Hiya, flowering cacti and vines; goodbye, pipe-planted sotol

Could 07, 2021

After a very good rain final week and now temps within the higher 80s, my cacti have began blooming. And oh, these flowers! I like their jewel-bright colours and satiny petals, which strikingly distinction with the spiny, austere crops themselves. Right here’s a brand new one in my assortment: peanut cactus (Echinopsis chamaecereus), a passalong from a San Antonio gardener — thanks, Ragna!

Ragna shared with me that “a good friend picked it up at a storage sale and handed it on to me. I subscribe to a whole lot of blogs, however oddly sufficient — since it’s such a prolific bloomer — I’ve by no means seen it talked about. It says zone 10, however it’s been completely hardy for me with only a sheet thrown over it when a tough freeze is predicted. It has a protracted blooming interval beginning in early summer time. It will get morning solar, and I fertilize sometimes.”

The sunshine choices in my backyard are just about dappled shade all over the place apart from Demise Star-set-to-full-power on the deck, the place most of my cactus assortment lives. I don’t have any morning solar with afternoon shade for a small potted plant, so it’s dwelling on the higher patio in vibrant shade with a burst of late afternoon solar. To date, so good!

Right here’s one other magnificence, a thriller cactus with vivid orange flowers.

They perch atop the fuzzy stem like a jeweled brooch on a hat.

Mammillaria cactus is on the point of placed on a present with a crown of pink flowers.

To not be outdone, slightly hedgehog cactus (Thelocactus setispinus) topped itself with a moonshine-yellow blossom with a rusty-orange middle. The steel chameleon with marble eyes was a present from my good friend Linda Peterson, one other San Antonio gardener (click on the hyperlink to see her attractive backyard).

No flowers on the brand-new horse crippler cactus (Echinocactus texensis), which replaces a freeze-rotted Coahuila lace cactus. I’m desperate to see what the horse crippler can do!

Extra flowers

It isn’t solely cacti which might be blooming. Fuchsia-flowered ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) places on a vivid present in spring too.


Clematis vines shrugged off the February deep freeze and look higher than ever. I believe chilly agrees with them. That is Clematis viticella ‘Etoile Violette’.

And right here’s the candy, bell-shaped flower of Clematis ‘Rooguchi’.

It climbs a skinny wire wrapped round a fluted pot planted with a squid agave. This vine by no means will get any greater than one circuit across the pot.

After the rain, native white rain lilies popped up within the island mattress, however this pink one shocked me. I’d forgotten that I’d caught a couple of Zephryanthes ‘Labuffarosea’ in there too.

I misplaced my Mexican orchid tree within the freeze, however the native one, Anacacho orchid (Bauhinia lunarioides), made a rapid restoration and not too long ago opened starry, white flowers.

A ‘Brilliant Edge’ yucca within the again backyard has despatched up a flower spike, and the buds are starting to open.

Alongside the driveway, Texas sotol (Dasylirion texana), bursting with spring fever, has despatched up 3 towering bloom spikes which might be most likely about 12 ft tall now.

Not every little thing is filled with life. My lovely toothless sotol (Dasylirion longissimum) lastly rotted away after teasing me that it might need survived the snowpocalypse. I discovered it slumped over at some point. Its central leaves had been rotten and straightforward to drag out, slightly like a bloomin’ onion! What a sickly-sweet stench they made too.

The leaves are spoon-shaped on the base, the place they fashioned the core of the plant. I suppose that’s why one other sotol species, Dasylirion wheeleri, is called desert spoon.

The decrease portion isn’t proving as straightforward to drag out. The lifeless, breakable leaves are nonetheless hooked up to the basis ball, and it’ll be difficult to get that out of the tall metal pipe. I’ve known as for reinforcements, however everyone seems to be so busy proper now I’ll have to determine a strategy to muscle it out myself. The funniest half is, I discovered a alternative however solely in a 1-gallon dimension. It’s puny! Austin plant customers, for those who spot a 3- or 5-gallon toothless sotol within the subsequent few days, please let me know the place. In any other case I’m going to have a really lengthy watch for this starburst impact once more.

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Digging Deeper: Information and Upcoming Occasions

Want backyard teaching? If you need a garden-coaching session that can assist you bounce again from Austin’s February snowpocalypse, I’m providing teaching companies once more for a restricted time. We’ve all misplaced crops, and it may be exhausting to know what to prune again, what to provide extra time for restoration, and what the most effective alternative crops on your yard may be. I’m right here to assist! Contact me to let me know what’s occurring and what you need assistance with. Austin to Cedar Park areas most well-liked, however I’m versatile so let me know the place you might be. Weekday mornings solely.

It’s pond tour time! Seize your solar hat and attend Austin’s twenty sixth annual Pond and Backyard Tour on June 5 and 6. Sponsored by the Austin Pond Society, the tour consists of 13 ponds over two days, with admission of $20 prematurely (till 5/31) and $25 on the day of (on-line funds solely; no money).

Be a part of the mailing record for Backyard Spark! Hungry to find out about backyard design from the specialists? I’m internet hosting a sequence of talks by inspiring backyard designers, panorama architects, and authors a couple of occasions a yr in Austin. (Whereas in-person talks are presently on hiatus because of the pandemic, I plan to renew once more as quickly as doable.) Talks are limited-attendance occasions that promote out rapidly, so be a part of the Backyard Spark e mail record to be notified prematurely. Merely click on this hyperlink and ask to be added.

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