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Posts Tagged ‘cactus’

… from my rooftop garden in the city.

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Opuntia – April 2017

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Lizard on the terraza – June 2017

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A feathered friend watching from a distance – June 2017

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Hibiscus flower this morning – June 2017

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Yesterday morning, as I made the rounds bidding each of my plants a “muy buenos días,” peeking out from the bottom of one of my garden pots…

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A star looked up and wished me a very good morning.

A Quaqua mammillaris flower for Cee’s photo challenge.

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How could I have missed three flowers on my night blooming cereus a few nights ago???  I don’t know, but I did.  However, yesterday afternoon…

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My opuntia microdasys surprised and delighted me!

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Opening the door onto my terrace this morning, I was greeted with more pitaya flowers glowing in the morning light.  In the background, rain drops glistened on unripened fruit, as their dry spent flowers continued to cling to the fruit of their late night labor.Pitaya flower with unripe green fruit in backgroundBehind the chain link fence, one of my ripe Dragon Fruit is so close and yet so far.Red ripe Pitaya fruitHowever, there is more to come; blossoms preparing to burst open — for just one night.Two Pitaya blossomsFrom tenacious roots and branches of my previous post to fleeting flowers to long ripening fruit; such is the life of the pitaya.

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One of the apartments in this higgledy piggledy complex is being readied for a new occupant.  Opening the door to begin the job, Luci was greeted with an unexpected wall hanging.IMG_1815She ran upstairs, laughing and calling me to come down and see what she had discovered.  Hmmm…  Rapunzel’s tresses?  If so, like everyone else suffering Oaxaca’s hard water, she needs to start using a good hair-conditioner.

IMG_1817Of course, closer inspection revealed it to be the roots of something.  A tree, perhaps?  But, there are no trees in the vicinity and, in reality, it seemed to be coming from my terrace.  I dashed upstairs, as Luci came outside to stand and point to where the fibrous cascade seemed to be coming from.  P1130530Yikes, on the west wall, the culprit was exposed; the roots of one of my pitayas had grown into the concrete!!!

IMG_1821Alas, the pitaya’s tenacity could not be allowed to continue; the garden shears came out and the problem was nipped at its root.  The same was done below, leaving golden tresses lying on the ground waiting to be swept away.

P1130510All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Late last night, twelve buds on my pitaya burst open; my favorite the cluster of four at the top of the eight foot tall chain link fence.

P1130210cropB&WAlas, now, less than twenty hours after their night-blooming show began, they are no more.  Hopefully, the brilliant white flowers with their sweet scent attracted the desired pollinators, Dragon Fruit will begin forming at the base of the blossoms, the fruit will ripen to a blush red, and be ready to pick in 45 days (más o menos).

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Yesterday, on the terrace of my neighbor, his Echinopsis eyriesii was putting on quite a show…

P1090361P1090362P1090360P1090359Listening to the Putamayo World Music Hour’s tribute to mothers and sending mothers everywhere wishes for peace, justice, love, and much joy.

And, the librarian in me can’t resist adding a couple of Mother’s Day reference sources:

¡Feliz día de la madre!

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Remember the night my Pitahaya (aka, Pitaya or Dragon fruit) blossom was ready for her close-up?  Three months later, here she is…

Pitahaya fruit

Though there is fruit, flowers continue to put on their bloomin’ after-dark show.

Pitahaya flower and fruit

Their beauty never ceases to enchant.

Pitahaya flower

From terrace to table…

2 halves of Pitahaya fruit

My version of “farm fresh.”

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Several mornings ago, after a day and night of rain, I went out on the terrace to check on the garden and found…

Pitaya flower with rain drops

Yikes, one of my Pitahaya (Hylocereus undatus – aka, Dragon fruit) had bloomed overnight!  Must be a relative of my other Night Blooming Cereus.

Two years ago, the original cuttings had been laying in the campo of a friend in San Martín Tilcajete.  When Chris (Oaxaca-The Year After) asked if we could have some, the answer was, “¡Por supuesto!”  Loving the wall of Pitahaya at Centro Académico y Cultural San Pablo, six months later, with the original five cuttings becoming fifteen, I could use them to begin to screen the chain link fence at the new Casita Colibrí.  I kept pruning and sticking them in the planter boxes.

Pitahaya climbing chain link fence

June 2, 2014, 8:40 AM

And now, they have begun blooming.  Having missed the “night-blooming” of my first flower, I was determined not to miss the unfolding of the second blossom, seen above near the top of the pole, providing the weather cooperated.  It did!

Pitahaya blossom

June 2, 2014, 7:20 PM

Pitahaya flower

June 2, 2014, 8:40 PM

Pitahaya flower, side view

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By the next day, it had closed, never to reopen again.

