Sunday, November 11, 2018

Winter Escape--Honolulu

As the days get colder, I daydream about tropical beaches.

For example, in Hawaii
Waikiki, Honolulu

While I always recommend the Big Island if you are going to Hawaii (for its diversity and its active volcano) I recently did a successful experiment--I had a great botanical time from a single hotel in a easily-reached city. We simply flew to Honolulu last May, stayed in a hotel there, and explored from there.
Diamond Head, Honolulu
View from hotel window

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Winter Escape--Costa Rica

beach, Costa Rica
Beach, Costa Rica
The days are getting short and the wind is chilly. So I daydream about sunny warm places.
For example, Costa Rica.

I had never been in the tropics when I went there in 1972. It was magical. I have been back five times since.  It remains wonderful.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Plant Story--Papaya, Tropical American Fruit

papayas for sale
You see them sometimes in northern markets, green-orange fruits looking like small footballs. And I presume sometimes they taste pretty good.

But pretty good is not how they taste in Florida or Hawaii or Costa Rica. A really fresh papaya is a marvelous thing.

a bowl of papaya
a dish of fresh papaya

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Plant Story--More on Prickly Pear Cacti, Flowers and Fruits

prickly pear cactus

Prickly pear cacti, genus Opuntia, are easily-recognized members of the cactus family (Cactaceae) with a very wide native range across the Americas. There are more than 150 species, native from southern Canada to Argentina and Chile. They are also called nopales (singular nopal).

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Plant Story--Prickly Pear Cacti, Wonderfully Spiny

prickly pear cactus, Opuntia, flowers

Cacti do not get a lot of appreciation. As a very visible, common cactus, that certainly applies to the prickly pears, Opuntia species. These plants are easily recognised, avoided and disliked.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Visiting Colorado--Fall Mountain Scenes

Aspens in color, Rocky Mountains

It is fall in the Rockies. The aspen leaves are turning colors. As I write this in early October, Trail Ridge Road at the top of Rocky Mountain National Park is closed due to snow. It should reopen, but, clearly, it is winter now at 11,000 feet. Where I live, at 5,000 feet, we have not yet had a frost. As cold temperatures move down the mountains, aspen and other deciduous trees will change color and then lose their leaves at successively lower elevations. Lots of opportunity to enjoy the spectacle.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Visiting Colorado--Loving Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells, near Aspen Colorado

Maroon Bells, three bell-shaped mountains near Aspen, Colorado, are ranked as one of the best places to see wildflowers and bright aspen leaves in the Rockies.

The place is beautiful. It is also being loved to death.