Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Are You Ready For Some Cactus?

Springtime is just as exciting in the high desert as it is anywhere else. It's just--well, different. 

The pale pastels I was used to in New England--daffodil yellows, crocus pinks, soft lilac lavenders--are replaced by the pastels of the landscape itself. Apparently this new Spring style has been growing on me over the years and I've just realized that I would miss the sun-washed (washed out, truth be told) colors of springtime here--the pale blue shades of the sky; the soft greens of the budding trees in the river valley; and, yes, the pale adobe brown of the little houses and of the wind-driven dust storms. 

Springtime means growth in the garden, of course. Here are some of the stars of our blazing hot southern-facing front yard. The roses that I blithely planted, all nestled up against the adobe walls (knowing that they always appreciated a warm wall in New Hampshire) have long since dried up and given up the ghost; but the cacti are thriving. Lesson learned, Yankee transplant!

So, get ready. The pale colors of Spring in the Mesilla Valley are about to be punctuated by some hot pops of flamboyant cactus flower colors. But first come the leaves or pads or thorns...


Lots and lots of new cactus pads coming--those are the rounded things--and lots of flower buds, too (the pointy buds)

This one has some wonderful lavender tones in the pads that you can't really see in the photo
My constant gardening companion, Pete, sends his greetings (upper left)

Detail, new pad coming out.
As much as I love the colors of this cactus, it is the very WORST one
for getting its little almost-invisible needles stuck in you.
Those little things are called glochids and here is an article (for my future reference,
and yours, too) telling how to remove them from your skin.

The center of this plant matured and died away a couple of years ago and now its descendants are coming to life. That's a hollyhock leaf trying to shade the little cactus--more about hollyhocks in a later post. 

Here is the same bud, opened up later the
same day. POP!