Posts Tagged ‘flowering cacti’

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.

for One Word Sunday: opposites

I usually visit the desert in January or February, an enjoyable break from the cold, but not the ideal time for flowers.  Although hotter now, the desert is blooming, and every morning during my walk (a photographic walk, not an exercise walk), I took photo after photo of the beauty.  Among the array of glorious colors, purple was the least on display.  But there were examples of it, as you can see from my entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.

The flowers on cacti aren’t always long-lived.  Sometimes in a day or two, they’re gone.  While they bloom, however, they’re often stunning.  The size of the flowers is sometimes incongruous:  the mighty saguaro has tiny flowers, while some much smaller plants have large, opulent blooms.  Whatever size or color, these flowers decorate an otherwise mostly neutral-hued landscape with bright splashes of color.  But beware of stepping back unawares while taking a photo or or trying to pick a flower.  They’re well-protected by a bevy of deadly thorns whose effects, if touched, can be rather beastly!