Signs of Life

In the light of recent world events, it’s a good time to remember that out of bleakness comes brilliance. Renewal is one of the greatest miracles! Sometimes when looking at the bigger picture, hope appears futile. But focusing on the tiniest things, the smallest changes, can make anything seem possible!

In our little microcosm of Todd’s Backyard, we experienced the most devastating winter since we’ve lived here. Certainly not a dangerous, life changing event, but it did have significant effect on the plants and wildlife. With the advance of spring, the temperatures are warming and the days are getting a little longer. Finally we are seeing those small signs of life that will start to aleviate our winter woes.

Lantana buds are starting to peek out from under the frozen remains of last years greenery.

 

The barren branches are starting to bud. Hopefully, this summer, Todd’s kiwi (pictured above) will really take off!

And the bees are busy gathering nectar from the hummingbird feeders until the yard blossoms…

And it is blossoming!

One of the most exciting developments are the tiny fuzzy buds sprouting all over the Jactus!

We counted 13 buds…

And for anyone reading this that isn’t familiar with the Jactus, this is what we can expect in about 6 weeks….

And life goes on….

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Quenched & Drenched

We’ve had 4 inches of rain, and still, the monsoons rage across the desert. The ground is soaked, the trees are green, the air is thick and mushrooms of various types are sprouting all over the yard.

I think this might be the wettest season I have experienced since living here! At this rate, Todd’s Backyard is likely to become a jungle!

We actually had a pretty wet winter. This is what the quail pavilion looked like around March…

This is what it looked like this morning! We’re lucky if it gets this green by the end of the monsoons (around mid September). We should have a great crop of prickly pear fruit this fall…mmmm….can’t wait for those margaritas!

I don’t know if the resident wildlife are happy this time of year. I can’t believe it’s easy for all the birds to weather the raging storms. The squirrels must be miserable getting flooded out of their underground homes.  The javelina have to love it…they get a nice bath (which they really, really need!) But for sure, all of the plants and the cactus are getting fat and happy!…Well, maybe…

Our old man cactus looks a little grumpy. But I guess his budding blossom would mean otherwise!

Just the Beginning

As I start my own new phase in life, Todd’s Backyard is lending me great inspiration in it’s incredible re-birth after a long rainy winter! The yard has never ‘lushed’ out  so soon in the season. It usually doesn’t look like this until July…

Now, this may not look like much to some folks, but the blossoming cactus are the star of the show….

And it’s just the beginning!

This is something we haven’t seen…two different colored flowers on the same plant!

The Buckhorn cholla, ready to burst with fiery fusha flowers!

And here it is…

The entire yard is ready to burst with color!  The possibility of  total dazzlement , is due to  all the rain that has  blessed the desert this winter. In the seven years we have lived here, this promises to be the most amazing seasonal event we have ever witnessed!

And this is going to be one of the most spectacular events….hopefully tomorrow night!

Can’t wait for all the incredible ‘blossombilities’!

I will keep you posted!

Jactus Fest 2010…Possibly the Most Awesome Blossom!

The Jactus popped last night…the first blossom of the season! We celebrated with our neighbors, George and Eileen and Todd’s mom Donna, as the gigantic cactus flower came to life!  The Jactus is an Argentinian Giant (night blooming cactus) that Todd bought in memory of his late father Jack. Three months after he planted it in a pot, it put on a flowery show that we had never expected. Last year, we only got 1 blossom. But last fall, Todd planted the Jactus in the ground… And it took off….

When Todd planted it, it was just 1 stalk about 20″ tall.  In one year, it has grown 4 arms and the main stalk is about 36″ tall!

It put out 14 fuzzy blossom buds. Here is a little example of how it grew in just the last 2 weeks!

The fragrance of the Jactus blossoms, smell just like an Easter Lily… We thought it was going to pop on Easter..But hey, 2 days later?…Just extends the  seasonal celebration!

“Jactus Fest 2010”

We felt we had to celebrate the moment, because the Jactus only blossoms at dusk, comes  full bloom at night,  and then, the  flower dies the next day.

And…..Amazingly, the awesome blossom lasted throughout the day to wait for it’s partner!

Now, we get to wait for the next 12 buds to come! Happy Jactus Fest!

The Jacktus

A little over 2 years ago, Todd’s dad Jack, passed away after a long painful bout with cancer. On the day that he died, Todd wanted to plant something in memory of Jack. There happened to be a cactus nursery, across the way, going out of business. At that point in the liquidation sale, there wasn’t much  left. Todd spotted the arm of some sort of cactus, just laying on the ground. It was about 25″ long. He got it for $25. When he brought it home, I thought that $25 may have been too much, but the nursery owner assured him it was well worth it!  So Todd cut the arm into 2 pieces, let the ends scab over and planted the top part of the arm in a pot. He left the other part laying down on it’s side in another pot. We called  it ‘The Jackuts”. Little did we know, that in about 4 months, it would put on a flowery show, more awesome than we could have imagined!

The reason we were somewhat stunned, was that the blossoms started out as little fuzzy balls.

The little fuzzles grew and grew….

Until one day, they just popped open, right at dusk!

The next morning, they shriveled up. It was just one night of glory!

We found out later that the Jacktus is an Argentinian Giant…A night blooming cactus.

The other part of the Jacktus remained laying down in another pot. Amazingly, it started to sprout cactus arms…not flowers. About 8 new little cactus grew off of that one. When they got to be about 5″ long, Todd cut them off, let them scab and replanted them. Now we have little Jacktus cactus all over!

The original Jacktus looks like this today…..2 years later….

It has 4 arms and, we counted 8 little fuzzies on it, that should blossom around June or July.

I know why the  Jacktus is so happy in Todd’s Backyard….Before Jack died, especially when he was so sick, he enjoyed sitting out on the porch and watching the wildlife and peaceful beauty. He loved Todd’s Backyard so much, and always reminded us how incredibly blessed that we were, to have such a wonderful yard! And then again, we were blessed to have such a wonderful Jack!

We miss you Jack….thank you!