Sunday, September 16, 2012

Chamisa on the Chama-Georgia O'Keeffe's adopted landscapes

This week Norm and I took a quick trip up to northern New Mexico to the Chama river.  It is one of our favorite spots to camp and catch some tiny waves.  This easy to navigate river is perfect to take small children rafting or canoeing because it is not too challenging.  It is the first place I ever canoed a riverI am not canoeing these days because of bad knees, so I "ran the shuttle" which means I dropped off our friends Jim and JoAnn and Norm at the put in and then drove back down to meet them at the bottom.  What a glorious day it was to take photographs, to paint, and to enjoy some much needed solitude after several hectic weeks.

 The "man-van," our getting-to-be-elderly Sportsmobile, cheerfully powered the pump to blow up JoAnn's craft, and then never failed to start again as I made multiple stops to take photographs of this glorious country that was the inspiration for many of Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings.  If you are a fan of hers, does anything in these photos look familiar?

The chamisa was in full bloom...

 Rabbitbrush, Guadalupe Goldenweed, Chamisa, Rubber Rabbit-brush
Ericameria nauseosa (Chrysothamnus nauseosus)
Asteraceae (Compositae)
A medium shrub about 6 to 9 feet high, rabbitbrush has blue-green linear leaves and woolly white stems on a woody base, and bursts forth with masses of yellow flowers from September to November. It grows in the western part of North America from Canada to Mexico.  It is found in dry, well-drained soil. It is cold hardy to below 0 degrees F, but goes semi-dormant in hot summers; in Southern New Mexico  it benefits from shade from the west sun. It could serve as an informal hedge along drives, and makes a nice contrast with evergreens. In order to keep it full and stimulate blooming, prune it severely in the winter.
Chamisa is growing exuberantly on our property, but is only beginning to show a little yellow, most likely because our dry summer.

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