Saturday, May 30, 2009

First Time Parodia Bloom!

This is the first time this Parodia magnifica has bloomed! I won it in a raffle at last year's Cactus and Succulent Society Show. It was large when I got it and it already had a lot of offsets, but look how many there are now!

This cactus needs some shade in the summer, so I keep it on my front patio behind a pillar. It takes twice a month water in the summer, but it has to stay pretty dry in winter. Sometimes I forget to water it, but it stays alive.

Getting ready for the Black Mission figs to ripen! Can't wait for one of my favorite summertime treats! This is my daughter's tree--my son's tree has even more, so the fight is on.

Now, I'm on my way to cool country to house sit a few days. It will be a fun break from our early heat.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Heaven - it is God's throne. The earth - it is his footstool.

Matthew 5:34-35

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I LOVE Gaudy!

On a recent spring garden tour one of the gardens had groups of vases and bottles that were placed in a few areas around the garden. Some were all blue, and one area had multiple colors, all different shapes and sizes. I liked the look so I started buying the colored glass whenever I would find them for under $2.00. Most were marked $3.99 at our local Goodwill Store, but when they had a half price sale, I could get them for under my target price. Eventually, I will fill up three tree wells at my daughter's home with my finds. I don't have any room at my place, and luckily my family lets me release my pent-up collector's drive by accommodating my ideas.

This is one of the latest finds at the local Goodwill. I stared buying brightly colored Mexican garden decor for the block wall that I was going to paint like the those at my daughter's side yard. I just love the bright colors, but I changed my mind about painting and just started hanging up yard art instead. This was priced at $4.99 on a half price day! I can't make myself even pay full price at the thrift shops! Is this a sad commentary of the times, a sign of old age, or just being smart? Probably all of these! I give away more to Goodwill than I buy, and I just don't want to pay them the original inflated price! Imagine that. A $75 Iguana for $4.99 at the full price, and I think that's too high!

This gaudy little planter almost makes up for not painting!

Here's more acquisitions. I tend to go overboard--so it looks like I will have to start storing more junk when the place starts looking like a Mexican restaurant on crack!

This sunflower has almost reached the top of the 8 foot bottle tree. The recent winds blew the plant over twice. We tied it to the bottle tree, covered the roots and I think it will make it!! The recent rains and clouds have helped and the newly planted Vincas as well. Oh! And it helped me too!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Upside Down Tree?

On my morning walk I took a detour off the lake path and went into another lake neighborhood. I found this strange looking tree at one of the houses. I know it's been there for years, but just never noticed it before. It doesn't always have leaves on it. It is a Boojum Tree (Idria columnaris) and it is related to the Ocotillo.This one is is about 18 feet tall, and I found out it is about 20 years old. These things can get as tall as 70-80 feet! It is a deciduous stem succulent tree is native to the Baja California area of Mexico. The San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park has a large collection of them, and the U of A has three that were planted in the 1920's. The Desert Botanical Garden also has one that is about 25 feet tall. The flowers are a tubular shape and pale yellow. They are borne on 16 inch panicles if the tree is over six feet tall. They sell for about $1000.00 per foot. Small ones are available at local cactus and succulent nurseries.

Near the top of the tree is an unidentified bird's nest. Not a great photo but that's what that brown patch is....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another One Down, Another One Bites The Dust

Strange weather in Arizona. We are having monsoon-like weather. Lighting , a little rain and lots of wind! At least in my back yard!!! Does this look familiar? A second swing bites the dust! I won't know the damage until I get it back together--I don't think the frame is bent on this one. I'm afraid it will be a goner when the "bona fide" monsoon season comes in July.

The bird bath is solid cement and a layer of stucco, and it weighs a ton! Can you believe this?

The Purple Heart is missing its front half. The plant that was in the overturned planter is gone--as in missing! Can't even find the plant! It's probably in the lake or beyond.

Remember the newly planted bougainvillea?

Stripped of all the beautiful bracts!! The one next to it was untouched! Just like every time before, I am the only one in the neighborhood that gets this wind damage. Scary........I must have a micro climate that generates miniature tornadoes or wind shears right in my back yard.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quarter Day Trip

Last weekend, with a few hours to kill before Mother's Day dinner, we took off into the desert for what I call a quarter day trip and found it in bloom with new and different things.

The Saguaros were not yet in full bloom but loaded with buds ready to open. The flowers open toward the evening, stay open the next day, then close, never to open again. In a few weeks the green fruits ripen and burst open with bright red juicy pulp, ready to feed the birds, which then disperse the seeds!

