Opuntias love May - and so do I.
A recent cactus fiend
I trimmed the crepe myrtle for the year, cut back the salvia, and removed a third of the iris offsets for this: a package of bromeliads from randomc!
Last fall, we discussed swapping some cacti (me) and bromeliads (him). Well, in the fall I sent pads from Opuntia ellisiana, O. engelmannii, O. basilaris ‘Baby Rita’, and a few other Opuntia pads. He sent me some O. hemifusa, a Gymnocalycium and some pups, and a promise of bromeliads in the spring.
On Friday, I received a package that I was finally able to get in the ground. I am pushing some of their limits, and in order to give them the best shot possible, the crepe myrtle will provide some protection from the harshest sun of the day in the summer and give full sun but some protection in the winter.
The new plants are: Ananas nanas (miniature pineapple), Quesmea ‘Lymon’, Aechmea distichantha, Dyckia fragrans, and Dyckia ‘Sabertooth’. He also sent two rooted Stapelia gigantea - which I have wanted for quite some time!
In several small pots, I put all of the cuttings and segments that I have collected to root from various succulents and cacti. In addition, I decided to plant one of my Lewisiana cotyledon in the area. Now the two Rhipsalis finally have some friends.
The Coffin was completely overgrown, so today I trimmed with the edger and them came back in with hand shears to finish the job. Everything that I planted in the fall - including the Opuntia hemifusa which I thought were dead - looks great. I have a lot of new pads and even quite a few blooms growing!
Coffin update: The Opuntia basilaris ‘Baby Rita’, O. ellisiana, and the prickly pear that I removed from the planting spot amongst the flagstone area are all showing new growth. That means everything except the O. microdasys montrose are thriving! The Agave salmiana is looking strong, too.
The stonecrop Sedum surrounding the prickly pear in a small cedar planter by our front door is starting to pick up a little more color than the lime green that it sported all winter. The question is whether I can keep it water well enough to survive the summer death rays …
After that three day cold spell, the next ten days look great - and we may even get some rain! Everything that was protected for the cold is back out and ready for Spring to re-commence. One more day until the rest of the collection comes home - and then all of the repotting, planting, and cacti-loving can begin!
Here is the view looking out from the patio. You can see the muhly and other ornamental grasses quickly taking off. I can’t wait to see how the cholla looks once they fill in. I have 8 Kniphofia ‘Echo Mango’ to plant and received my 40 Liatris picata ‘Blazing Star’ bulbs today as well. We are still trying to agree on where they will all go. I am considering the torch flowers mixed in amongst the ornamental grasses in hopes that it will create several layers, but also provide a dense grassy area around the windows. For the ‘Blazing Star’ bulbs, I will most likely place them along the fence line behind the Mexican plum, Yucca, and agaves to really make their blue-green stand out - but not today. We are paying back for the beautiful weather that we received the last few weeks with a cold, rainy, and gray weekend.
It is finally here! Not spring (Okay, yes it is …) but the one year anniversary of panorama shots every three weeks in my garden! While I work on the animated gif, here is today’s shot and the shot from one year ago (3/28/2012).
So, what is different from a year ago? Where to begin …
Everything is much bigger - especially the Agave salmiana and the Opuntia engelmannii. Spring is setting in much slower - the grasses, trees, and turf are far behind last year at this time. There are a lot of new plants from cacti, small succulents, and yucca. I have added the new cholla wood architectural pieces, too.
That’s all for now - I have March Madness to watch - but more to come later!
It wouldn’t be a complete day without an update on the prickly pears. Feast your eyes on this - and Spring has only just begun! I can’t overstate my enthusiasm that the Opuntia ‘Mesa Melon’ is taking off and planning to double in size!
While the problem prickly pear did not completely rot away this winter, one problem was obvious: it needs more light than it is getting so close to the fence on its south.
Problem solved! I replaced it with an aloe hybrid called ‘Grassy Lassie’. It is hardy to 5 degrees, and, being an aloe, more shade won’t hurt it a bit. In fact, once July and August hit, it is virtually necessary.
I didn’t scrap the Opuntia, but rather moved it down to “The Coffin” - my Opuntia garden surrounding the drainage for our subdivision. Thus far, other than a tomcat, no one has discovered my secret garden.