Flowers

Red Bird Season Almost Over

It’s that time of the fall when the Red Bird Of Paradise (Pride of Barbados) shrubs in the courtyard are about through with their production of gorgeous flowers (and pea pods). Within the next few days, we will be cutting them back to the ground for the winter. However, they will be back by next late May or early June for another colorful season.

The image above (click to enlarge) is of some of the last flowers on one of the shrubs. Canon EOS Rebel T6i, 1/1024 sec, F5.6, ISO 250, EF-S18-135mm lens @89mm.

More about these flowering shrubs from Wikipedia:

Caesalpinia pulcherrima is a species of flowering plant in the pea family.

It is a shrub growing to 3 m tall. In climates with few to no frosts, this plant will grow larger and is semievergreen. Grown in climates with light to moderate freezing, plant will die back to the ground depending on cold, but will rebound in mid- to late spring. This species is more sensitive to cold than others. The leaves are bipinnate, 20–40 cm long, bearing three to 10 pairs of pinnae, each with six to 10 pairs of leaflets 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm broad. The flowers are borne in racemes up to 20 cm long, each flower with five yellow, orange, or red petals. The fruit is a pod 6–12 cm long.

UPDATE 10/07/2022: One down, two to go. There are still viable flower pods opening on the remaining two shrubs, so they will be there for another week or two.

UPDATE 10/16/2022: We took advantage of a break in the weather (we’ve been getting some rain) and removed shrub #2 and part of shrub #3 this morning. We don’t usually do chores on the Lord’s Day, but the whole operation took less than half an hour, so I guess we’re going to be OK with it.

UPDATE 10/17/2022: Verna and I finished off the removal of the last Red Bird shrub today. The courtyard now has only the bottlebrush shrubs which are winter hearty in this climate. There was one last cluster of flowers still remaining on the last red bird.

So, with this last (clickable) image, we say good-bye until spring to these beautiful flowers.

Cactus Garden in 3D

This is a view of a couple of the big barrel cacti along the strip just west of the RV Drive. The foreground cactus is a “Devil’s Tongue” barrel cactus while the background shows a “Golden” barrel cactus. An open flower adorns the cactus in front.

In case you don’t have a pair of 3D Glasses, you can view the 2D version of the photo above here.

Pod Casting

That was our morning courtyard chore today, casting the poisonous seed pods of our Red Bird of Paradise shrubs. When we say “casting,” we mean into a trash receptacle. We remove the pods, as seen growing on the raceme flower stalk in the image to the right (click to enlarge), and dispose of them. If we don’t remove the pods, they could fall to the ground in the courtyard and, while we generally don’t allow the dogs access to the courtyard, one of them might take a notion to eating a pod that has fallen, God forbid.

The Red Bird Flowers themselves, on the other hand, continue to be as beautiful as ever this year. The showy flowers dazzle our senses every spring through late fall. See for yourself in the image below.

Compass Cactus Flower

I happened to be up in the “outback” (the hill behind the RV drive) yesterday to take photos of our recently recovered RV slide-out toppers when I noticed a flower opened on our Compass Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus). These flowers open generally in May and June, but as has been the case this year, many cacti around town have had late blooming flowers here in mid to late July. Click on the image to enlarge.

From LLIFLE (Edited for brevity):

Origin and Habitat: The various variety of Ferocactus cylindraceus (= Ferocactus acanthodes) are spread in the southern of United States (central and western Arizona, southeastern California Nevada, and Utah) and southwards into Mexico (Baja California and Sonora).

Altitude range: From sea level to 1750 meters.

Habitat: This cactus is locally abundant in arid gravelly or rocky foothills, canyon walls, fans and wash margins, sometimes on the plains among creosote bush scrub, it also utilizes slopes and acid igneous rock lands. The species is limited in its northwards range by frost conditions. To reduce the damage by frost the plant is found on south facing slopes and it leans to the south to protect the sensitive growing tip by placing it for best exposure to the sun.

Common Names include:
Spiny Barrel Cactus, Le Conte Barrel Cactus, Barrel Cactus, Golden-spined Barrel Cactus, Desert Barrel Cactus, Cliff Barrel Cactus, Compass Barrel Cactus, Golden-Spined Barrel, Desert Barrel, California Barrel Cactus, Cliff Barrel, Compass Barrel, Compass Cactus

2022 Cherry Red Cactus Flowers Now Opening

There are several pots in our courtyard containing Trichocereus Grandiflorus cactus (a.k.a. Cherry Red or Torch Cactus). We have been watching a few of the flower buds getting ready to open and today the first ones were out.

We acquired the “parent” cactus several years ago and at one point separated the “mother” from several “pups” which are now planted in their own pots in the courtyard. The one above is a pup with flowers open while the mother is still getting ready to open her flowers.

Click on the image to enlarge.

2022 Saguaro Cactus Flowers Now Opening

The 2022 spring cactus flower season is well underway with the opening of some of the beautiful Saguaro Cactus Flowers. This one was on our big cactus near the garage and courtyard this morning. Click on the image to enlarge © 2022 VBI Dynamics. Usage OK with Link and/or credit.

  • Camera: Canon EOS REBEL SL1
  • Lens: Canon EF-S55-250mm
  • Exposure: 1/400Sec
  • Aperture: F7.1
  • ISO: 100
  • Focal Length: 250mm