Thursday, August 11, 2011

Indigo Bush

Last year when I was regularly visiting the Hayfield Road area, off the I-10 past Chiriaco Summit, about the border between the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, I regularly noticed an ugly looking sagebrush type bush in the wash area I hiked through. Imagine the bush below, without any of the blue, and you get a glimpse of what I'm talking about. 
It would be hard to think of an uglier type of bush. The bushes appeared old, scraggly, and very dirty, many brown, dead looking spots. 
They looked like they had survived the Oklahoma dustbowl during the depression, and just barely at that. There was nothing attractive about them. Other spring flowers were gloriously strutting their stuff, taking their turns in the beauty competition that happens each year, particularly when there have been good rains. Then, as spring ended and summer arrived, the beautiful flowers died out and the full heat of the desert arrived, erasing the color from the landscape. In a somewhat depressed mood, on July 10th, walking through this moonscape that had rivaled Butchart Gardens just three months previously, I was blown away to walk into the wash and see a landscape of blue leaves with bees buzzing everywhere. 
Where there had previously been only drabness, there was blue everywhere. 
It was as good an imitation of Fawkes the phoenix resurrecting itself that I've seen. 
It really lifted my spirits and increased my appreciation and wonder for the desert that continues to surprise and teach lessons. I'm finding eleven types of Indigo bush on the calflora website that exist in the area and the exact subspecies of these particular bushes is eluding me. 
What I love is that these bushes bloom when most everything else is done. They are the ugly ducklings during spring when the other plants are taking their turns strutting their stuff, but these late bloomers have the show all to themselves during the heat of the summer. 
The shame is that there are few people there to notice them. It is now too hot and most of the outdoor enthusiasts have headed for pine tree country at greater elevations where it is cooler. For me, it was worth the trip into the furnace to enjoy these beautiful bushes. 


  1. I love your comparisons. Great insights and beautiful writing.

  2. Great post. Can't wait to see what you put up from our CO trip!