Archive for Home & Garden

Red Bird of Paradise Flower

Red Bird Flower

Now that summer is here, my gorgeous Red Bird of Paradise Flowers are everywhere in the front courtyard. The shrubs are about mid-size to how large they will be at the end of summer in into the fall.

The flower in the photo is one of the larger ones currently in bloom out front. The shrub on which it lives is the largest of the three in the courtyard. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Butterfly and Red Bird Flowers

Butterfly and Red Bird Flowers

A beautiful butterfly came into the courtyard this morning and was busily browsing the flowers on our Red Bird of Paradise (a.k.a. Pride of Barbados) shrubs. All three of the courtyard Red Birds now have flowers, so the little guy had a good selection to browse.

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.

Caesalpina pulcherrima is the national flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, and is depicted on the upper left and right corners of the Queen Elizabeth II’s personal Barbadian flag. Claire Waight Keller included pride of Barbados to represent the country in Meghan Markle’s wedding veil, which included the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Cherry Red Again

After separating the Cherry Red Cactus from several pups, we wondered if any of the pups would get flowers. Well, wonder no more . . .

Cherry Red Pup with Open Flower
 
Open Flower Close-up

This is one of two of the pups that had open flowers today. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Argentine Giant Cactus Flowers - A Dozen!

One Dozen Argentine Giant Cactus Flowers

In keeping up with the opening of spring flowers, we cannot overlook this spectacular display of a dozen open flowers at the same time on our Argentine Giant cactus. This is after five other previous flowers this spring on this same cactus. This is, by far, the most activity we have seen since planting this cactus in front of the house almost eight years ago.

The cactus is also showing other activity in the form of “arms” or new branches growing around its base. In time, the new growth should become cacti in their own right, with their own flowers and perhaps their own new arms. This should be interesting over the next few seasons.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Showy Cactus Flowers

Opuntia Basilaris Flower

And now the cactus flowers are opening. This is one of many beavertail cactus flowers open on the beavertail (opuntia basilaris) cactus in front of the house today. There are many more flowers to come on that cactus.

From Wikipedia:

Opuntia basilaris, the beavertail cactus or beavertail prickly pear, is a cactus species found in the southwest United States. It occurs mostly in the Mojave, Anza-Borrego, and Colorado Deserts, as well as in the Colorado Plateau and northwest Mexico. It is also found throughout the Grand Canyon and Colorado River region as well as into southern Utah and Nevada, and in the western Arizona regions along the Lower Colorado River Valley.

This cactus is a medium-sized to small prickly pear cactus 70–400 mm (2.8–15.7 in) tall, with pink to rose colored flowers. A single plant may consist of hundreds of fleshy, flattened pads. These are more or less blue-gray, depending on variety, 50–210 mm (2.0–8.3 in) long and less than 100 mm (3.9 in) wide and 10–15 mm (0.4–0.6 in) thick. They are typically spineless, but have instead many small barbed bristles, called glochids, that easily penetrate the skin. Opuntia basilaris blooms from spring to early summer.

The Wikipedia article fails to mention the Arizona High Sonoran Desert as a beavertail habitat. I assure you, they are here too. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Early Spring Flowers Opening

Purple and Yellow Freesias White Freesias
Yellow Freesias Gardenia

Some of my flowers in the courtyard are opening this week. Purple and Yellow Freesias, White Freesias, Yellow Freesias and a Gardenia.

Other than those shown above, we have daffodils and paperwhites that have opened. Also in the courtyard are several Cherry Red cacti which we separated from each other last fall which all seem to have flower buds coming.

Outside of the courtyard, there are numerous buds on the cacti around the yard. There are beavertail and hedgehog cacti with buds about to open soon and other prickly pear cacti with buds just starting to show.

It will be a colorful spring around the house this year. More pictures coming! Click on any image above to enlarge.

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Flowering Plum Tree

Plum Flowers

Spring officially starts tomorrow at about three in the afternoon Arizona time. Already, we are getting flowers in abundance on the plum tree in the courtyard. Click on the image to enlarge.

The rest of the xeriscape garden is also showing signs of spring. We have several beavertail cacti which all are sprouting flower and paddle buds. The Argentine Giant out front is showing flower buds and a new arm sprouting, maybe two. The other prickly pear cacti will be getting flowers later in spring. The giant saguaro out front should also be getting flowers in late spring.

In the courtyard, I have planted daffodil bulbs and the flowers are coming out as well. I love springtime in the desert!

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