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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We purchased these Bottle Brush shrubs last spring from a local (overpriced) nursery to replace the Cleveland Sage shrubs that had a propensity to partially die and then grow partially back. Very ugly in the courtyard. But now, the new shrubs have green foliage and are making red flowers just in time for the Christmas season. These have already attracted bees and hummingbirds and a few of the remaining butterflies.
Once these shrubs have established themselves, they should expand to about the same size as the old sage bushes, but seem to be considerably less messy and less work to keep them pruned to a size appropriate to the courtyard environment. Click on the image to enlarge.
Now that the really hot daytime temperatures have abated, we have what we call “second spring” here in Arizona. That is the time when there are still flowers blooming, bees buzzing and of course hummingbirds and butterflies browsing the remaining flowers.
I captured this image of a black and yellow butterfly alight on one of the red bird of paradise flowers in the courtyard. The butterfly browsed there long enough for me to get my camera, go out into the courtyard and take several images of it before it flew away in the late morning breeze.
Second spring will be over within just a few weeks, giving way to actual autumn-like weather with leaves turning or falling and the red bird shrubs going dormant for the late fall and winter. Although we love the summers here, it will be nice for some cooler weather to prevail and, as we know, harsh winter weather seldom comes our way. In nearly six years of living here, we have seen snow stick to the ground only once.
Click on the image to enlarge.
This beautiful red rose was fully open yesterday at my sister’s place in the Central California area. The rose bush is beside the driveway where our RV is parked while we are visiting with family here. Click on the image to enlarge.
We will be headed towards the southern part of the state in a couple of days for another visit with the southern branch of our California family as we make our way back home. We will see our newest grandbaby for a short window of time over the weekend. It has been a couple of months and we are anxious to see him.