The Natural World |Survivors: An Ode To Desert Blooms
1 Floom Magazine Writer Profile James Darton 1


James Darton

Contributing Editor

At Floom we’re lucky enough to work with some of the finest florists in the city, who (if we dare say so ourselves) elevate the craft of flower-arranging to an art form. A deftly trimmed stem here, a meticulously positioned burst of colour there: suddenly your dinner party has the perfect centrepiece, one that says, “I’m sophisticated enough to have evolved from grubby house parties but not so sophisticated that I’m ready to settle for a boring bunch of generic lilies to accompany an average Bolognese just yet.”

(Or something.)

The thing is, when we’re constantly surrounded by such impressive floral creations, its easy to sometimes completely divorce the plants themselves from the lands in which they first flourished. Nature is not the cute and Disney-fied playground we’d perhaps like it to be. Nature, as Darwin rightly pointed out, is grounded in struggle: a constant battle for survival. Which of course can make the incredible beauty of flowers all the more remarkable. 

Consider this then a love letter to the flowers that thrive in some of the most difficult terrains out there, as we look to the deserts of the world for flowers that prosper in the most unexpected of places.

1 Floom Magazine Flowers In Baren Places Siberia Chara Desert Flowers Michael Schneider 1

Chara Sands

Images of the Chara Sands read at first glance like some classic, painted cover to a pulpy, vaguely dystopian fantasy paperback. You know the ones I mean - majestic brushstrokes of elements that shouldn’t quite exist in the same universe as each other, yet through some twist of magic do.

Chara Sands in south-east Siberia, is this fantastical liminal space where desert dunes sprawl amidst the vegetative swamps and icy mountain ranges you would expect to find in such a part of the world. There is no consensus as to just how the four-mile long stretch of desert sand came to be, but most hypotheses tend to focus on it as the location of a great glacial lake that sat there many millennia ago. 

Buffeted by the frosty howls of Siberia from all sides, and comprised of seemingly nothing but sand: it is the last place you would expect flowers to grow. Yet grow they do: the sands blossom sporadically in the warmer months with bright purple flowers, turned to crystalline snowflakes when the winter snow casts its glaze over the desert.

1 Floom Magazine Flowers In Baren Places Namaqualand 1


600 miles of arid desert along the west coast of Namibia and South Africa are briefly transformed each year into a kaleidoscope of colour. Dry dust is replaced by orange and white daisies that squirm up through the cracked rocks and soil along with hundreds of other species.

1 Floom Magazine Flowers In Baren Places Robert Greco The Flowering Desert 1

The Flowering Desert

A curious climatic phenomenon takes place in the Chilean desert of Atacama during years of abnormally high rainfall. In normal circumstances, Atacama has the appearance of a typical South American desert, but when rain rises above the average 12mm the seeds and bulbs that have laid dormant blossom from September through November. The flowers then burst into vibrant life during the early spring, causing the cycle to start over again (or not, as the case may be).

The striking sight of the ‘flowering’ attracts visitors from all over the world, who come to witness the rare sight of endless desert blooms: the bright purples and oranges that flood the landscape are from native plants such as the Garra de Leon and the Pata de Guanaco.

Photo Credits:

Chara Sands: Michael Schneider

Flowering Desert: Robert Greco

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