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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.


First Triple Digit Day of 2017

Dry Heat

We observed Wickenburg’s first triple digit temperature for the year on our back patio this afternoon. It had been getting warmer for a week or so, but today it went over 100.

Damsel took a photo looking north from the road up the hill from our place as we were coming home from an errand to the grocery store. The scattered clouds did not aid in keeping it any cooler on the surface that we could notice.

The forecast is for continued warm days through Thursday when we should drop back into the high 80’s to low 90’s. There is no rain in the forecast (yet). Needless to say, the A/C went on yesterday and will likely stay on until we’re on the road again this summer.

Click on the image to enlarge.


“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.


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.


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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Argentine Giant Cactus Flower

Argentine Giant Cactus Flower

We didn’t get any flowers on our Argentine Giant cactus last year although every year before that since we planted it, it had at least one flower. This year, it definitely is back to flower production, this one being the first to open with several other bumps on the cactus that look like they are going to be flowers.

I took this photo late this afternoon when the flower was almost completely open. Maybe we will get nighttime pollinators again like we did two years ago. Click on the image to enlarge.

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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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