You might have noticed I haven’t posted a cactus blog for some time now, not since January 15th. Besides having some other deadlines to meet, it’s still winter out there, ya know! Cactus gardens are pretty sad during the winter and on days like today when the thermometer did not rise above freezing all day. So I haven’t had much to tell you about.
But don’t give up hope- I went out a couple of days ago and saw evidence that yes, we may have a spring after all! Here’s what I found.
The bluebonnets have been sprouting since January, but are now making a statement and are showing up as little mounds of pale green in the dry grass and between rocks.
The opuntias, prickly pears, are still droopy, like this spineless one, but the other varieties are beginning to show signs of life in the form of clumps of new golden spines that will either turn into new pads or buds; hard to tell just yet which it will be.
Most of the delosperma, ice plant, has begun to make fleshy leaves in what looks like a pile of woody, dead stuff. I have one or two varieties that may not have made it through the winter, but they may still come out as it gets warmer. I believe I have mentioned to you before not to give up on ice plant before it has had time to come out with warm weather because even though it looks dead, it’s not.
This ice plant, delosperma lineare, is one that doesn’t get so dead and woody-looking in the winter, but rather stays fleshy and the fleshy leaves turn purple from the stress of the cold. Then in spring it turns green and blooms yellow flowers for a couple of weeks. Then its blooming time is over, but it stays nice and green the rest of the warm months. The ones that turn woody will bloom all summer once they come out. This bunch is beginning to lose its purple color and the green is reappearing.
I have several varieties of sedum and they are all making crowns deep in the leaf debris, like this sedum neon.
I was pleased to see that this alionopsis spathulata made it through the winter as I have been told they are cold hardy, but have lost some in the past. If you look closely across the middle of the plant, you can see three tight round buds forming where yellow flowers will burst forth when least expected before it really warms up that much. Actually, now that I am looking again, I think I see more buds forming. I hope so.
This euphorbia x martinii, Ascot Rainbow, is new to the garden; bought it late last summer, and I am tickled that it made it through the winter. I rooted a cutting in the greenhouse, and it hasn’t done as well as this one outside battling the elements. So I have hopes it will be with me a long time outside. The smaller plant by the ammo box is another new sedum just coming out.
The Bradford pear trees are trying to bloom, probably a bit prematurely.
The daffodils by the horny toad are coming up, and our latest feline addition, Frosty, has been lurking about in the iris.
I found a few hopeful signs of spring in the greenhouse with these buds on the echinocereus pentalophus which will become large pink flowers. I always look forward to these flowers, and I’ll share the blooms with you when they pop open.
The graptoveria moonglow is blooming the greenhouse.
I love it when the leaves come out on the alluadia humertii. Leaves usually turn brown and shrivel up over the winter, and then it’s so nice when the round green leaves pop up.
New to me this year, the pachypodium rosulatum v. eburnium has begun to come out and I am anxious to see how it grows this year.
How will I know when winter is really, finally over? The cylindrical opuntia, what we call cholla, stays droopy and sad like this all winter, but when warm weather finally hits, it will perk right up, the segments will become straight and firm again and begin to set buds for its beautiful purple blooms to follow.
It won’t be long now.