Monday, February 28, 2011

Wes' Peony

Living in the desert does have some drawbacks.  For an avid gardner it's not being able to grow cool weather plants and those that require more humidity.  But the benefits are pretty neat.  Year round sun (almost) and some pretty unusual plants.  Guess one can't have it all.

"Wes' Peony"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Two for the Price of One

It's hard enough to capture one moving insect let alone two.  So you can imagine my delight when I discovered I found there were two bees in this photo that were in focus.

"Two for the Price of One"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

White Prickly Poppy

Related to the Matilija Poppy, this cousin looks very similar although it's smaller in size.  It also has sharp, prickly spines on the leaves, stalks and buds.  It grows at an elevation of 1,500 - 8,000 feet in most of the Southwest.  The plant is distasteful to livestock and tends to increase in heavily grazed rangeland.  The plant is also poisonous but the yellow sap has been used to treat some skin diseases and the plants were also boiled for baths in the treating rheumatism.

"White Prickly Poppy"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011


It's not Monet's garden but the waterlily pond at the Norton Simon Musuem in Pasadena.  I guess being art related makes it count for something. 

"Waterlily"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Wildflower season is almost upon us.  A few flowers have opened their buds but it's been pretty cool here so I expect a later rush of blossoms than normal.  This cholla, a member of the cactus family is a vibrant green.  Just watch out for the stickers as they come out so easily they get the name "jumping cholla".

"Cholla"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Afternoon at the Fair

It's county fair time!!!   Yes, it's a lot earlier than most county fairs but it's also the National Date Festival here in the desert.  It originally started as the Date Festival as this was the season when the dates were all harvested and ready for distribution.  Then it became the Riverside County Fair.  I miss the displays of produce (yes, we do harvest our agriculture earlier than most areas in the U.S. but it's not the same as a traditional county fair).  We have camel races, ostrich races, Tales of Arabian nights and things themed to being the date capital of the U.S.  And it's fun to do the carnival midway.

"Afternoon at the Fair"       © Kathy Dunham 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mourning Dove

I love the cooing sound doves make.  It's soft, gentle and soothing.  These beautiful birds, their feathers so smooth, are found all over California.  This one was posing in front of a friend's house the other afternoon. 

"Mourning Dove"       © Kathy Dunham 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It Snowed Last Night

I live in the desert, in fact, my house is actually below sea level.  It gets hot here in the summer and yes, there is snow, but only on the top of the nearby mountains.  Mt. San Jacinto, which is the backdrop for Palm Springs is over 10,000 so we do get to see snow and there is a tram to the top so we can even play in the snow without having to drive in it to get there.

"It Snowed Last Night"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Monet's Rooster

It was an overcast day when we visited Monet's Garden but the local fowl weren't fazed.  This rooster was busy keeping track of all the hens in the yard.  And chase them he did.  He was quite a "cocky" character.

"Monet's Rooster"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tonight's Moonrise

Moonrise in the desert is constantly changing.  One month it might be orange, another blue.  But the desert landscape always adds drama.

"Tonight's Moonrise"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The Portland Rose Gardens are a wild explosion of color in the summer.  If you love roses, add it to your list of must see places.  This hybrid tea rose, "Artistry", is a gorgeous color.  A deep, rich coral, it screams for attention.

"Artistry"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oriental Poppy

One of the most dramatic poppies, the oriental or Papaver orientale, is native to southwest Asia.  Some of its spectacular flowers are as big as peonies.  They range in shades of pink through to red with 4 inch dark centers. 

"Oriental Poppy"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011


I love watching the Westminster Dog Show.  I don't know a lot about the different breeds but the spunk some of the dogs have makes it a pleasure to watch.  I rarely pick Best in Show, although I did the year the bloodhound won.  This is Harley, a pedigree Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy.  Quite the hearding dog.  For such a shorty, you'd think he wouldn't have a chance with bigger animals but this breed does a great job.

"Harley"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

One Old Wheel

La Haciaenda de los Martinez in Taos, New Mexico, is full of treasures from years past.  One of the earliest haciendas in the area, it is now a museum that give us an idea how the early rancheros lived.

"One Old Wheel"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sunset in Sedona

Known for it's red rock beauty, the area that surrounds Sedona, Arizona is spectacular anytime of day.  But at sunset, when the colors really come alive, it's awesome.

"Sunset in Sedona"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Orange Day Lily

It's a real shame that some flowers only last one day.  Which is why they call these "Day Lilies".  Good for a day and they are history.  They'd make a beautiful cut flower if only they lasted longer.  But they do make a great border plant in gardens.

"Orange Day Lily"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

White Chinese Magnolia

This is the season to start visiting the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino.  The beautifully landscaped grounds always have something of interest in bloom.  These Chinese Magnolias always are fascinating as they bloom while the stalks are void of leaves.  So you have a naked branch with lots of beautiful flowers. 

"White Chinese Magnolias"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cogulot Roses

Nestled in a small cemetery in the French countryside were these delicate roses peaking over the fence.  An old style rose with tinges of deep pink reminds me of crushed peppermint.  It's definitely a refreshing sight amongst the tombstones.

"Cogulot Roses"    © Kathy Dunham 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chateau Biron

This was a pivotal chateau in France during the 100 year war.  Eleanore of Aquetaine was married in the small chapel on the left.  Any more history than that and you'll have to refer to the history books.

"Chateau Biron"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pink Poppy

I always enjoy going to France to see the poppies.  Red ones, orange ones, pink ones.  When you live in the California desert the only poppies you get to see are California Poppies.  Don't get me wrong, I love it when the fields are covered with them.  But the oriental poppy is more stately and elegant. 

"Pink Poppy"   © Kathy Dunham 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I am always amazed at the intricacies of nature.  Flowers that have multiple colorations, like someone painted them that way, are the biggest mystery.  I think it's cool.  And the more vivid the colors, the wilder it gets.

"Columbine"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Translation......   "Happy New Year" in Chinese.  This is the year of the Rabbit and if you were born in a "rabbit" year you have many good qualities to be proud of.  Articulate, talented, ambitious, sensitive, tactful, discreet and have excellent taste.  But you must be born in one of the following years....  1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999.

"Gung Hay Fat Choy!"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Coral Cactus

I always enjoy Spring in the desert.  When the flowers start to bloom the desert comes alive with color.  In some areas it's like an artist has splashed color over the countryside.

"Coral Cactus"      © Kathy Dunham 2011