Archive for Home & Garden

Catch and Release

Trapped

Release

One of the little antelope ground squirrels in the area has been making itself a bit of a pest by digging up Verna’s bulbs and roots in the courtyard. Earlier today, I set up the Havahart small animal trap with a piece of bread and peanut butter for bait. It wasn’t more than a half hour later that Cabela let us know the trap had been sprung.

Ever since we unwittingly caught a cactus wren in a rat trap by the trash barrels, it has been our policy to catch and release the pests. We caught this little guy in the courtyard and released it at Tractor Supply, about a mile away. That should work to keep it away from Verna’s garden for a while.

Click on either image to enlarge.

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Saguaro Flowers

Saguaro Flower

Late spring of 2018 has been quite the saguaro flower show in our Sonoran Desert. Our big cactus out front has had many and will have many more flowers opening.

From Wikipedia:

Flowers appear in April through June. They are white and open well after sunset and close in mid-afternoon. They continue to produce nectar after sunrise.[8] Flowers are self-incompatible, thus require cross-pollination. Large quantities of pollen are required for complete pollination because many ovules are present. This pollen is produced by the extremely numerous stamens which in one case totaled 3,482 in a single flower. A well-pollinated fruit contains several thousand tiny seeds. Saguaros have a redundant pollination system, i.e. full fruit set is possible even if only a fraction of the pollinating species are present.

Main pollinators are honey bees, bats, and white-winged doves. In most years, diurnal visitors are the main contributors for fruit, most of them honey bees. Other diurnal pollinators are birds such as Costa’s hummingbird, the black-chinned hummingbird, the broad-billed hummingbird, the hooded oriole, Scott’s oriole, the Gila woodpecker, the gilded flicker, the verdin, and the house finch.

We have enjoyed the “Bumper Crop” of flowers this year. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Colors in the Courtyard

Colors in the Courtyard
 
Pride of Barbados

It’s late spring and the Red Bird of Paradise colors are coming back to the courtyard. A.k.a Pride of Barbados, our Caesalpinia pulcherrima shrubs are beginning to show their summer colors of red, orange and yellow.

Flowers are currently open on the western most shrub but with others rapidly forming on the other two shrubs in the courtyard. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Saguaro and Sun Dogs

Saguaro and Sun Dogs

Just before we departed for an errand this afternoon, we noticed some solar rainbows positioned to the left and right side of the sun. I took my camera behind the big saguaro out front and used it as a shield to capture the image above.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Early Spring

Early Spring

We have been fortunate to have had spring-like weather since mid-January. The cactus flowers are blooming and the desert critters are out and about acting as though it were spring.

In the composite photo above, a curve billed thrasher looks around while sitting atop one of the bird feeders, a courtyard cactus is having many flowers and a house finch is trying out the new bird feeder in the mesquite tree in the back yard.

Moving to Arizona was one of the best things we’ve ever done. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Cactus Transplant

Star Cactus

We put our astrophytum ornatum (star cactus) in what will be our xeriscape plot next to the south side of the garage. The cactus was in a clay pot and needed to be transplanted soon, so we did it today.

The plan is to plant several small barrel cacti, like the star, to form a border along the walkway with taller cacti and other succulent plants behind the barrel border. We have identified a number of cacti we already have that we want to plant there and will add others as we acquire them from time to time.

It’s just another slow retirement project we will enjoy doing. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Star Cactus Flowers

Star Cactus Flowers

About a month ago, this Astrophytum was in bloom. Yesterday and today, it has open flowers again. This cactus seems to have flowers several times a year like our Bishop’s Cap Cactus.

The latter, unfortunately, has not had flowers this year. We have had that cactus for almost twenty years and maybe it’s through with flowers.

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