Archive for Home & Garden

21 Flower Salute

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Even more spectacular than last year’s opening, our “Cherry RedTrichocereus Grandiflorus cactus presented us with twenty-one beautiful hot pink flowers this morning. Despite the Cherry Red nomenclature, the color of the petals in bright sunlight has a definite pink tinge.

This is our third, and most spectacular year of flowers on this cactus. It is in it’s original pot from when we bought it, and now needs to be transplanted into a larger pot or into the ground in the rock and cactus garden. The only problem with the latter option is that I’m afraid that the desert wildlife will nibble on the cactus, buds and fruit. I have a larger pot into which we will put the cactus and all of it’s satellite “pups” to remain in the courtyard where it is less likely to be damaged by the critters.

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Hedgehog Cactus in Bloom

Pink Hedgehog Cactus Flower

This is a flower in bloom on one of the transplant hedgehog cacti out front. This one used to be up on the hill behind us near the north property line. These beautiful flowers were mostly hidden under the desert brush up there until we moved it down here.

Our spring days continue to be beautiful with warm temperatures and sunshine. Today, we’re both in shorts and had a backyard BBQ session with filet mignon on the grill. Retirement in the Arizona desert is good.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Native Cacti

Compass Cactus Christmas Cactus Fishhook Barrel Cactus

I am still taking it easy and relaxing after surgery last Friday, but I wanted to get outside since it is a nice spring-like Arizona day. I took my Canon SL1 up the hill behind the house and took some photos of “stuff” I could see up there.

Once you’re behind the retention walls out back, it is all natural desert. The vegetation and wildlife are typical of the Sonoran Desert. Other than having moved a hedgehog cactus to the lower lot, nothing up there is managed.

The three cacti pictured above are all located in the natural part of the lot. Left to right, they are Compass Cactus, Christmas Cactus and California Barrel Cactus. I don’t know (or can’t remember) the binomial botanical names for these three. Click on the images to enlarge.

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Bishop’s Cap Flowers

Bishop’s Cap Flowers

We have had this cactus for a very long time. We originally bought it at a garden shop near Chandler, AZ way back in the late 1990’s. It lived with us in California and then moved with us to Arizona. It gave us lots of flowers over the years. Then, a couple of years ago, It started growing another barrel on top of the crown. Lately, the flower buds have come out on the new growth.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Cactus Planting Day

Peruvian Apple CactusAfter our usual Monday morning activities were complete, Damsel and I decided it was time to put some of the potted cacti sitting in the side courtyard into the ground. We should have done this a long time ago, since a couple of the cacti had started sending roots into the courtyard ground through the drain holes in the bottom of their pots.

Today’s weather was Arizona perfect for these outdoor chores. It was mostly overcast with the temperature in the high sixties, nearly perfect conditions for digging a hole.

The first cactus to go into the ground is pictured on the right. The label on the pot said it was a “cereus peruvianus montrose,” or, as I learned from the internet, a Montrose Peruvian Apple Cactus. This cactus has been doing well in the courtyard in its pot and has given us numerous flowers typical of night-blooming cereus.

In addition to the cereus, we had three one-gallon pots, each containing a golden barrel cactus. These three were added in the rock slope in front and to the side of the house where we already had planted five other golden barrels a while back.

There are three or four more potted cacti in the courtyard which we didn’t get to today. But, now that the weather is going to be like this or cooler for a while, we will try and get to the others in the weeks ahead. Of course, we probably won’t stop there as the landscaping is an on-going endeavor that we may never finish.

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Persistent Second Spring Weather

Bottle Brush Devil’s Tongue Cactus Flower

The butterflies, bees and hummingbirds are still going strong even though we’re in the middle of December. Our daytime temperatures have been in the mid to upper seventies and the nights, although cool, have been mild in the upper forties to lower fifties.

I took both of these photos today. The flower on the left is on a bottle brush shrub in the courtyard and the flower on the right is on a Devil’s Tongue barrel cactus in the rock and cactus xeriscape garden across the driveway to the west.

The official first day of winter will be in a week or so, but we are hoping that our spring-like days will continue for a while. Click on either image to enlarge.

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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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