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  • Writer's picturekaydee777

May flowers

Updated: May 24

February started the blooming in the Garden of Earthly Delights with the frothy fruit trees. March and April brought Illium and Iris (germanica and hollandica). In May a myriad other plants are opening up for a pollinator festival. Above a lucky capture of an iridescent bee on Cistus pulverulentus ‘Sunset’ (Magenta rockrose)

Opuntia various are popular places for fuzzy buzzies to congregate, though each bloom only lasts a day or two.

I thought I would be able to identify some of my newer cactacean garden roommates once they flowered.

Unfortunately, in spite of all the psychedelic offerings of recent weeks, I am nowhere nearer definitive identification on many of these prickly desert natives whom I’ve invited home from my wanderings.

Though they propagate so easily by pads, Opuntia sp. it shall be and I’ll blame the birds and the bees for creating hybrids which delight.

Incidentally does Claret cup - Echinocereus triglochidiatus come in hot pink? I purchased this just labeled “Echinocereus” from an art gallery downtown last year, hoping it was the Chihuahuan desert native Claret cup. A year later and I’m happily surprised by hot pink flowers but am nowhere near knowing which variety of Echinocereus this actually is.

Oh well.

Papaver somniferum (Breadseed poppy) also doesn’t care much about labels.

The bees love her very short lived blooms anyway.

We are all, pollinators and me, drunk on the chocolate smell of Berlandiera lyrata in the mornings. Beats the napalm of the neighbour’s cigarette smoke any day.

The yellow Caesalpinia gilliesii (Desert Bird of Paradise) are now in full bloom and attracting busy buzzing both out back and out front. Nothing like that red and yellow against the impossible blue. (See what I did there: got all the colours of the South African flag. Kinda - if you see the shadows as black and highlights as white.)

Kniphofia (Torch lilies/Red Hot Poker) have recovered from their somewhat shocking spring transplanting to raise spears of orange, peach and yellow.

I didn’t realize that I had three versions of this plant of my childhood landscapes. Nostalgia thy name is Kniphofia.

In the early morning, shaded by sunflowers and rising above calendula, the orange spears are a delight.

Another childhood plant, the yellow Bulbine abyssinica (Drakensberg bulbine) is also just coming into flower with their lovely little yellow stars, hiding rather obscurely (top center of image) behind the Kniphofia.

The blue glitter of Eryngium bourgatii (Mediterranean Sea Holly) sparkles right now in a central bed of coral shades of yarrow, yellow buttons of aromatic Santolina chamaecyparissus (lavender cotton)and blue catmint. The photo doesn’t do the visual splendor justice.

While I have deliberately sought out pollinator friendly, arid adapted and desert winter cold hardy plants from the South African floral kingdom, I am finding certain interesting Mediterranean flowering plants also thrive here. Many thanks to the Last Emperor for directing my attention to that region’s flora.

Pomegranates continue to bloom brilliant orange.

Allium hollandicum (aka Persian onions or Dutch garlic) are showing signs of bringing their deep magenta to the party very soon.

May is certainly a blooming marvelous month in this little piece of Chihuahuan desert. It is made all the more precious knowing the immanence of the scorching heat of summer when all living beings will hunker down to endure (if they can). We are promised another record breaking hot one. Again.

Yes, achieving this fiesta of flowers, and pollinator heaven, does require a deep watering several times a week for the most. Opuntia, Caesalpinia and the lovely sweetly scented, almost orchard-like blooms of Chilopsis (Desert Willow) are the exception. They get bath water about once a week but would get by on none if need be.

This post is especially for my favorite nonagenarian. And the Last Emperor, too, who always gives such good horticultural advice. What was goatsheads and dust then, there, five years ago has transformed into a pollinator paradise, thanks hugely to your enlightened input.

Wish you could be here, now, in this oh so ephemeral garden of delight.

Here. Now.

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May 24

Amazing palette of colors and textures - subtle to brillant - pollen to prickly

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