Tag Archive for: Opuntia basilaris

Well, I have to admit, that in the past, I did not truly understand the allure of vegetable gardening.  Sure, I had to grow my own plot of vegetables in college for my horticulture class – but that was for a grade.  I also dutifully helped people create their own gardens, but I never had one for myself.  

That was then, and this is now….I am completely hooked on vegetable gardening!  Each morning, I go out to see how my plants are doing and the kids hurry home for school and check to see if there have been any changes.  Their favorite thing to do is to find the newly ripened cherry tomatoes to eat – they never make it to our salads.

vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening

I just love this view outside of my family room window.  I can see the tops of my corn just over the fence and my flowering Palo Verde in the background.  The Palo Verde flowers are providing a nice layer of mulch for my garden.

At first, it seemed like it was taking a long time for my small plants to begin growing.  I celebrated each time a tiny seedling germinated, but it seemed to take a while for them to really get going.  But, that is probably because I was watching them so closely every day, which reminds me of the saying “A watched pot never boils.” 

That is where pictures help to provide a healthy dose of reality for me.  Below, is a picture I took of our little garden, just two weeks after planting from seed….

vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening

*The transplants in the seed trays were for an upcoming service project and I also gave some to my mother for her garden.

Now, I know that I did not organize my plantings very well and probably have done quite a few things wrong, but that is what is fun about gardening.  You can learn so much just by doing.  For example, you should have three rows of corn in order for them to pollinate each other.  Since I do not have that much corn, I will have the kids help with the pollination, so they can learn even more about how things grow.

That is where pictures help to provide a healthy dose of reality for me.  Below, is a picture I took of our little garden, just two weeks after planting from seed….

vegetable gardening

*The transplants in the seed trays were for an upcoming service project and I also gave some to my mother for her garden.

Now, I know that I did not organize my plantings very well and probably have done quite a few things wrong, but that is what is fun about gardening.  You can learn so much just by doing.  For example, you should have three rows of corn in order for them to pollinate each other.  Since I do not have that much corn, I will have the kids help with the pollination, so they can learn even more about how things grow.

Below is a picture taken two weeks ago of my tomato plant in the right back corner and there is such a difference.

vegetable gardening

You can see above my tomato plant has grown quite a bit in just four weeks and I have pumpkin growing in the foreground ( I realize that we sowed the pumpkin seedlings too early and will probably have pumpkins this summer, but the kids were so excited to grow some right now).

Now, come see the garden at just six weeks after sowing the seeds.  I must admit, that I am a little bit proud of our garden ๐Ÿ™‚

vegetable gardening

The corn is now taller then the fence and I can see the corn flower starting to emerge.  

vegetable gardening

Our single tomato plant is growing so beautifully and produces quite a few tomatoes for us.  I will be planting a lot more tomato plants next time – maybe give each of the kids their own plant.

vegetable gardening

Our climate is ideal for growing watermelon and I cannot wait to see the flowers start to appear on our watermelon plants.

watermelon

The  flowers are starting to appear on our cucumber plants.

cucumber

I love the large leaves of the pumpkin plant.

pumpkin

My tiny oregano plant is starting to look more like a little plant then just a couple of leaves.  *This is a macro-view and the plant is actually still quite small.

oregano plant

You can tell that I have already started to use some of my basil ๐Ÿ™‚

basil

My sunflowers are starting to grow tall.

And I can see that flowers are almost ready to appear….

sunflowers

Some years, it seems that we go straight from winter into summer and skip over spring.  But this year, we have had a lovely spring, but now that temperatures are climbing into the 90’s, I have covered some of the garden in shade cloth (the corn are too tall and do not require shade).  This helps to protect the leaves and vegetables from becoming sunburned.  

My daughter, Ruthie, is so proud of our little garden and made me a sign for the garden for Mother’s Day.  She cut it out of wood (with her dad’s help) and painted it for me.

our garden

Thank you so much for letting me show you how our garden is growing.

I will post another update soon, probably as soon as I see some flowers.

Have a great day!

One the most frequent comments that I receive from readers is that some of the plants that grow in the desert are so strange and unusual.  This is especially true for those of us who are not desert natives.  

Although I have lived here in the desert for over 24 years, I still find many of the plants unique and strange to my eyes.  

unique plants

As promised, this is a continuation of our visit to “The Living Desert” in Palm Desert, California.  Yesterday we looked at many of the beautiful flowering plants.  Today, I thought we would focus on some of the unusual yet beautiful plants that we saw.

unique plants

While we were walking, my sister (Daisy Mom) asked me if I knew what all the plants were.  The horticulturist in me would have loved to have said yes, but that would have been a lie.  Many of the plants we saw were collected from dry regions from around the world, including parts of Africa.  

The truth is is that you do not need to know a plant’s name to be able to enjoy it’s beauty, like the one above.

Kokerboom

  Kokerboom (Aloe dichotoma)

Would you believe that the plant above is an aloe?

unique plants

Here is a beautiful aloe flower that we encountered.

Mexican Blue Fan Palm

 Mexican Blue Fan Palm (Brahea armata) This is a slow growing palm and this is a very tall specimen.  My nephew is 6 ft. tall.

My nephew (Monkey Boy) was a great companion.  Many times when I went to venture off of the main path, he offered to come along with me and was always excited about what strange plants we would find.   How many teenage boys would offer to hang out with their aunt?  I am truly blessed.

unique plants

A collection of various kinds of columnar cacti that are native to Baja California were very interesting to see.

unique plants

The cacti in the middle looks like the tentacles of a squid reaching out to catch something.

unique plants

Brightly colored barrel cactus.

Mr. Green Jeans

 My son idolizes his older cousin Mr. Green Jeans.

I enjoy spending time with my oldest nephew, Mr. Green Jeans, who also loves to take photographs as much as I do.  We were constantly walking behind everyone because we were so busy taking pictures of the beauty surrounding us.

 Prickly Pear

  Beavertail Prickly Pear (Opuntia basilaris) starting to form flower buds. In April they produce beautiful magenta flowers. 

A Boojum Tree

 A Boojum Tree (Fouquieria columnaris)

The Boojum tree is closely related to the Ocotillo, which is not a type of cactus as many people believe.

Ocotillo

 Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)

This beautiful specimen of an Ocotillo towered above my husband and son.  This time of year, Ocotillo are leafing out and beginning to produce their orange colored flowers. 

California Fan Palms

 California Fan Palms (Washingtonia filifera)

California Fan Palms, not surprisingly are native to this area of the desert.  They had very old and beautiful palms that dwarfed my nephew and daughter as they walked by.

unique plants

Not surprisingly, there are those plants that you would do well to keep your distance from.

My nephew

  My nephew (Monkey Boy) and my daughter taking a break.

I realize that it may look as if my daughter has a rattlesnake around her neck….and she does.  But, she didn’t pick it up out of the desert…it is a plastic one.  She has an affinity for toy snakes.  We are not sure why, but I am happy to give her all of the toy snakes she wants if it keeps her from wanting a real one.

Chainfruit Cholla

Chainfruit Cholla

We had a wonderful day.  I believe that my sister thought that we would spend 2 – 3 hours walking around.  But it was 5 hours before we finally headed back to our cars.  The fault lies with me….I had such a great time enjoying all of the beautiful plants and taking 500+ pictures.  My entire family was so patient and understanding, although next time I may need to bring my own car so I can stay late.

Soon, I will post about what we saw up above and was easily missed if we had just kept our eyes to the ground.

โ€œPlant As I Sayโ€ฆ..NOT As I Doโ€