Hail to the Desert – Rare Winter Weather

This has been a very cold and unusual February for our North Phoenix area. We have had many inches of rain and today, during a storm, hail and sleet covered the ground. The saguaro cactus and desert plants did not “know what hit them.” In our nearly dozen years in this location this is only the second time we have had hail or snow on the ground.

You can see the hail coming down in the two pictures of the yard. The size and density of the pellets are most clearly visible in the shot of the darker landscape rocks


Hail in the Sonoran Desert landscape


Hail in the Sonoran Desert landscape rocks


Hail in the Sonoran Desert landscape

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©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2019 – JBRish.com



Sore Thumb, Green Thumb – Desert Bloom

Red blooming desert cactus at a distance

Can you see it?

Red blooming desert cactus at a distance

It stood out like a sore thumb; at least to me. The desert landscape doesn’t usually have a significant number of blooms this time of year with temperatures between 90-110 degrees. This particular cactus was given to me a couple of years ago as a broken piece from a much larger plant.

We hardened it off a bit and placed it in the landscape. Over the first year, I babied it a bit with extra water, but it only receives scant water now in its second full year.

Red blooming desert cactus portrait

Here is a close up

Closeup

The bees were taking advantage of the abundant pollen being made available.

Closeup with bees

I must say, they burrowed way down into the base of the flower and appeared to be “rolling around” in all their glory. We have to feel sorry for the bees nowadays.

I believe this is a torch cactus variety, but I do not have the exact botanical name. It might be a Trichocereus huascha (Echinopsis), but I will let you decide by checking the link.

 

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Argentine Giant Cactus Flower – Photograph

Photograph of the Argentine Giant Cactus in Bloom
at the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

Argentine Giant Cactus, Echinopsis candicans
Argentine Giant Cactus, Echinopsis candicans

I am a member/volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ. It is the second most visited attraction in the state after the Grand Canyon. On my way to the Seed Room where I work as a volunteer, I passed an Argentine Giant cactus that was still in bloom. It has been my experience that they generally bloom earlier in the season, but this particular specimen was in a location that enabled it to be in flower now.

The flower is not the most attractive cactus bloom I have seen, but it is very pretty and the size is huge. The flower can be as large as a person’s face. Unfortunately, these blooms only last a day, but what a day it is!

 

JBRish.com originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

 
See previous posts about life in the desert HERE or gardening HERE.

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Spring Cactus Bloom in Arizona – The Claret Cup

We have had a wetter than usual winter and early spring and thus we are having a beautiful wildflower bloom. Our landscape cactus are showing their appreciation as well with a living bouquet for our enjoyment.

One of our courtyard features is a round planter that has hosted a Claret Cup cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus) for more than ten years. At one time it had plenty of room, but as you can see below, it will need to be divided and replanted within a year or so.

Claret Cup Cactus

In years past, it wouldn’t have this many blooms open at once, but its stinginess vanished this year and we are being treated to a full orchestration of its floral beauty.

Upon closer inspection you can see the juggernaut of thorns it sports that will present quite a challenge when it comes time to move or transplant it. We have a long pair of tweezers or tongs that we use to remove spent blooms or any debris that gets caught amid the needles.

Claret Cup Cactus

In the photo below, the pollen can be seen on top of the stamens. While this adds color to the picture and pollen to the air, it also seems to attract woodpeckers. For some reason they like to eat the center of the flowers and my assumption is that it is because of the pollen. After inspecting where they have been, the pollen sacks are gone — who knew?

Claret Cup Cactus

You can read more about Claret Cup cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus) by clicking HERE.


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All photographs are Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved

 
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