Archive for Home & Garden

Back in the RV Port

Back in the RV Port

After fetching the Thor Palazzo from the RV Dealer last week where warranty work had been accomplished (for the most part), we parked the big rig on the lot across the road from our house. This is because we can’t take the RV up the drive west of the house due to the road being washed out from summer monsoons.*

If the RV is parked across the road, that makes for some inconveniences:

  • No hookup access (sewer, electric, water)
  • Hundreds of feet away from the house for restocking and supply purposes
  • minimal security

Because we would really like to have the RV back up here with us, Damsel and I worked together to back the big guy up the east driveway and into its normal spot behind the garage. There were some challenges involved since the east driveway is steeper, we’re going in reverse and the existing structures (house, garage, retaining wall) are in fairly close proximity.

Working with Damsel, we made a couple of iterations at backing up the drive, once or twice making us both nervous, but we finally got the right combination of angles and distances such that the RV is now back where we can have access to the items listed above and with better security since we can see and hear better where it is now parked.

*We plan on fixing the washed out road over the winter months.

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More Queen Cactus Fruit

Queen Cactus Fruit

I posted a photo of this peniocereus greggii cactus fruit in a comment to a post I made late in September. This is the current appearance of the cactus fruit ripening on the queen cactus adjacent to the east part of the lot by our driveway.

This one, unlike the ones I posted about then, has not been hollowed out by birds or other critters yet. It looks to me like it is turning red like the other ones. I’ll keep an eye on it and post more when there is a change in appearance.

Encyclopedia of Life has these details about propagation of the Queen Cactus:

Peniocereus greggii blooms for 4 to 12 nights each season, with most flowers opening synchronously at dusk and closing at dawn (Raguso et al. 2003). This species is also known to self-incompatible, so pollination by an insect, usually a hawk moth or honeybee, is required for successful fruit maturation (Raguso et al. 2003). Fruits are red, fleshy and ripe during the fall migration season and are dispersed by birds (Suzan et al. 1994).

Update 10/12/2017: The fruit is now ripe and the birds have begun to peck out the pulp. Click on the image to enlarge.

ripe

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Queen Cactus Fruit

Cactus Fruit

When Damsel and I were walking our dogs after breakfast this morning, we saw something up on the neighboring hill we could not readily identify. There were three bright red objects up among the natural vegetation on the hill. We conjectured that it might be cardinals perched up there, but at that distance it was difficult to verify. Moreover, the red objects did not move and our observation of cardinals is that they do not stay in one place for very long.

We finished the dog walking and I returned to the road where we see the red objects with my 300mm long lens and Canon SL1 camera. I took a couple of photos and went back into the office to download them to see what it could be so bright red up there. When I zoomed in, albeit low resolution, I could see that these red objects were ripe fruit growing on a Peniocereus greggii (Queen of the Night) cactus. We had no notion that they could be this bright red.

Although the area where the cactus was growing is in a marginally accessible area in the wild desert just west of our house, I ventured up there to try and get some closer photos of the cactus fruit. As you can see, I was able to get close enough to get he photo above. Click on the image to enlarge.

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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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