August 02, 2012

Photo Essay: High Desert Orchids

Most people think of the desert as a veritable wasteland, where living things go to die. But some of us thrive in the desert, and when we get here, we find a way to truly live.

There is a surprising amount of life in the desert, particularly the high desert (which does have four seasons) - not only wildlife, but also botanical life.

Case in point: orchids.

Sure, they don't grow in the ground up here, but in the greenhouses of Gubler Orchids in Landers, where some of them last as long as 80 years.

Others arrive as mere buds...

...and bloom into various exotic shapes, colors and patterns.

There are so many species of them and varieties within each species, it's hard to keep track.

This one is called a "dancing lady":

It's fun to watch her shimmy on the branch.

In addition to orchids, Gubler also nurtures some other flowers...

...carnivorous plants like the Venus Flytrap...

...and even bananas.

It's amazing what people can find their livelihood in in the desert. The area's history is littered with so many failed ranchers, miners and millers, and yet some can prosper in such vibrant industries as orchids or jojoba.

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