An Urban Desert Surprise Dressed in Pink Chiffon

“Nature has an economy, an elegance, a style ……” if we could just ”rise out of the rubble” and see.

What is your motivation for getting out in nature? Is it to log miles, climb the next hill, socialize, take a pretty picture, experience wildlife, or perhaps calm your mind? When walking, anywhere, how often do you just pause and really see what’s around you, or ”oops” underfoot?

More often than not, I like to think I fall into the latter category, but at times it doesn’t hurt to get a wake-up reminder …. and yesterday was one of those days.

Where plants ”choose” to grow can be surprising. All Spring I walked right by a cement-lined, bone dry water canal, chock full of mounds of last year’s tumbleweeds, the oddly discarded sneaker, and miscellaneous plastic bags of household garbage. I rarely gave this ”dump” a second look …. it’s quite an unsightly mess, and “why doesn’t someone clean it up!”

But there, pushing proudly up and out of the mess and rubble was a 10 foot tall tree, oblivious to its surroundings and obviously very happy with its living conditions. After all, look at those gorgeous pink gauzy chiffon-like flowers …… the tree was covered in pink!

The scientist in me wanted to learn more about this hardy species …. the Desert Willow. Why was it thriving there? Where did the seed come from? Don’t all “willows” grow best in a riparian environment? What does it do for water? Maybe this really isn’t a willow? Has it been blooming long? What pollinators visit the flowers? Did the seeds from last year’s dangling pods float away in the wind or drop to the ground underneath the parent tree? And on and on.

Work in Progress (WIP)

But on this day, my desire was only to pause and enjoy the surprising contrast of this tree to its random and unsightly place in nature. I just stopped and gazed at the flowers and wondered why?

And perhaps I’m grateful for this particular pile of rubble, because without it would this Desert Willow even be growing there?

What do you think?

Seed pods (WIP)


  1. Beautiful “noticing” of the tree and its pink blossoms! Nature finds a way. How interesting that the lavender streaks guide the bees into the blossom! I had a similar wondering about the dotted pattern on the upper petal of our rhododendron flowers. And the bee’s body fits in the blossom perfectly to get the nectar while rubbing the pollen onto its back legs! I love that you paused to look past the rubble for the beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How cool! I’ll bet your rhodies are pollinator specific too, and the petal streaks do act as nectar guides. With the desert Willow, the floral tube is just the right side for the big carpenter bees, and when they exit the flower that’s when they get loaded with nectar, to prevent self fertilization.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. memnona says:

    Awesome work 😍😍❣️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Aga! Hope you are well and being very creative!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks so much!


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