Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Desert Century

Talks about Arizona's ruggedly beautiful Sonoran Desert inevitably come around to at least a mention of the magnificent Saguaro cactus, standing tall with arms raised to the blue sky.  Mention the Mojave in the arid land of southeastern California and your listener may well think of the Joshua Tree yucca.  Travelers to the Chihuahuan Desert of southwestern Texas and southern New Mexico tell of seeing Century Plants in bloom...

Century Plants are agaves and take their name from a mistaken belief that a hundred years must pass before the plant blooms once and dies.  In most parts of the Chihuahuan, a mere twenty to twenty-five years passes before a thick stalk with yellow flowers shoots skyward, rising to heights of fifteen feet or more...

Xeriscapers show a distinct fondness for Century Plants.  They require only a few inches of rain each year, can easily endure temperatures that rise above the century mark for months on end, and they live many years which means less landscape work.  Alkaline soils nurture them, making them perfect for the calcareous lands of the American Southwest.  When this succulent shrub (which usually grows to a width of between three and five feet) matures, it begins to prepare for its own demise by producing "pups", small offsets of the main basal rosette...

On a recent stroll through San Angelo, I came across a small area that had escaped the developer's bulldozer to remind passers-by that the desert was no farther away than a city limits sign.  Ephedra, lotebush, wolfberry, prickly pear dotted this parcel of untouched lots.  As I explored, I came across a stand of Agave scraba made even lovelier by an unexpected perfumeball... 


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Easier still: browse the Louis R Nugent gallery at Fine Art America.  Choose from 250+ unique ideas for home and office decor or holiday and birthday cards for yourself or special someones who deserve something extraordinary.  Individual cards cost less than $5.  Wall prints from $22.

Louis Nugent: Ghosts of Love Letters Past
Follow and Like Louis R Nugent Photography on Facebook @ louisnugent22.

Fine Art America now features painting, drawings, and photographs by twenty-eight artists who celebrate majestic and uncompromising landscapes, settlements, people, plants, and flora and fauna scattered across the vast emptiness called West Texas.

Jeniffer Stapher-Thomas: The Gift of Water

Fine Arts America now features  work celebrating the mysterious and lovely Bayou State of Louisiana and its unique lifestyle:

Elaine Hodges: Raw Oysters on Ice

All photographs for this essay were located through Google Images or Wikipedia, without authoritative source or ownership information except as noted: all photographs by Louis Nugent

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