The Hanging Gardens of Zion
Along the Riverside Walk on our way to the Narrows of Zion, I couldn't help but notice the dazzling flowers lining the WALLS of the canyon! Little did I know, these were known as "hanging gardens", something I would LOVE to have within my own home because HOW AWESOME?!
Before visiting Zion, I had no idea how LUSH this park would be! Especially after camping out in the true desert of the Grand Canyon's South Rim.
As their name implies, hanging gardens are lush assemblages of plants found in association with small seeps within the Navajo Sandstone, usually located in shady cliff recesses well above ground level (Zion Natural History Association).
These supremely exclusive flora-forms are home to a distinctive combination of orchids, ferns, monkeyflowers (what a name, right?), primroses, and other wetland plants not typically associated with desert climates. According to the ZNHA, "these unique ecological systems are rare in the southwest, but relatively frequent at several sites within Zion Canyon." ¡Frío frijoles!
Personally, I found the Foster’s columbine (pictured above, left) to be the most beguiling, especially since it is found only within Zion Canyon! My favorite fleur name, however, has to be the SHOOTING STAR (pictured above, right). That name ALONE suggests how ENCHANTING these hanging gardens really are. In short? If you ever make it to Zion, be sure to prepare yourself for an unrivaled botanical and ecological experience!