When I see a cactus in flower it makes my heart leap. The flower may only be there for a brief moment but it draws bees and beetles in like a magnet. They have just a short window to do their job.
The excitement this week came from seeing this.
The balloon cactus, Notocactus magnificus, in my home made hypertufa pot, is about to bloom for the second time. This is a response to the recent rains when the pleated ribs swelled with water and buds began to form in the center. Just half an hour after I took this photo the sun reached the plant and within minutes the flowers opened.
This time I was there as the flowers opened and was able to capture them in all their perfection. Not all the flowers opened at once. Just the outer ring. It must be natures way of spreading the chances of pollination. As yet no pollinators had arrived.
The second happening to cause great excitement was anticipation of the blooming of a 12 year old Spanish bayonet yucca, Yucca aloifolia.
As I looked through the kitchen window the other morning I saw something unusual in the center of the tallest spike. Could it be about to bloom?
Not one bud but three blooms have appeared. It will be some days before the flowers open but what a thrill it will be.
I wonder if they will be like those on the twist-leaf yucca Yucca rupicola, which is currently blooming in my garden.
This yucca is endemic to the Edward's Plateau on which our garden sits. Protected from browsing deer, who love the asparagus-like stalks when they first appear, it bloomed for the first time last year.
Growing up in England no one had cactus. After all they were new world plants.
As they have become more popular and easier to find in the nurseries I have mixed them in with my other similarly adapted plants. Here's a selection of just a few.
A flyer arrived in my mailbox this week. The Cactus and Succulent Society of America is having their convention here this week and their plant sale is open to the public.
I'll be there and I may just be tempted to add to my collection.