Sunday, April 8

Cactus Eye Candy

A woman named Mary Irish wrote a great desert gardening book entitled Gardening in the Desert that is now our personal landscaping bible. Apparently not a woman to mince words, she told us: "Spring regales the area (the low desert)with a magnificent, although short bloom season, followed by the sensational late-spring bloom of cacti."

Now, we all know that penstemon is pleasant and it cannot be argued that globemallow is glorious, but, damn, people, cactus blooms are like oranges to their apples. The really juicy, sweet vitamin C bombs that taste like candy. That kind of orange.

That Mary Irish really knows her stuff, and on her suggestion, Raphael recently loaded up the yard with barrels and hedgehogs and the pincushions with their sweet little crowns of magenta flowers and with cuttings from thick green prickly pears and the smaller purple ones with their flame-like yellow blooms, blood-red centers loaded with pollen. We've got a Mexican night-bloomer that explodes with huge fluffy white flowers like giant fluttering moths night after night in the spring and summer and another Mexican monster that opened up tiny little spring-green and white stars last night. And the clumpy inelegant mound of dark green cactus in the front yard has been extending thick, weird, fuzzy stalks for days and yesterday before dawn finally put out about fifteen diaphanous pink flowers for the first time this year.

These pictures don't do them justice, but I'll take more as they come along. Many of these guys bloom during the night or in the morning after I leave for work. By the time I get back, they've wilted back. unidentified monster cactus

prickly pear

prickly pear

unidentified clumpy cactus in the front yard

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