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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Throwback Thursday Wanderlust

Four Corners Area These pictures must have been taken somewhere between 1998 and 2004. Verna and I were touring the southwest states back in the days when we were both working and living in California.

We took the top two photos at the Four Corners Monument where the state lines of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico intersect. I took the bottom photo the same day at Monument Valley, which is about a hundred miles west of the corners along the Utah-Arizona border. Verna is posing in front of the famous “Mittens” escarpments made famous by their repeated appearance in Hollywood western movies, mostly by director John Ford featuring John Wayne.

Later this month, we will begin an excursion that takes us to California for a couple of days, then on to Nevada, Utah and finally Arizona again. The Four Corners are not on the itinerary, but we plan on spending a night at Monument Valley.

We always take pictures of our trips and plan on posting some of them here and on other social media. Stay tuned!

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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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Maximizing the RV Parking Spot

Patio Clearance 3D

I figured a good way to demonstrate how close the new RV fits into the parking spot was to take a 3D image pair showing the overlap between the RV, the patio and the RV bedroom slide out. Click on the image to enlarge.

Here are a couple of images showing the RV parked in the barely big enough parking space with slide-outs and awning deployed: image 1, image 2.

From the other blog:

Now, we have upgraded to a Class A diesel pusher which is just about the shortest in the diesel category at 35 feet nine inches. We have three slide outs and an 18 foot awning, all of which can be deployed in the space available behind the garage. But just barely.

Of course, if you don’t yet have your free pair of 3D glasses to view the image above, you can see the 2D version here.

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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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Hedgehog Cactus Flowers

Hedgehog Cactus Flowers

This hedgehog cactus has been with us since we landscaped our place six years ago. The cactus was transplanted to its current location in front of the house from a spot on the other side of the driveway. It is now almost completely populated with these beautiful spring flowers.

Wikipedia has this item about Echinocereus Englemannii which I believe this cactus is:

The strawberry hedgehog cactus or Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii) is commonly found in desert areas of the southwestern United States and the adjacent areas of Mexico, including the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Baja California and Sonora. It usually grows in clusters, sometimes up to 20 and more stems. Its bright magenta flowers bloom in April in its southern extremes to late May at northern locations. The flowers are borne at the upper half to one third of the stem. They are funnelform in shape, up to 3.5 inches long with dark-green stigmas. The fruit is very spiny. At first it is green, becoming pink and drying when ripe. The ripe fruit has spines which are easily detached. The seeds are black, and around a tenth of an inch in size.

The stems are initially cylindrical and erect in young plants, but later with the stem base lying on the ground. The stems are usually 1.5 to 3.5 inches in diameter and up to 25 inches high, and obscured by heavy spines. The plants have around 10 ribs, which are somewhat flattened and tuberculate.

Spines variable in color and size. Radial spines are shorter and needlelike, up to 0.8 inch long, white and arranged in a neat rosette. Central spines number 2 to 7 and are stout, usually twisted or angular, up to 3 inches long and variable in color: bright yellow, dark brown, grey, and white.

Echinocereus engelmannii is commonly used as a landscape plant in its native areas. In pot culture it requires well aerated gritty substrate, and a hot and sunny location in the summer. In the winter the plant easily tolerates light frost and wet (if well-drained) soil. In cultivation it usually does not bloom until it develops 2-3 branches.

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