Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Blogger See, Blogger Do

Absolutely because I was reminded to check by this post of Xericstyle's about her gorgeous native Uvalde Texas barrel cacti in bloom, I went right out with my camera to see if my first ever flower bud on the native cholla had opened up.  First blooms are always special, and I get a little extra excited about taking pictures of every one.

I was totally that way with my children, weren't you?  We probably have 538 photos from the first 3 weeks of our first born child's life.  When it came to the second child, I still took lots of photos, but we'd learned to relax a bit by then (or exhaustion had worn us down - sort of the same thing) and did not feel the same urgency to record every single yawn, smile, and puzzled frown.

Our children are grown now (for whatever reason I refuse to call them adults though they are chronologically eligible) and honestly, if I can get two photos a year of either one I count myself fortunate.  So now I take my photographic urges out into the garden beds and fuss over the other babies - the plants.

But back to the bloom.  It is a good thing Heather motivated me to check back, because...ta daaaa!  The first flower ever to grace the cholla plant is open for business.

I'm pretty sure this is a Cylindropuntia imbricata.  It came unlabeled as a gift in one of those small mixed cacti garden dish bowls, years ago.  I moved it (gingerly) from this pot to that until I decided to take a deep breath and give it a bed to dominate.

I say dominate, because this guy gets big when released into the ground, and is so very prickly that weeding and working around one of any size is precarious.

At least for a gardener as uncoordinated as I am.  There's no telling when or where I might lurch or land as I unceremoniously yank or stretch to weed or prune.  Zigging when you should zag around a cholla?  No, thank you very much!  But with a sweet flower like this much can be forgiven, wouldn't you agree?


Tina said...

Cholla blooms are absolutely beautiful. They are dangerous though. Congratulations on your lovely new baby!

TexasDeb said...

Thanks Tina! It is a little silly how excited I get over one single blossom - I see photos online of cholla plants simply covered with flowers. It's probably a sun issue but maybe also maturity? Here's to next year!

Debra said...

Pretty flower (like a fruity sangria) and I like the branches. But ow that really does look treacherous. I used to have a yucca in the front yard (before waves of some insect ate it) and I learned to approach it with extreme caution. One time I bent over to pick something up and somehow (HOW?) managed to get stabbed in the forehead. The needle thin point didn't hurt. I only noticed the fact later when I wiped away some BLOOD DRIPPING STEADILY DOWN MY FACE. Oh, how the chickens next door laughed. Notice how I said I used to have that yucca in the front yard? When it got attacked by some kind of cactus bug I just LET them eat it. Stood back and nodded.

TexasDeb said...

Debra: Ha! I feel your pain. Literally. I've been stabbed many (many!) times by the agave and yucca out front. That image of you standing and nodding while that yucca got what it deserved is a great one. Take that, you laughing chickens!

Pam/Digging said...

Beautiful flower! I have many spiky plants, and some scare me more than others (to the point that I clip off the spiny tips). But cholla is one that scares me enough to enjoy only in others' gardens. I'm glad you're brave enough, Deb. I'll admire it in yours!

TexasDeb said...

Pam: Brave enough or foolish enough perhaps but the deed is long done and I can't imagine yanking that cholla out at this point. Not after it bloomed! Honestly, it never occurred to me to snip off any spiny tips but that is a genius idea. I hope you'll lead the way perhaps with a future blog post about that?

Pam/Digging said...

I don't clip as a rule. But for agaves that are close to the path, or that are at Cosmo's eye level (not many), I do clip the tips off their spines. I saw it done by Jeff Pavlat in the Central Texas Gardener episode about his garden, which you should be able to find on YouTube.

TexasDeb said...

Pam: Thanks for the tip (I'm SO punny!). I'll check into the video clip and will hopefully feel permitted to do a bit of snipping here and there to make it a little safer to work around the pointy parts.