Day two of my week long series of images in black and white.
This particular image is of a Peruvian Cereus, which only blooms at night. You can see it happen in real time during this 2-min. video. Enjoy!
When we first moved to the “cactus ranch,” I thought this was just another variety of cactus. I had no idea what this plant would do until I saw the pods forming and, wow, do they grow fast! I was up early in the morning to catch images before they closed up.
This particular morning, I got up a little late but managed to capture it before it closed and was gone for good. I have to say that I truly loved the natural wonder of this cactus. It had (I counted) 27 blooms of beauty. I miss it!
My throw-back Thursday image is one that I really love. It makes me a little homesick for the desert and the Catalina Mountains I saw every day. I think I took them for granted. Sorry!
When I first got my Nikon camera, I played a lot with settings and this image is one that came out pretty good, I think. The sun was starting to set on the mountains and peering through the storm clouds that were gathering for a summer rain that evening.
We called this place the cactus ranch because it was eight acres of cactus; all shapes, sizes and varieties. But even cactus has it’s own beauty.
The southern Arizona desert has some interesting plants and flowers. Recently I was combing through some of my images and found these. The top one is an image of a night-blooming Peruvian Cereus, which was in our back yard at the “Cactus Ranch.” Unfortunately, the hard freeze that we had a few years ago destroyed the plant. I found that to be particularly sad, but everything has a life cycle, including us.
The good news is that we can leave behind something of beauty if we choose. We all have that opportunity. I’m grateful to our Cereus plant for sharing her beauty with us, and that I was able to capture these images for posterity. I did some digital enhancements on the top one because I’ll be using it for cards. The bottom image is what the plant looks like with several blooms. Namaste’
I can see why these native southern AZ plants are called Blue Agave. When the light is just right, they are more blue than anything else in the desert. Pretty interesting facts about these:
Agave tequilana, commonly called blue agave (agave azul), tequila agave, mezcal or maguey is an agave plant that is an important economic product of Jalisco, Mexico, due to its role as the base ingredient of tequila, a popular distilled spirit. The high production of sugars, mostly in the form of fructose, in the core of the plant is its most important characteristic, making it suitable for the preparation of alcoholic beverages.
The tequila agave is native to Jalisco, Mexico. The plant favors altitudes of more than 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) and grows in rich and sandy soils. Blue agave plants grow into large succulents, with spiky fleshy leaves, that can reach over 2 meters (6½ feet) in height. Agaves sprout a stalk (quiote) when about five years old that can grow an additional 5 meters (16 feet); they are topped with yellow flowers. This stalk is cut off from commercial plants so the plant will put more energy into the heart.
The flowers are pollinated by a native bat (Leptonycteris nivalis) and produce several thousand seeds per plant. The plant then dies. The shoots on commercial plants are removed when about a year old to allow the heart to grow larger. The plants are then reproduced by planting these shoots; this has led to a considerable loss of genetic diversity in cultivated blue agave.
It is rare for one kept as a houseplant to flower, but a 50-year old blue agave in Boston grew a 10 m (30 ft) stalk requiring a hole in the greenhouse roof and flowered in the summer of 2006.
This particular plant is au naturale at about four feet high at the entrance to our driveway. We once paid $75 for one of these to go in our back yard at a previous house. It ended up dying and I’m pretty sure the landscaper just yanked one out of the desert and charged us that price. We have an abundance of them here. Go figure. Namaste’
First of all, let me say thank you to all of you wonderful people out there who have given me such words of encouragement, especially from yesterday’s post. And second, let me also say that I’ve not been keeping up with all of you in terms of reading your posts, but I do plan to catch up. I enjoy reading them and seeing your photos so much. Dear Nia, there’s no way I can keep up with you 🙂
Today’s photos are from our yard. The barrel cactus are blooming again and the strange thing is that they’re blooming in different colors. I truly don’t remember them being this color last season. Normally they are a pale yellow, but I could be going crazy … again! Or this is Mother Nature’s way of thumping me on the head and saying “pay attention, Missy!” Namaste’