Friday, July 4, 2008

Cactus Flower

This morning when I hauled the garbage cans to edge of the driveway, I saw that one of my cactus plants had a flower. I knew the flower was coming because it is preceded by a furry little bud. Like most cacti, the bloom is short lived, no longer than a day, so I was delighted that my early morning outing was rewarded by this sight. For some reason all of my cacti and succulents are blooming this year. Perhaps it's the overall dryness of the year that prompted them to flower in a wonderful display. Even my Aloe plant, which has never bloomed, sported three interesting orangish-yellow spiky flowers this year.

The cactus that was blooming this morning has a history as do many of my graden plants. I bought this guy at the yard sale the Tippett family held to raise money to bring Leon and Aliou to the US. The cactus was donated by Michael's mother, who is also a Patricia. It quickly found a home by my back gate where it has been making babies for two years, but it had not flowered in the two previous summers that I had it. This is the second bloom on the plant this year, but I saw only a wilting version of the last one, making this morning's flower all the more special.

Many flowers in my garden were acquired from others—coming as gifts or cuttings or from thinning projects. The sweet little yellow irises came from Jenny who got them from her grandma's yard. She also gave me some hens-n-chicks this year. I have another species of hens-n-chicks that August pulled from his mother's garden for me when he was 5. I have Lambs Ear from Pam and Allium from Christine and Love-in-a Mist from Trish. Jennie Lou gave me three of my four crepe myrtles which have shot up this year and are blooming already. When I took a gardening class, we prepared several cuttings for cultivation which have survived in my yard: artemisa, a mosquito repelling geranium, and two other plants I can't remember the name of but which are doing wonderfully well. Since we moved into a house formerly owned and gardened by our friend Doralyn, I also have plants that she cultivated: irises, mums, star jasmine, and roses, along with the trees, i.e. fruitless mulberries and ornamental plum.

The vibrant flower display is waning now that summer is coming on stronger, but I have planted the garden so that there is some kind of color all the way until November. Sometimes when there are fewer blooms, they are even more special-- like the single cactus flower this morning.

Happy Independence Day!

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