Not sure what all the flowers are, just enjoyed seeing them for the first time--or perhaps I just never took the time to see them before? I'm sure they have always been there. They remind me of popcorn!

The creosote bush flowers are turning to fuzzy fruits. This is the shrub that provides the wonderful "fragrance of the desert" following rain.

Engleman's Prickly Pear, a native, with its beautiful lemon yellow flowers.

Cholla of some sort, maybe Buckhorn, adorned with pretty pink flowers. Chollas are a different form of Opuntia (Prickly Pear), so they have really mean glochids in addition to the spines. It's best to stay back from these things.

Most wildflowers are long gone, but these unidentified yellow ones still look good. These may be Brittlebush.

An interesting thistle-like flower. I'm amazed at how many native plants there are in the Sonoran Desert. I can find new ones every year in every season.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

IT'S A BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cemetery Cactus and Sunflower

I just received my cactus goodie package from Claude at Random Rants and Prickly Plants. I found two pots and quickly planted two of the Esobania missourieusis. The third one went into the miniature cactus garden. Claude rescued the Esobania offsets from a cemetery after they mowed down the main part of the cactus.

The Cleistocactus winteri was planted in a larger pot. I have them on my east patio out of the intense summer sun. Thanks, Claude, for trusting me to keep them alive!

Newest sunflower to open. It's really heating up here, has been over 105 already! I'm in a mini depression thinking about the long hot summer ahead of us!! Turr Tull has not come out and I think he might have gotten out of the yard during the deck fix-up or ??? There isn't any way of checking into his hole as it is a small opening and goes pretty far back.

But today, I will find out the gender of my first great-grandchild, and the anticipation is raising my mood to the cheerful side! We tried the wedding ring test a few times and it is showing a boy! To do this, a wedding ring is attached to a thread and held dangling over the belly of the mom to be while she is lying prone. If the ring swings in a strong circular motion, it's supposed to be a girl, and if it moves in a to and fro motion like a pendulum, it will be a boy. My many years of expertise and my record 0f 99 percent accuracy on this test is on the line, so I'm just a little tense! I know this is just an old wives' tale, but it's harmless. It doesn't take the place of medical tests, but it is sort of a family tradition for us.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Something Old, Something New

In a forgotten corner in a forgotten pot this little unidentified cactus surprised me with this beautiful bloom today! The strawberry pot holds cactus that are dying or maybe dead, that I just can't throw out. Most just shrivel up and disappear, but I always give them a second chance. This time it paid off!

I replaced the waning potted geraniums with two Rosenka Bougainvilleas. This type is a low growing bushy shrub that will look good in planters. I love the golden pink color bracts. Although red, pink and white are the more popular colors of bougainvillea, I decided it's time for change!

The hibiscus is still loaded with flowers. I wish Turr Tull would wake up and enjoy his favorite meal! June was the latest he has ever come out of hibernation, and that a few years ago. I'm just a little worried--we will hit 100 degrees this week!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bottle Tree Copy Cat!

I had my husband make this bottle tree after I saw
Aiyana's and just loved it. My tree is modeled after hers, as I like the more southwestern look more than those more suitable for the Midwest. I had the eight foot rebar rod with the rebar arms set in cement and put in place while waiting for the cobalt wine bottles that I won on Ebay. This was my birthday gift, just as it was Aiyana's. I know I'm a copy cat, but I really liked the way it looked in her garden.

My garden is much smaller than hers and I'm not sure if it really belongs here. I hope that the HOA doesn't look my way and send me a letter telling me I have to take it down. I'll just enjoy it while I can and hope for the best. If they complain, I'll just move it to the side yard behind a plant!

I have decided that I won't paint the side block wall the three bright colors that I had picked out. The vine that I planted to help hide the painted wall has been slow growing and after Lowe's couldn't mix the paint color I wanted--the color mix filled it too full after they spilled a gallon of it--I thought maybe I should just rethink my plans. I tend to over-plant, over-do, over react, and then, change my mind!

The first sunflower of the season is always perfect! I have six plants that are about five feet tall, all ready to bloom. The other sunflower seeds from the Great Sunflower Project arrived last month and were planted. They are about four inches tall now. After they bloom I will collect data for the project for as many months that they flower. I will record the bee arrival time for each type bee that visits, and record the temperature at that time. Last year the Project ran out of seeds, and so sent some out too late in the season to plant, but this year they seem to be more organized and hopefully we can get the data needed.