Pitahaya flower closed

June 2, 2014, 2:54 PM

However, there will be fruit…

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Everyday and everywhere there is something to see…

shadows from cactus & portico on orange wall

if we just open our eyes.

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You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming. –Pablo Neruda

Flor de mayo; May Flower

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.  –Rainer Maria Rilke

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Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment. –Ellis Peters

Pseudobombax ellipticum, Shaving Brush Tree

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!‘  –Robin Williams

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Reader alert:  If you are squeamish, you might want to skip this post.

Yesterday, minding my own business, I was attacked by a killer cactus!  Well, the cactus isn’t really a killer (at least, I don’t think it is) and I wasn’t really minding my own business — I was weeding in the vicinity of said cactus, which I think is an Austrocylindropuntia subulata ssp. exaltata.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time this particular cactus and I had had a run in.

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Four years ago, concentrating on weeding around another plant, I momentarily forgot about the danger lurking in the neighboring pot and got stabbed in the upper arm.  After more than momentary disbelief, I gathered my wits and called on my friend, neighbor, and fellow gardener G for help.  He managed to pull the spine out with only a moderate amount of pain, cleansed the puncture site with alcohol (the rubbing kind), gave me alcohol (the drinking kind), and I was good to go.

After that encounter, I showed the Austrocylindropuntia the respect it so rightly deserves.  I also admit to having had thoughts of abandoning it on my old apartment’s terrace when I moved last year.  However, I was convinced by my moving crew that it should join the rest of my garden on the new big terraza.  Though why they wanted to risk its espinas peligrosas, I don’t know.  However, I do know, I would have much preferred bringing my beautiful Agave Americana to my new home, but they said it was too big and had to stay put.

That brings me to yesterday’s unfortunate incident.  I remember thinking, as I reached in to pull a couple of weeds in the Austrocylindropuntia’s pot, “Go get the long garden tweezers.”  But I didn’t, and got stabbed on the back of my right hand (between the knuckles of my index and middle finger) for the trouble.  How stupid could I be???  Stunned, I again turned to neighbors — this time, David and Marilyn from Alaska.  It was decided I needed professional help, so off to Hospital Molina we walked, me with a four-inch cactus spine sticking out of the top of my hand.

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The doctor took me into an exam room immediately.  He asked the important questions:   “Name?  Age?  Address?  Allergies?  Where is the offending cactus located?  Do you use pesticides in your garden?”    I asked the question that was foremost on my mind, “Aren’t you going to use lidocaine?”   “No,” he calmly replied.  He then directed me to relax and look toward the window.  He had such reassuring manner,  I actually did as I was told.  He gently felt around the protruding spine and then it was out — and, miracle of miracles, I didn’t feel a thing!  He, too, cleansed the wound with alcohol, wrote prescriptions for an antibiotic and a mild pain reliever, told me to apply hot compresses twice a day, and collected 300 pesos ($23.00 US) for the visit.  I collected my ever-so-kind neighbors and we went on our way.  The phrase, “Do you have insurance?” was never uttered and I was not required to fill out ANY forms!

It’s thirty hours later and I am alive and well.  Antibiotic is being taken every six hours, my hand is only slightly swollen, and there is only a little pain.  I’m good to go.  And I’m thinking, it’s time for the Austrocylindropuntia subulata ssp. exaltata to go.  No use tempting fate a third time!

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Friday, I went Teotitlán del Valle to visit a friend.  N is living out in the campo and it was an adventure just getting there — necessitating a colectivo, bus, moto-taxi, and a fair amount of walking.  However, it was well worth it!  The conversation was non-stop, comida was delicious, and the setting is spectacular.

El Picacho from rooftop terrace.

El Picacho from my friend’s rooftop terrace.

However, a major topic of conversation in the village is the lack of rain.  Granted, I was grateful the creek the 3-wheel moto-taxi and I had to ford only had about six inches of water in it, but looking out from N’s terrace, it was evident the fields are suffering.

Maguey fields in Teotitlán del Valle.

Maguey fields in Teotitlán del Valle.

Acres upon acres of parched earth, with rows upon rows of drooping and stunted corn — the lifeblood of this country.  When the campo suffers, so too the people.

Rows of corn stalks.

Rows of corn stalks.

Word has it that this is the driest rainy season anyone can remember.  In a normal year, afternoon showers irrigate the fields and clean the city’s streets at least four to five times a week from June through September.  This year, nada!  I can probably count on two hands the number of times it’s rained.  Your offerings and prayers to Cocijo would be much appreciated!

Update:  Wow, I have some powerful blog readers — it rained last night!!!  Mil gracias.  

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What’s your internet connection like?

Wire and cactus on tile roof of INTER_NETJOLY

Do you think the cactus help?

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Returned from the mercado this afternoon to find…

Garden pot breaking on top of the garden god

… a crack in the pot.  Garden god bursting with pride???

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