I was entranced by the flora of southern California on our recent trip down south – not to mention the fabulous edibles that thrive in this region. We ventured in Joshua Tree for a few days to attend a wedding and we carved out a little time to explore this distinct, unusual landscape.

joshua-tree-landscapeJoshua Tree is a nation park that stretches over the higher elevation Mojave Desert and the lower elevation Colorado Desert, just a couple hours east of Los Angeles. The area we were in was the northern side of the park. The dry desert here was rocky and somewhat barren to my northwestern eyes, although I can still see the beauty in that starkness.


It’s a landscape of contrasts – the brilliant blue sky against the washed out boulders. Color bursts from the landscape when you stop to look closer. And the textures range from the sharp spikes of a cactus to the lush curves of a succulent.


Groves of resilient trees stand tall and gentle wave toward each other, as if they are keeping each other company in this wide, open desert. There are signs all around of life persistently enduring, like the birds nest we discovered nestled into a cactus branch.



Just as hiking through the gorge is a celebration of the temperate rainforest I live in, Joshua Tree is a celebration of the dry desert surrounding Los Angeles and San Diego. For those who live in this region, it’s inspiration for designing succulent planters to greet you at your doorstep or a model for a drought-tolerant front yard.


It was also a chance to make memories with our family at one of the great national parks! We bought Juniper a national parks “passport” and we’re looking forward to putting more stamps in it over the years.


Have you been to Joshua Tree before? If so, what was your impression? If not, what is one of your favorite national parks that gives you some inspiration to use at home?

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Written by Renee Wilkinson