Archive for Home & Garden

Queen of the Night Cactus Flower

Queen of the Night

We have been waiting for the last bud to open on the Queen of the Night cactus (Peniocereus greggii) across from our driveway. There were two buds, but one came and went already before we noticed. We managed to get this shot last evening after nine PM local time after watching the ISS fly over. Click on the image to enlarge.

There are several p. greggii growing in the wild around the property. We also have one cutting that we have growing in a pot in the courtyard. Only a couple of the cacti are accessible at night which is when the flowers open.

The cutting in the courtyard finally has shown us a new branch and we are hoping that we will be getting flowers on it too. That is not likely this year, but we will be keeping watch on it.

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Two Types of Fishhook Cactus Flowers

Mammillaria sheldonii

Mammillaria yaquensis

Both of these cacti have open flowers today. On top, open in the back patio area, is a local native mammillaria sheldonii fishhook cactus we rescued from a construction area down the road a year or two ago. Below, open in the courtyard out front is a mammillaria yaquensis fishhook cactus that was a gift from our friend Crotalus.

Click on either image to enlarge.

Update: Crotalus advises us that the top panel specimen might actually be mammillaria tetrancistra. The one we quoted above typically is found only in Mexico.

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Lantana Shrubs

Lantana

The Wikipedia Page for generic Lantana enumerates about 150 species for the genus of these shrubs. I’m not going to begin to venture a guess as to which one is depicted in the image.

We were at the Community Hospital clinic today to see one of the specialists and this nice flowering bush was along the sidewalk leading into the facility. I took this close-up of a couple of florets on the bush. In this image you can see how the more mature flowers in the cluster turn orange and yellow with age:

Lantana’s aromatic flower clusters (called umbels) are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets. Other colors exist as new varieties are being selected. The flowers typically change color as they mature, resulting in inflorescences that are two- or three-colored.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Red Bird of Paradise Flowers

Red Bird Flowers

The first of this season’s gorgeous Pride of Barbados (a.k.a. Red Bird of Paradise) flowers have opened. This is about a week earlier than in previous years. It seems that as the shrubs mature, they get their flowers earlier.

All three of the Red Bird shrubs have flower pods; the one shown above is on the westernmost of the three and is the only one with pods open today. This past winter we cut the shrubs to the ground as usual, but shortly after that and very early in late winter, the foliage reappeared.

There are lots of flower pods out there and I expect to have a lot of these colorful flowers opening all summer. Click on the image to enlarge.

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“Cherry Red” Cereus Cactus Flowers

Cherry RedOur Trichocereus “Cherry Red” Cactus is fully in bloom this weekend. This is the second year we have had this cactus in its pot on the courtyard patio.

From Tucson Cactus and Succulents:

Trichocereus hybrids grow well in large pots or in the ground in the desert Southwest. Some growers can adapt them to full sun, but to avoid sunburn it’s safer to grow them in light shade, as under an unirrigated mesquite or palo verde tree. They respond dramatically to generous water and fertilizer. With weekly watering and monthly feeding, the best cultivars will flush massive blooms every two weeks or so for three months or even longer. With water restriction, bloom will be much reduced in number. (Some clones will flower for only one or two days a year; there is a great deal of genetic as well as cultural variability.) The authors obtain superb results using a water soluble ‘Bloom’ formula fertilizer, one with low nitrogen and high phosphate. Deadheading (cutting off the spent blooms) close to the stem will result in greater flowering potential since the plants may often abort new flower buds in favor of producing fruit from pollinated flowers. Trichocereus flowers may be enjoyed as cut flowers indoors in water.

If you live in the desert, you’ll need to protect your trichos from javelinas, rabbits, squirrels, or even deer; they will eat your flowers. Additionally, insect pests may include, the giant cactus beetle, Moneilema gigas, the cactus weevil, Cactophagus species, thrips, and cactus moth (blue cactus borer), Cactobrosis fernaldialis. These can easily be treated with regular applications of systemic insecticides.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Astrophytum Flowers Open

Astrophytum Flowers

Four of the flower buds on the Astrophytum “Star” Cactus in the courtyard opened up today. These are the first flowers on this barrel cactus since last year in early June. Click on the image to enlarge.

After getting home from our recent vacation from retirement ( :lol: ), we haven’t been doing too much other than just getting back into our normal at home routine. We have some disruptions pending that include taking the new motorhome to the dealer to fix warranty squawks and an appointment with Bob’s urologist for more bladder biopsy stuff, all of which will be this month. June should see us back to our summer routine here in the desert.

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And Now, For The Yellow Cactus Flowers . . .

Prickly Pear Flower

As springtime progresses, more flowers open up. We have several types of opuntia (prickly pear) cactus in the rock and cactus garden west of the house. The first flowers to open are on the beavertail cactus which have pink flowers. Now the other opuntia are starting to show their yellow flowers.

Most of the cacti in the garden were started from a single paddle while a couple are native to that patch of ground and a couple others are transplants. The cactus whose flower appears above is a hybrid in that it was started elsewhere from a paddle and has been transplanted to its current location a couple of years ago when we were preparing to have the RV drive concrete poured.

All of the opuntia out in the west side lot are thriving. None meed much attention although we did trim up one of the lawyer’s tongue cactus which was spreading too wide with several paddles laying on the ground. That cactus, and a couple of other offshoots elsewhere out there were started from a single paddle that we planted in a barrel in the courtyard before relocating.

The best part of a cactus garden is that it does well if you ignore it. We do, however, drizzle some water on a couple of ocotillos from time to time. One of the transplanted ocotillos is doing very well this spring, with leaves and some cane-tip flowers.

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