Archive for Arizona

First 2017 Hedgehog Flower

First Hedgehog Flower

Two of the hedgehog cacti in front of the house had open flowers today, one on each. The flower in the image above is on the hedgehog cactus that we transplanted to the front from way up near the back property line where we seldom go to enjoy and take pictures of the flowers. Now that it’s out front, we will likely get to see all the flowers open.

We have a total of four clumps of hedgehogs out front with another in a pot out in the courtyard. The potted hedgehog and two of the ones in the ground out front have flower buds, but two others have none that I can find. Bob was on the hill yesterday and reported that the two clumps up there also have no buds and appear to be dormant.

As flowers continue to appear in our little desert plot, I will continue to take pictures of them and post them here. Click on the image above to enlarge.

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Claret Cup Cactus Flowers

Claret Cup Cactus Flowers

Echinocereus triglochidiatus is the binomial name for the Claret Cup Cactus. I must admit that these beautiful flowers are not in our garden, but are in a xeriscape garden in a local shopping center. I would like to have some of this variety of cactus in our rock and cactus garden someday.

From Wikipedia:

Echinocereus triglochidiatus is a species of hedgehog cactus known by several common names, including kingcup cactus, claretcup, and Mojave mound cactus. This cactus is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it is a resident of varied habitats from low desert to rocky slopes, scrub, and mountain woodland. It is most abundant in shady areas.

There are a number of varieties of this highly variable cactus species, but not all are universally recognized. In general it is a mounding cactus, forming bulbous piles of few to hundreds of spherical to cylindrical stems. It is densely spiny and somewhat woolly. The showy flower is a funnel shaped bloom up to 8 or 9 centimeters wide and bright scarlet red to orange-red tepals. There is a thick nectar chamber and many thready pink stamens at the center of the corolla. The flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Our First 2017 Cactus Flower

Pink Beavertail Cactus Flower

This flower just opened today on a little Opuntia Basilaris planted out front in the red rocks just above the road and below the garage. This cactus is a transplant from another part of the property behind the house.

There are other flowers opening soon or are already open; the lemon tree has blossoms and my golden barrel cactus has a flower opening soon. The plum tree is sprouting leaves and has many open flowers.

Desert springtime is just a very pleasant time for flower lovers. We plan to show a lot of the flowers as they appear.

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Springtime is Imminent in The Arizona Desert

Cactus Flower Buds Plum Flowers Lemon Flower Buds

We have been fortunate here in the Arizona upper Sonoran Desert region to have had increasing spring-like temperatures over the past two weeks. It seems like we have turned the corner for springtime with high temps in the upper 70’s to low 80’s. The overnight low temperatures are now at or above 60 degrees.

The three images above were taken this afternoon and are (left to right) cereus cactus buds, flowers on our plum tree and flower buds forming on our lemon tree. We also notice flower buds on many of the native cacti and there has been activity in the bird nests that we can see. As was mentioned on the other blog, we have spotted many of the migratory birds back in the area after their winter absence.

We realize that this is a poor time to brag about our wonderful climate since much of the north eastern part of our nation will be in blizzard mode for a couple of days. We pray for the safety and well being of those in that part of the country as they batten down the hatches.

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Maiden Voyage

Palazzo in Palm Desert

On Friday, we finished preparations for our initial excursion in the new RV. We had been stocking the RV with the necessities ever since we brought it home from the dealer. Naturally, we didn’t remember everything, so we went without some items and improvised on others. Damsel has been keeping a log of things we need the next time. It will be better next month.

The drive out was a pretty good test for the new rig. We encountered gusty winds and the usual rough road on select places along I-10. The Palazzo handled much better than our previous class A. The new air ride smoothed out the teeth-chattering bad spots on I-10 between Quartzsite and Blythe to mere thuds underneath rather than the entire inventory of dishes and other things on board banging up and down. The rear-engine configuration allowed normal conversation in the cockpit rather than having to shout to be heard, especially when in lower gears going uphill.

We will be back out here again sometime in March for another visit. In April, however, we have a longer excursion planned to Northern California to welcome our second great grandchild who is due the middle of that month. We will also take some scenic routes along the way going and returning.

We are enjoying the new rig and accessories. The DirecTV receiver allows us to view our regular programming just like we were at home. Wait! We ARE at home away from home. :D

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Phoenix Metro at Rush Hour

Metro at Rush Hour

Due to missing a turnoff when returning from Mesa, AZ, Damsel and I encountered the daily Phoenix Metro area rush hour traffic. Damsel snapped this photo as we crossed AZ State Route 51 in heavy traffic. Had I made the turnoff from Loop 202 to Loop 101 as originally planned, we could have saved a lot of time and aggravation rather than merging onto I-10 with everyone else.

Our purpose for visiting Camping World of Mesa started out to be a look and see of their diesel motorhomes, but it wound up with us making a commitment to purchase a new RV. We will post more about that next week when we take delivery.

Other than the messed up traffic, look at the beautiful, clear day the Valley was having. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset

Wintertime brings cloudy skies from time to time, and, so far, this January has been more cloudy than not. A nice thing about the partially cloudy skies late in the day is the brilliant, fiery color display produced as the sun sinks below the horizon. I took this image last week during a break in the weather.

For the rest of January, the weather outlook is for more sun and more occasional rain. We can deal with the clouds now, since there are statistically likely to be 300 days of sunshine this year. Most of the overcast cloud covers seem to occur in the Winter. We are looking forward to having warmer, sunnier days.

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