Hiking: Yellow-Throated Gilia, Sequoia National Park, CA

One of the reasons I enjoy hiking is that it offers opportunities for interesting discoveries; some anticipated and others serendipitous. We were hiking along the Crescent Meadow Loop Trail in Sequoia National Park nearly a year ago when we came across a patch of wildflowers tucked away in a wooded area…

Yellow-Throated Gilia wildflower

It was hard to believe that these were real. The colors were so vibrant and unusual in combination. It was an amazing sight. The next day we were on the Sunset Point Trail and there was a large swath of these wildflowers covering the entire hillside.

Yellow-Throated Gilia wildflower
Love those standouts adding their all white accents in the middle of the patch!

Nature is the art of God.” – Dante Alighieri

Read more about Yellow-Throated Gilia HERE


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Hiking/Exploring HERE, Nature HERE, Photography HERE



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Opuntia (Paddle Cacti) – Phoenix, Arizona

Opuntia - Paddle Cactus

“Opuntia is the most widespread of all genera in the cactus family. The genus occurs naturally throughout North and South America from as far north as Canada, through the Caribbean, and down into Argentina. With man’s help, however, this species can now be found world-wide where it has escaped cultivation and become naturalized even to the point of being classified as a noxious weed.”
Source: – https://cactiguide.com/cactus/?genus=Opuntia

While much of the country is still in early spring, the desert is moving quickly through its yearly spring and toward what most would consider summer. As of this writing, we are still in the sweet spot of a bumper crop of blooms. The native desert plants are taking their turns in showing off.

Most of the year our cacti look like a pincushion holding onto its requisite supply of pins, but hidden in the DNA of each of these organisms is the promise of blooming beauty. Some of the blooms like our pink Opuntia (see photos above and below) look as though they would be more at home floating in a tropical drink.

Opuntia - Paddle Cactus

As pretty as these are, many of the cactus flowers have a prime bloom duration of only one day, but what a bloom it is!

You may know Opuntia cacti. They are the “paddle” cactus family. They have large, flat paddle-like growths that look similar to the ears of a number of Walt Disney characters. The picture below better shows the paddles with the pink bloom atop.

To the left of the bloom are “ladies in waiting,” so to speak. The buds will plump until nature tells them it is their turn to open and show off.

Opuntia - Paddle Cactus

A more common Opuntia would be the yellow variety. We have several specimens in our front landscape.

Opuntia - Paddle Cactus

The pile of paddles above is more than five feet tall and if the truth be told, it would probably benefit from a pruning.

This is a closeup of the flower. Note the buds in the corners of the photo.

Opuntia - Paddle Cactus

Some of the paddles have a cascade of blooms that open on the same day and form an amazing vertical line.

Opuntia - Paddle Cactus

While I am enjoying the wonderful blooms in our landscape, I hope to share more of them with JBRish readers.

You can read more about Opuntias and Paddle Cacti at the link above.

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All photographs are Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved

See more JBRish gardening and desert gardening posts here HERE

Year of Yosemite (YOY) – Day 157 (A Carpet of Wildflowers – Phlox)

Spreading Phlox was abundant at Yosemite

Along many of the trails and paths we hiked, we came across purple or pink phlox

This somewhat dainty plant was abundant during our late Spring, 2016 visit to Yosemite. It is most likely Spreading Phlox (Phlox diffusa). The color of the phlox ranged from light purple or pink to very pale renditions of both bordering on near white.

We would often come across pockets of phlox clusters separated by only a few feet which sometimes looked as though someone had strewn beautiful bouquets along our path. I hope all the hikers took time to appreciate the beautiful display.

Do you have a question about our visit to Yosemite? Ask it in the comment section.


JBRish.com originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

See previous Year of Yosemite (YOY) posts HERE. If you want to read the introduction to the YOY series, CLICK HERE.


Meta Data – Day 157 YOY – Year of Yosemite

File Name: 0341.NEF
Capture time: 11:03:27 AM
Capture date: June 9, 2016
Exposure: 1/60 sec @ f/18
Focal Length: 42mm
ISO 140
Nikon D3300