Saturday, March 31, 2018


Would you find it hard to choose the plants in your garden whose bloom you most anticipate. It isn't hard for me. Today two of those much anticipated plants were blooming. The first is the Claret cup cactus, Echinocereus triglochidiatus. My anticipation begins when I start to count the number of blooms I am going to have this year. Bud formation began a few weeks ago and I counted 16 buds.

If you look closely you can see more blooms which will open later this week. Whereas many cactus blooms are ephemeral these ones are made of sturdier stuff and last a number of days. Do I remember saying I didn't like red flowers? I soon got over that when this cactus arrived in my garden. For most of the year it sits quietly among the rocks preparing for next year. I don't fertilize or water and that's just what it gets in its native Texas Hill Country setting. I gave it just a home like that in my front courtyard garden among the limestone rocks. It makes a great partner for the bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis, and the square bud primrose, Calylophus sp. In front a purple skull cap has seeded and its blooms will give some shade to the claret cup during the hot summer.

Then there is another cactus where I find myself counting buds. The ladyfinger cactus, Echinocereus pentalophus. On one small plant 13 buds. This is a banner year and I think our colder winter takes credit for this bloom. The three cactus plants were in the potting shed and the temperature in there got down into the high 30s. They can take some cold but would have probably been lost during the two 18º F nights this winter. Mine are in pots. Plants with long trailing stems would really prefer to be in the ground where they can trail along the ground rather than hanging over the sides of a pot.

And deep in the heart of the flower, rolling around in the pollen is the same fruit fly-sized bee that also visits my Echinopsis flowers. What is it that attracts him to this kind of flower I wonder? Is he a specialist bee who visit cactus flowers? Was he waiting for this flower to open because it was not open until after noon.

And in a few weeks I will be anticipating the flowers on my lace cactus, Echonocereus reichenbachii. As you can see this genus is one of my favorites when it blooms in my spring garden. It all helps to soften the end of bloom time for the Lady Banks rose. Farewell! See you next year. I'll be saying the same of my cactus in a weeks time.


  1. Wow, the color of the ladyfinger cactus just about seared my eyes! It's incredible. I don't grow any flowering cactus but perhaps I should remedy that omission. Best wishes for a happy Easter, Jenny.

  2. If I had 16 Echinocereus triglochidiatus flowers in my garden I’d be on top of the moon. What a wonderful sight.

  3. Your pictures are beautiful, Jenny. I will be adding more flowering cactus in my xeriscape garden based on what I see here. Thank you and Happy Easter!

  4. I love seeing photos of flowers that I can't grow. The colours of both cactuses are stunning.

  5. Dazzling, those Claret Cups. They should be better and better every year.

    I discovered Calylophus a couple of years ago, what a stellar plant it is.

    Happy Spring!

  6. Those claret cups are gorgeous! Most of my small cactus collection is tender and spends winter in the greenhouse. I am eagerly watching buds growing on 3 of them.

  7. What stunning colors. They certainly let you know they've arrived!