21 April 2014

Spring Transitions

This has been a beautiful spring in the desert. We had no real winter to speak of; only one or two nights of freezing temperatures, but that was it. None of the plants had time to go dormant. In fact, we did not prune any of the bushes we normally would. How that will play out through the summer remains to be seen.

Flowers are a wonder. Palo verde  (green stick) trees are loaded with tiny yellow blossoms, enough to make an entire hillside into a golden carpet. Cacti bloom now as well, from the pink buds on the prickly pear that open into yellow "desert roses" to the fleeting night-blooming cereus, whose petals open for a mere ten to twelve hours and are gone.

Prickly pear "roses" (the bud is pink)


     I think this cactus is a cereus --the bud showed up two days ago and started to open this morning; it will peak tonight and begin dying tomorrow morning.

Esperanza, a hummingbird's favorite

Our saguaros are sprouting buds already. Their white, waxy petals surround a egg-yolk yellow center when they open--and each blossom with its stem/pod weighs more than a pound. I'll post a photo when one opens soon.

That brings me to pollinators. Bees are vital, and we're happy to see them, even though most of the bees in Southern Arizona are now all Africanized and more aggressive. We simply take precautions to limit places for them to swarm close to the house-- plugging all holes in the stucco, capping exposed pipes or tubes. They can still swarm in trees, so if that happens we call the pros to remove them safely.
We <3 bees

My favorite pollinators here are the Mexican fruit bats which flit and flutter from saguaro to saguaro from dusk to dawn. They eat flying insects, too, making them good friends to humans. I've never been able to get a good photo of one.  Maybe this year I'll be lucky.

Happy spring to all, and Happy writing!


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