Archive | May 2014

Another Reason I Like Cactus

I walked out to the cactus bed while the sun was shining just right on this echinocereus, a claret cup hedgehog. The sun’s rays gave the blooms a lovely shine and iridescence. It almost looked surreal. I grabbed the camera and tried to capture the glow, but was not as successful as I would have hoped. Timing is everything when it comes to capturing the effects of sunlight.

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That’s why you just have to appreciate the flowers in person. And it is such a nice surprise to walk out to the cactus bed and discover a bright, unexpected splash of color. I may have already talked about this cactus or shared pictures of it, but it is worth revisiting.

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The flowers made a nice backdrop for this picture of Peaches, too. I just couldn’t resist.

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Another good thing about echinocereus is that the petals of the blooms are waxy and thick and last for several days. Many varieties and I think most of them are cold hardy, so they make a good choice for an outdoor planting. Keep them in mind next time you go shopping.

Just a Few Odds and Ends

It is midnight and even though we have a beautiful full moon, it is still dark enough to make it hard to check the ID tags on these plants, but I wanted to share them with you. the weather has been an abomination and I am getting ready to attend a 50th year class reunion-no pressure!-so I am afraid you will just have to wait till next week to see some of the things I will be doing in the big cactus garden, like rediscovering rocks and baby cactus that have literally disappeared under the blanket of dirt and sand blown in for the last few years of this drought. The fact that we live on a caliche road doesn’t help any.

You can probably identify some of these, like the kalanchoe cluster at the end.

So enjoy these flowers for now and tune in next week for more instructional and I hope helpful demonstrations of what you might need to do to your garden someday.

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The Blooming Season Has Begun

I think the cold weather may finally be officially passed. The cholla and prickly pear have ceased to droop and are putting on buds; the hedgehogs and rainbows are blooming, and one horse crippler has an early flower. This is the first week of May, the time my cactus bed traditionally begins to flower. So we are right on schedule. But of course, one should be careful what one wishes for. I couldn’t wait for the cold weather to finally be over. Well, it is. And with the fall of one sunset and the rise of that sun the next morning we are already into 90 degree-plus temperatures. So I have no choice but to enjoy all the color that is about to come my way. Let me share some of it with you.

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I even discovered that this horse crippler that I had written about earlier and thought I had lost to a cold and dry winter had not died after all-it was just shriveled and enveloped with dirt from all our sand storms. I took the hose to it, washing away all that dirt, and there it was, healthy and green! It even has buds forming and will flower soon-look closely for a touch of pink in the center.  So never give up on them until you know for sure they really have died!