Friday, January 04, 2013

Cactus Hats and Hints of Spring

The New Year has brought cold weather to the Sonoran Desert. But because we’ve had some rain and because it was so warm through most of December there are pockets of wildflowers coming up here and there, as well as blooms by some flowers that won’t be stopped by anything but a hard freeze.

Marigolds-chiltepins better 1-2-2013 9-14-24 AM 1688x2058                                Bluebells 1-2-2013 9-14-02 AM 967x1971

Desert Marigolds and Chiltepin fruits                           Arizona Bluebells

In most of Tohono Chul Park, our plants meet more hospitable conditions than those out in the desert. We irrigate many flower beds, and surround them with wire to keep out rabbits and javelinas. And we cover many non-native plants on nights when freezing conditions are expected.

Horse and cactus with hats 1-2-2013 8-59-31 AM 3264x2448

These Mexican Fence Posts and other columnar cacti grow from the top of the stem, so it’s necessary to protect the delicate growing tip from freezing. We do this with styrofoam drinking cups. The next morning it is always a cheery sight, with the covered cacti looking something like a Shriner’s convention. (I personally think we should put tassels on the cups, but so far nobody has taken my suggestion.)

Fencepost cactus and cups 1-2-2013 8-59-03 AM 3264x2448


  1. Very cute photos! They look like drunken revelers at a New Year's Eve party.

  2. My sister is Sierra Vists sent me photos of their place, with snow on the prickly pears and mesquite.

    1. I'll bet those photos are stunning, Sue. Most people who don't live here don't realize how beautiful the desert can be in the winter!