Posts Tagged ‘cactus flowers’

for Squares: bright and Life in Colour: pink

Color in April is different in Arizona than in every other place I’ve lived, starting from ground level up. Except for Steamboat Springs where April was mud season, April almost everywhere else starts with a carpet of green grass covered or at least dotted in many places by innumerable wildflowers. Not so in Arizona where in populated areas grass is replaced by a layer of rocks with individual or small groups of plants dotting it, and in the desert, not much of anything with the same individual or groups of plants. There is grass, but it requires large amounts of water, something I find irresponsible when you live in a desert.

Be that as it may, we were blessed in our rental house because we have a great variety of plants. Most of the other rentals I viewed had nothing in the backyard and I mean nothing, nothing but “dirt” and “dirt” here is a cement-like thing called caliche, nothing like in the Midwest where you can easily sink a shovel into the earth almost anywhere. One of the nicknames of caliche is “hardpan” for a reason.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty and color, such as this yellow trumpet bush which just showed up one day in a corner where it appeared nothing was growing, a welcome surprise! We have another much larger bush of these and an enormous one with orange flowers.

Red yucca isn’t really yucca (go figure) but its flowers are beautiful. There are streets with a row of these along the side which makes for very attractive landscaping.

As far as I can ascertain, this is Britton’s wild petunia, one of the flowers the bees love but one that can be invasive.

You can’t have a colorful April in Arizona without the spectacular flowers and fruits found on the cacti that are everywhere. There may be thorns on many plants but there’s also luxurious beauty and sometimes food, as in the case of the fruit of the prickly pear cactus you see here. These will open up.

Finally, there are these short-blooming, one day, flowers found on the trumpet cactus. Our cactus is small, but welcomed us with three rounds of gorgeous flowers when we moved here just over a year ago and has already has two flowers this year.

Now that we’ve seen some of the April color in our backyard, have a seat on the patio and just relax for a bit. I’m always happy when you stop by and I have some delicious jasmine green tea if you’re so inclined or some iced English breakfast.

© janet m. webb

for SquareUp 1.16.21 and Six Word Saturday 1.16.21

Amy at The World Is A Book sets us the challenge of recalling precious memories in a year that might have lack any or many. She’s shared lots of lovely photos of happy, mask-less people, something which probably features large in any of our precious memories. I’m going much further back to share the precious memory of family.

Memories, precious to me, of “my” park in Illinois and winter, which I do miss.

Wonderful memories of a memorable trip to Yosemite.

A beautiful welcome to Arizona!

And for the furthest back memory, a selfie of sorts with “my” first horse/pony. The owner brought the pony to our house during his trip around the neighborhoods and my parents paid for my photo to be taken. Happy? Oh, yeah! Much better than the ice cream truck!

Barrel cactus look a lot like a spiny barrel. No surprise, right? But you might be surprised at how beautiful the flowers are. Yellow and orange are the most common colors, pink and red less frequent. But whatever the color, the flowers only bloom on top of the cactus. Barrel cactus are usually about 3′ or less, although some have been found as tall as 9′. Whatever the height, they can live to be 100 years old.

Fun fact, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Barrel cactus can fall over because they grow based on sun orientation. They usually grow towards the south to prevent surface tissue sunburn, giving the name “compass cactus.”

And here’s my favorite cactus quote:

I bought a cactus. A week later it died. And I got depressed, because I thought, D**n. I am less nurturing than a desert. ~Demetri Martin

As with all cactus, admire the flowers, but don’t forget the spines!

These small cactus were everywhere at Saguaro National Park. They might be small, but take notice of the multitudinous spines! Don’t mess with small. They have large, beautiful flowers and the bees, as you can see, loved them. The cactus, mammillaria grahamii or mammillaria microcarpa, has a rather unfortunate common name: Graham’s nipple cactus. I have no idea where that came from as the resemblance isn’t evident to me!! Even Madonna at her worst wasn’t as sharp as this.

Let’s go with its other common name: Arizona fishhook cactus. This is a rather specialized cactus found in a small area of west California, southwest and south Arizona, southwest New Mexico and a few small areas of far west Texas

Cee’s Len’s-Artists Photo Challenge this week features single flowers. I realized I’m spoiled for choice, but that’s not a bad problem to have.

My first photo, an iris, was taken with an iPhone and has been one of my most popular photos. Of course, the light is what makes it and I never again could get that same light. Then the older man who grew these beauties on his tree lawn died and the family dug them up.

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.”
― Luther Burbank

Now that we live in the desert, I think it only fitting that I should include a shot of a cactus flower. Although you might not think it, the cacti have some of the most beautiful blooms you’ll ever see. Just be careful when getting a closeup!

“I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Let’s start our walk this morning in the backyard where overnight our torch cactus has lit one glorious torch. I see that there are a multitude of small buds that will soon flower as well, but for now this bloom is alone.

What I see along the canal is about the same as on any other day: fish surfacing briefly for breakfast bugs, ducks, great-tailed grackles, and lots of mourning doves, the latter flushed out of the undergrowth by my approach. However, this is a day for singular sights: the torch bloom first and then on my way home via a new street, I notice a large fountain, a fountain evidently also serving as a shower for one of the most elusive birds since our move. Who knew getting clean could be so much fun? I was astonished to be able to capture this on my phone, but don’t worry, no R-rating here!

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I’ve been thinking about doing an “at home” post for some days, so this seems to be the perfect time, although choosing photos was a challenge. I decided to go with all iPhone photos, using only photos from our house or yard. We’re blessed in that we can go out and walk or bike and I walk regularly, but I’m not using any of those shots today.

This torch cactus bloomed the day after we moved in. One day there were no flowers, the next, splendor. The flowers only lasted a day or two, then wilted, dried up, and fell off. But earlier this week, I woke in the morning to round two, pictured here. Perhaps because of the heat (almost 100F), the following day they were already wilted But, oh, what a glorious day of flowers that was!

I love sitting outside, reading, hoping to see a hummingbird while I have my Nikon out, writing, or just enjoying the flowers. So far the hummingbird has eluded my camera, but one of these days… Anyway, the waiting isn’t definitely not a trial! And you know that “discussion” about real books vs. e-readers? Thank goodness for e-readers these days and virtual checkout from the library!!

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