent and twisted by relentless winds scouring the little trees, which have found a habitat in rocky cliffside cracks. And limestone pavement is one of the glories of chalk uplands - little jewels of alpine plants. I love these extreme growing conditions and find myself yearning for trips to Chile, or the Canaries, or Japan - just for the plantlife.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Yes, TX is right . It's NewMexico. I was staying at an old "community" of transformed hippies " in Cerillos hills , not far from Madrid , pronounced MAD-drid. We stopped at thew old church in Golden (not far) and walked it in the rain and found turquoise in the gravel of the parking lot. These picks are of a ridge line of sandstone above the lava flows at Mal Pais, way west of Albuquerque. South west of Grant NM. The first one is a grass clump in a outcropping above a built up travertine build up above a hot spring in the Jimez Mountains. I am slowly going through 995 photos. (Gardening is only one of several obsessions). Once I get them CULLED a bit I will put my flicker account album out there. Until then , you might see a few grass photos here and there.. We went west to Quemado and then to the Zuni reservation South of Gallup , the Jimez mountains, and then up north to Hoveweep and the Needles in Canyonland National Park in Utah. It rained a lot for a desert. It was greener than central Texas. West Texas was greener too. Central Tx was cracked and burnt up when I left and FLOODING when I drove back in. The spring should be really full of blooms next spring out west.

One of my favorite writers about the Desert is Craig Childs. "The Secret Knowledge of Water" subtitled "there are 2 easy ways to die in the Desert: Thirst and Drowning. Basically it is about the movement of water in the desert. It is very surprising. His book on the Anasazi "House of Rain" is good. He is a very observant walker of the desert. His approach is one of a person who traverses the desert and he writes about a culture who who lives and traverses the desert. His approach is close to the land , not the museum or library.

+oM, I just read a book called "Barren Wild and Worthless" written by a field biologist from up north who moved to Las Cruces. It took her a while to see the beauty of the land. Letting go the concept that Green means life and health was a big one. Then there is always looking at a red bog and fall colors being all year long. LOL Believe it or not, I DESATURATED the colors in my editing process





Or GREEN dirt, just to twist your brain. My dirt , here in Central Texas glimmers silver under a full moon. The red of the foothills to the Jimez Mountains after a rain is an eye opener.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

OH, Camp , they have shin high oak trees growing in sand dunes in Monahans texas that have 80' deep root systems.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Awesome stuff. That's all, just awesome. And yes, while I didn't come right out and say it above, I will now: Madrid seemed to me even then to be an outpost of what I call-and this is not meant with any disrespect-"leftover hippies"! That is exactly what I was thinking when we were there. Of course, smart folks knew then and know now, there were smart hippies and not so smart, just like in any other slice of the population. In fact, the smarter ones among them were way, way ahead of their time by my reckoning, having sussed things out that many mainstreamers still don't have a clue about!

+om

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Madrid is looked down on by the bordering communities. This community were "smart Hippies" and a head of their time, but as a group, they are still a group with a group ethos that I have a hard time with. They have not become leftovers by any stretch of the imagination. These guys designed biosphere 2 and was a draw for many of the thinkers of the time. They have a geodesic dome built by Buckminster Fuller. Not quite Madrid. They have theaters and galleries in London and other projects around the world but never lost their center or group ethos.

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texasranger2

The beauty is breath taking.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

It is a hard place to drive around in and get anywhere on time. I was always stopping and graizing in the dirt for seed or digitally rubbernecking aplenty. I kept promising my sister to not stop this next hundred miles and breaking my promise time and time again. We did not stop for food unless it was a bowl of green chilly or the pine nuts from reservations ..

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