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I love springtime in the desert when it comes alive in shades of yellow, orange and pink.  

Beavertail prickly pear (Opuntia basilaris)

Last week, while I was driving through a residential area nestled in the desert mountains, I could hardly keep my eyes on the road.


Everywhere I turned, there were brightly colored cactus blooming.  It’s a small miracle that I didn’t crash into the curb as I drove closer.


Even though this is my 31st spring in the desert Southwest, watching prickly cactus transform into colorful accents never ceases to amaze me.

Claret Cup Cactus

Strawberry Hedgehog

I like to see smaller cacti such as claret cup and strawberry hedgehog planted alongside boulders for a mix of textures.  The cactus also like the opportunity for their roots to be shaded by the boulder.


The colors of flowering cacti range from shades of orange, pink, red and yellow.


There are so many different types of flowers that it can be hard to identify them all.  But, that doesn’t stop you from enjoying their pretty flowers.


The flower petals are somewhat waxy and sturdy.  Bees flock to the open blooms.


Prickly pear cacti are particularly spectacular this time of year, and their flower color varies depending on the species.


I can hardly wait to see all the blossoms begin to open.

Pincushion cactus (Mammillaria)

I must confess that I don’t have a lot of cactus in my garden – I am more of a flowering shrub and perennial gal.  But, I do have a few cactus tucked in here and there that I have obtained over the years.

My favorite it a small pincushion cactus, which produces rings of pink flowers off and on throughout spring and summer.  The small, native bees just love the flowers.

How about you?  Do you have a favorite flowering cactus?


Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)
Soft, pastel colored flowers ready for Easter.  But on a cactus?  

Absolutely!

 
Each year, an event occurs in the surrounding desert about the same time as Easter.  Beautiful spots of bright color start to appear on the hillsides of the desert.
Cacti everywhere are beginning to bloom.
Isn’t it amazing that such a tough, prickly plant produces such gorgeous flowers?
Purple Prickly Pear (Opuntia violaceae santa-rita)
The flowers themselves are soft….unlike the cactus.

Every spring, I look forward to seeing the beautiful show that the cacti put on with their colorful blooms.  I have anxiously been waiting to share them with you and now they are beginning to bloom 🙂
  
I hope you have enjoyed these unusual, yet beautiful flowers.

Happy Easter!