Thursday, April 7, 2011

Desert in bloom

It is spring in Arizona. 

The birds are chirping away and we even have little ones in a nest in our patio drainpipe.

And all around our park, you see the cacti in bloom. They are very beautiful and colorful. Here are some for you to enjoy as you await spring in your corner of the world.

Bees were pollinating all around these flowers

Pincushion cactus
Perhaps because I am a stitcher, my favorite cactus is the Pincushion cactus.

Barrel cactus flowers always grow at the top of
the plant. Fruits become fleshy and often juicy
when mature, but are not usually considered edible. The pulp is used to make candy.

Barrel cactus in full bloom

This cactus
is loaded with very delicate flowers with a mild scent, similar to a tulip.
But you have to sniff carefully!
This Prickly Pear cactus is loaded with buds
waiting to blossom into yellow, delicate flowers.

A "furry" looking cactus with red star-shaped flowers
Below is another Prickly Pear cactus.  The nectar from the Prickly Pear makes wonderful jelly, very popular in grocery stores and gift shops in the southwest.
But this one is unusual in that its "blooms" look (and feel) like wood.
Here is a "fish-eye" view of the blooms:
I hope spring comes soon to your area, bringing with it the welcome buds on the trees, green grass, tulips, crocus and daffodils.
And ah, yes, the fragrances!