Archive for Home & Garden

Cactus Flower Photography

Cactus Flower Photography

We enjoy raising cactus in the wild, in the rock and cactus garden and in the courtyard. When there are flowers on them, we both like to take photos of the beautiful blooms.

Above are a couple of images of today’s Astrophytum (Star Cactus) flowers open and I took a picture of Verna doing the picture taking of the flowers.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Barrel Cactus Flowers

Cactus Flowers

We don’t know the binomial designation of the barrel cactus producing these pinkish orange cactus flowers, but they are certainly beautiful. The cactus itself is in the downtown area near the American Legion Post. Click on the image to enlarge.

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“Cherry Red” Cactus Flowers

Trio of Hot Pink Flowers

Our Trichocereus “Cherry Red” Cactus is fully in bloom this weekend. This is the second year we have had this cactus in its pot on the courtyard patio.

From Tucson Cactus and Succulents:

Trichocereus hybrids grow well in large pots or in the ground in the desert Southwest. Some growers can adapt them to full sun, but to avoid sunburn it’s safer to grow them in light shade, as under an unirrigated mesquite or palo verde tree. They respond dramatically to generous water and fertilizer. With weekly watering and monthly feeding, the best cultivars will flush massive blooms every two weeks or so for three months or even longer. With water restriction, bloom will be much reduced in number. (Some clones will flower for only one or two days a year; there is a great deal of genetic as well as cultural variability.) The authors obtain superb results using a water soluble ‘Bloom’ formula fertilizer, one with low nitrogen and high phosphate. Deadheading (cutting off the spent blooms) close to the stem will result in greater flowering potential since the plants may often abort new flower buds in favor of producing fruit from pollinated flowers. Trichocereus flowers may be enjoyed as cut flowers indoors in water.

If you live in the desert, you’ll need to protect your trichos from javelinas, rabbits, squirrels, or even deer; they will eat your flowers. Additionally, insect pests may include, the giant cactus beetle, Moneilema gigas, the cactus weevil, Cactophagus species, thrips, and cactus moth (blue cactus borer), Cactobrosis fernaldialis. These can easily be treated with regular applications of systemic insecticides.

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Argentine Giant Cactus Flower

Argentine Giant Cactus Flower

This beauty opened up this afternoon. We waited until nearly dark to go out and get this photo of the fully opened flower. Click on the image to enlarge.

This cactus did not have flowers last year (although it did every other year before since we got it). This is the second flower this season, with another flower bud showing a potential for another later this week and at least one more bud tells us there might be more.

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Tight Fit

Palazzo Parked in RV Drive

When we upgraded the RV from a 32 footer to the nearly 36 footer we now have, we worried about whether or not it would fit in the RV Drive behind the house. Well, it does, but without much room to spare.

The first time we brought it home, Verna was outside watching all clearances as I drove the big guy in. Now, each time we bring it home, she does the same to guide me to the exact spot where we can deploy all three slide-outs.

We wrote about the clearance issue on the Minstrel Blog a week or so ago. That write-up has several images showing proximity between the rig and the structures from several angles.

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Ocotillo Flower Buds

Ocotillo Flower BudsOcotillo flower buds have started appearing on the ocotillo that we planted in the rock and cactus garden a couple of years ago. This ocotillo and another were rescued from a construction site by our neighbor who gave them to us to put in the garden.

The plants were dormant for quite a while until leaves and flower buds started appearing on this one a few weeks ago. The flower buds should start opening soon as many of the other ocotillos in town are already showing the crimson flowers atop the individual “canes” or stalks of the ocotillo. Note the spines on the canes.

image: flower buds and leaves near the end of one cane. Click on the image to enlarge.

From Wikipedia:

Fouquieria splendens (commonly known as ocotillo American Spanish: [oko?ti?o], but also referred to as coachwhip, candlewood, slimwood, desert coral, Jacob’s staff, Jacob cactus, and vine cactus) is a plant indigenous to the Sonoran Desert and Chihuahuan Desert in the Southwestern United States (southern California, southern Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas), and northern Mexico (as far south as Hidalgo and Guerrero).

Ocotillo is not a true cactus. For much of the year, the plant appears to be an arrangement of large spiny dead sticks, although closer examination reveals that the stems are partly green. With rainfall, the plant quickly becomes lush with small (2–4 cm), ovate leaves, which may remain for weeks or even months.

Individual stems may reach a diameter of 5 cm at the base, and the plant may grow to a height of 10 m (33 ft). The plant branches very heavily at its base, but above that, the branches are pole-like and rarely divide further, and specimens in cultivation may not exhibit any secondary branches. The leaf stalks harden into blunt spines, and new leaves sprout from the base of the spine.

The bright crimson flowers appear especially after rainfall in spring, summer, and occasionally fall. Flowers are clustered indeterminately at the tips of each mature stem. Individual flowers are mildly zygomorphic and are pollinated by hummingbirds and native carpenter bees.

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More Cactus Flowers

Argentine Giant Cholla Flowers Beavertail Cactus Flowers

We have had a couple of new varieties of open flowers the last week. Left to right are Argentine Giant, Cholla Flowers and Beavertail Cactus flowers. All beautiful and more to come. Click on any image to enlarge.

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