Archive for Home & Garden

June Flowers

Saguaro Flowers Red Bird of Paradise Flower
Bishop’s Cap Cactus Flowers Fishhook Cactus Flowers

June is another colorful month here in our Arizona abode in which we have many late spring flowers opening. Upper left above is the Arizona State Flower of the Saguaro Cactus. Our big saguaro had many of these since May and there are a few late comers yet to open. Upper right is the showy and colorful Red Bird of Paradise flower. This is a close up of one of many, many currently open in the courtyard. Lower Left is our reliable old Bishop’s Cap cactus with too many open flowers to count, which is a regular thing for this little barrel cactus, even in the other months of the year. Finally, at lower right is the little rescued Fish Hook Cactus in a pot out back with two open flowers. There will be several more to come as June continues. Click on any of the images to enlarge.

Even though the Fish Hook and Saguaro Cactus Flowers will disappear soon, the Red Birds will continue to adorn our courtyard throughout the entire Summer and into the Second Spring months of Fall. The Bishop’s Cap will produce flowers on and off when it feels like doing so.

Update: 16 June - Some of our Cherry Red Cactus Flowers opened today:

Cherry Red Cactus Flower

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Fragrant Gardenia Flowers

Fragrant Gardenia

I have been babying a gardenia bush that we bought a couple of years ago at one of the garden shops locally. This year, I moved it from the courtyard where it gets a lot of abusive sun to a nook in the back patio where it gets some sun, but not too much. Pictured above is one of several (6 maybe) open flowers on the bush today.

This is the first year since we bought the bush that it has produced many flowers and buds. They might all open soon and I’m hoping that second spring will bring more on October or so. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Updated Blog Banners

House Current Appearance

The blog header image we were using here has become obsolete because the appearance of our house has changed quite a bit since eight years ago when the original header was created. I went out today and got the image above with a 17mm wide-angle lens on my Canon SL1. I added the graphic titles and cropped the image as shown in the new header at the top of the page.

The old header, shown below for reference, contained landscape items no longer seen and much less mature xeriscape items. We removed several creosote trees and added a retaining wall by the lower RV drive and in front of the house by the road.

Old Banner

I also updated the banner on our Food Blog.

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Paddle Cactus Rescue

Paddle Cactus Rescue

Perhaps the post title should include “In Progress,” since the cactus isn’t yet in it’s ultimate destination. The image above shows the original location and now in the pot to which it has been transplanted. Click on the image to enlarge.

We recently discovered a small (1½ inch) prickly pear cactus trying to grow alongside the concrete RV Drive just west of the house. That particular location is unsuitable for a new cactus start-up for a couple of reasons, First, it is too close to the RV Drive to be able to develop into a larger plant and, second, that location offers little or no protection from cactus-eating wildlife. As a small single paddle, it would be bite-sized for a Javelina.

We took the start-up cactus out of the ground and placed it in a five-inch clay pot for the time being. When it gets a bit bigger, we will move it o a larger pot until it gets developed enough to stick it back in the ground on the west side of the house where it will have a better chance of survival in the wild as a larger cactus.

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Mid-April Cactus Flowers

Star Cactus Flower Hedgehog Cactus Flower
Beavertail Cactus Flowers Two Beavertail Flowers

Spring Months in our part of Arizona is always a colorful spectacle with the various native and some imported flowers. The native flowers above are the three with pink, being Hedgehog Cactus Flower (above right) and Beavertail Cactus Flowers (both lower pictures). The non-native is an Astrophytum (Star Cactus) flower whose cactus species is native to other parts of North America including Mexico.

The Star Cactus does well here and has given us many flowers, not always confined to spring like the others shown. Given our mild winters here, the Star and its cousin the Bishop’s Cap Cactus show flowers several times during the year.

Click on any of the images to enlarge.

UPDATE: 04/22/20 - Argentine Giant Cactus Flowers

Argentine Giant Cactus Flowers

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Our First 2020 Cactus Flower

Hedgehog Cactus Flower

One of the Hedgehog Cacti (echinocereus engelmanii) in front of the house had an open flower today. This is the first flower of any cacti around the house and in the courtyard. This cactus is one of the older cacti which was originally right next to our lot and transplanted to its present location. It has flowered every year since put in its present position.

From American Southwest Website:

Like most hedgehog cacti, the spring flowers of echinocereus engelmannii are very bright and colorful. They are followed by spiny, greenish fruits that turn red when ripe. Stems are upright at first but may fall to the ground with old age and grow laterally. This is one of the most common of the hedgehog cacti.

This cactus is “expecting” many more flowers in days to come soon. Click on the image to enlarge.

UPDATE: Cherry Red Cactus Flower opened today!

Cherry Red Cactus Flower

UPDATE: 04APR2020 - Beavertail Flowers now opening - this is the first one on the cactus out front of the house>

Beavertail Flower

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Yard Cleanup - Feeding the Chipper

Feeding the Chipper

Over the past months (maybe over a year) we have trimmed mesquite tree branches away from the driveway and in the back and front yard areas. We also recently removed a few branches from the plum tree in the courtyard to encourage it to grow upward. When we don’t have time to break the limbs down and stuff them into the refuse bin, we sometimes drag them across the road to our lot over there to be dealt with at a future time.

Well, the future is here. Yesterday, Verna and I took the chipper that we bought last spring over there to dispose of the branches and create some mulch for Verna’s gardening. I took the 3KW Honda Generator in the back of the pickup so we could have power to run the chipper.

We got most of the work done in that single session and created a box full of wood chip mulch that Verna can spread on her trees and other items she grows. There remains some thicker branches that we will chop into firewood for our neighbors that have fireplaces.

When operating the chipper, the manufacturer recommends protection for eyes and ears (pieces fly and it’s loud). I borrowed the goggles and earmuffs from the range bag for the job. Click on the image to enlarge.

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