All posts tagged: cactus succulent

Springtime Blooms – Arizona and Alberta

My Place in the World is in the Garden with my camera! The best part about living part time in Arizona is that I get to experience spring twice! In April, when Alberta might still be experiencing snow storms, our Arizona home is at the height of spring blooming! We have a large old Ironwood tree on our property. It is estimated that these trees can live for hundreds and hundreds of years. It sheds its leaves annually just before it blooms. The flowers are pea like (because it is a member of that family) and the entire tree becomes a dusky pink colour during full bloom. The Ironwood often serves as a backdrop to the giant Saguaro cactus. The Saguaro can live for 150 to 200 years and it can grow 40 to 60 ft tall (12 to 18 meters). It is very slow growing and can be decades old before it sprouts arms or blooms. The Prickly Pear cactus is the ‘rat’ of the neighbourhood for the simple reason that the resident rodents …

Cactus Spines – A ‘Don’t Touch Me’ World

Living in Arizona has taught me a few things about the Danger of Cactus Spines! While it is unlikely they would cause any serious reaction, the punctures can be painful! When I go on a ‘Nature’ walk, I carry a pair of pliers to pull cactus spines out of the soles of my shoes. When I am working in my yard, I wear thick leather gloves, and I never back up without knowing which plant is poised and ready to attack my leg. Even plants in the succulent family can inflict damage – Agave leaves can have razor sharp edges or wicked spears on the tips. Like a porcupine, some cactus readily shed their spines into your skin. Usually I can remove them with a pair of tweezers. Then it is a simple matter to wash off the blood, and apply an antiseptic of some sort. If I had been attacked by a large number of very small ‘hairy’ spines, there are apparently several ‘bulk removal’ methods. The first is to spread a layer of …

Saguaro Cactus – Slow Growing Giants

Plant Profile Common Name: Saguaro Cactus Scientific Name: Carnegiea gigantea Native to: Sonoran desert – limited to southern Arizona Growth: all growth occurs at the tip of the cactus. The rate of growth is very slow. Under natural conditions it may take 20 years to attain one foot in height. By age 50 it could be seven feet tall. By age 100 it could be 25 feet tall. It usually starts to grow arms between 50 to 100 years of age (average 70), and it may live for 200 years or more Blooms: first blooms between 40 and 75 (average 55) years old. Comment: Some saguaros have dozens of arms, while others never produce arms. Growth rate, size and number of arms are likely affected by the amount of moisture.

Ocotillo – Prickly but I Wish Mine Would Grow Leaves

There are plants on the Arizona hillsides that look like bunches of spiny crooked dead sticks. They are the Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens). The photo above is of my plants. They are leafless. Small 2 inch leaves will grow from the stems when there is enough moisture. They may lose these leaves, and then sprout new ones, five to eight times a year. Dense clusters of red tubular flowers grow from the end of the stems from March through June. Here in our Arizona neighbourhood, most of the Ocotillos have leafed out, and many have started to bloom. I wish my ocotillo would grow leaves and bloom too!  Maybe those tiny reddish brown buds are the first signs of life… This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Wish.

Egret, great blue heron, black crowned night heron

Trios, Triplet, Thirds – Photos of Three Things

Trio, triple, thirds say three. As do triad, ternion and  trilogy, Triptych, trine and trichotomy, Triangle, treble and trinity. – Margy – This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Trio.  I had no problem finding photos to fit, as I often compose a shot to include three elements. The idea of the number ‘3’ is also an important part of a photograph’s composition. The Rule of Thirds is perhaps not instinctive, nor obvious, yet it can make a dramatic difference in a photograph. Of course, rules are often broken. I was thinking Rule of Thirds when I cropped the following photos, but wasn’t that successful! Cactus blooms  – Arizona Egret, Great Blue Heron and Black Crowned Night Heron – Sun Lakes Arizona Golden Barrel Cactus – Arizona Tall Grasses – my yard, Alberta, Canada Three word street sign – Carefree Arizona Building with Three arches – Jerome, Arizona Three spruce cones – my yard, Alberta, Canada Before I was married I had three theories about raising children. Now I have three children and no theories. – …

Cactus and Clouds – Curves

Clouds are not as common in Arizona as they are in Alberta. One day, however I saw these ‘comma’ clouds, with a trio of Saguaro cactus stretching up as if to catch the wisps! These clouds reminded me of punctuation. Don’t they look like big apostrophes or commas except they curve the wrong way?  I think they are Cirrus uncinus clouds, but I’m not sure. The cactus with the curved arms are Saguaro cacti. To see how other photographers interpreted this topic: Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

Cactus: Arizona Yard Full of Prickles

We spent part of our winter in Arizona. The landscaping in our yard is more aptly called hardscaping since it is mostly paving stones and rock. There are a number of green plants – most of them of the prickly variety. Here they are, up close in all their spiny glory. Golden Barrel Cactus Fishhook Barrel Cactus Possibly a type of Hedgehog Cactus Saguaro Cactus Prickly Pear Cactus There is one animal that is not intimidated by the Prickly Pear Cactus. It is the Javelina. It looks much like a Wild Boar, but it isn’t. I haven’t actually seen Javelinas in our yard, but I do know what they dine on – my Prickly Pear Cactus! He’d always had a quickening of the heart when he crossed into Arizona and beheld the cactus country. This was as the desert should be, this was the desert of the picture books, with the land unrolled to the farthest distant horizon hills, with saguaro standing sentinel in their strange chessboard pattern, towering supinely above the fans of ocotillo …

Cactus Buds and Blooms – Future Tense in Arizona

I’m spending part of my winter in Arizona cactus country, and the past week has been pretty exciting. All sorts of interesting things are popping out the sides and tops of the cacti in these parts. I have no idea what the flowers will look like, nor how long it will take before they bloom. We’ve had quite a bit of rain though, so I’m hopeful that means a brilliant future for all the interesting plants that live in the desert. One of the first out of the starting gate is this cactus – the Argentine Giant (Echinopsis candicans). The plant itself isn’t all that wide or tall, but the flower buds were as long as my hand. Yesterday they were tightly closed. Today- they were just about all open and the flowers were as big around as my cereal bowl! Yes, they are fragrant and no, I have no idea how long the blooms will last. I stood back and admired them for quite a while, and though both a butterfly and a hummingbird …

A Visit to Never Never Land – Arizona

For the past 10 days The Car Guy and I have been Canadian Snow Birds. Yes, we packed up shorts and sun tan lotion and headed south to a place where snow flakes rarely fall – Phoenix Arizona. We have a few friends there, several who like us well enough to invite us to stay in their home. So stay we did – 5 days with some fellow Canadians, and 5 days with an American couple we met in the Middle East. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, which made us wonder how we could stay there for several months a year. We made some mental calculations. How many friends would we have to have if we wanted to stay as guests  in their homes (as opposed to buying a house or hauling a honking big RV down south each year?) There were too many variables to come up with an exact number, but it appeared that 5 days was about the maximum we could expect to be welcome before the host ran out of wine and …