Lookin’ Fly : Cholla Flowers

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How much time do you spend pondering the water situation in the West?  Some?  None?  I think about it a lot.  Maybe I am somewhat prone to thinking about catastrophes and potential survival situations due to the ol’ INFP/INFJ personality characteristics.  I’ve mentioned to you before that I added “Cargo Ships” to my Google news feed after watching Captain Phillips (so much interesting stuff about ships – but never good).  Well, I’ve also added “Colorado River” and “Lake Mead” to the list, and let me tell you, no good has come from knowing more about where our water resources stand (beyond fretting, that is, and spreading the good word about planting cactus instead of  citrus trees).  To make things more fun, I now watch these two sites regularly, one showing the daily elevation and input vs. output of Lake Powell and the other of Lake Mead.  And then there’s this handy piece of information, showing us where Arizona sits in the game of rights to water from the Colorado River.  There are all sorts of people writing articles about where our water issues are headed, and none of them sound too great.  In fact, a first round of alarm bells is supposed to go off when Lake Powell hits an elevation of 3575 feet, which happened sometime in March.  Another series of bells go off when Lake Mead hits 1075 feet, which is potentially going to happen sometime this summer since we’re only 21′ away from that mark.


Should I go on?


I’m not sure what it all means.  Do you?  I think it might mean that a huge percentage of us will have to move out of the desert, and maybe not too far from now.  50 years?  Maybe that’s being optimistic.


Clockwise from top left:


They’re all Cholla Flowers!  Staghorn Cholla, to be precise.

I know, I know, I mention cholla way too much and you already know how much I love it.  But I do!  And you should, too.  It’s low water (let’s just say no water, because rain alone will do just fine), birds love the fruit, pollinators love the flowers, and they’re just all around awesome.  All four of those pictures are from the same kind of cholla – Optunia versicolor, to be exact.  It’s marvelous that they range from red to orange to yellow to brown with all sorts of variation in between.  Plus, I’ve already shown you how to snatch some of these lovelies and add them to your space.  So let’s gather up our optimistic selves and dream of ways that we can continue to live in dry climates.  One way would be to stop dumping water on non-native landscape plants and instead cultivate what grows here naturally.  Cheers to cholla this fine dry day.




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