I do not take many landscape photos in high summer. It is too hot to walk around the campo and on most days in July and August the light loses its clarity because of the heat haze. This year, though, there is one phenomenon that I had to record: the spectacular flowering of the agaves.
We think that, because of the extra rain we had in early spring, far more agaves than usual were persuaded to flower. They do this by sending up tall shoots, resembling spears of giant asparagus, from their centres. These gradually unfold, sprouting branches at the tips of which are dense clusters of buds.The buds open to reveal their bright cushions of yellow flowers. After flowering, the main plant dies and, after some time, the stem collapses to the ground. Before this happens, though, the plant shoots off hundreds of seeds which root themselves in the soil. Traditionally, the dried, woody, main stems (called pitacas) were collected and used for roofing timbers in the simple country cortijos.
These photos were taken at Las Hortichuelas this morning. Typical colours of the landscape of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata in July.