Lookin’ Fly : Cactopia #2

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In the last week I’ve added two new things to my diet, and have been consuming them each about twice daily (though not together, yet): 1) Cream of Wheat, and 2) Reese’s Chocolate and Peanut Butter Shell Topping (the fun liquid that turns to solid when placed on ice cream).  I don’t think either of these things play a major role in a healthy eating plan.  #1 is purely refined grains (but delicious with butter and honey) and #2 is a combination of sugar, palm oil, coconut oil, peanut oil and artificial flavors.  Yum!

On the healthy side of things, I am finally 95% over the swine flu/Bubonic plague after only two full weeks.  I am ready to do a song and dance of rejoice, which I will record and display here on the blog for your enjoyment.  There’s nothing like a persistent illness to remind you that maintaining good health is essential (which obviously does not include hard shell topping…this will be the last bottle of it!).  By last Friday I was so desperate to feel better that I went in for an acupuncture/cranio-sacral therapy/TuiNa (Chinese massage) appointment with my good friends Brent and Iylea at Sonoran Desert Acupuncture.  It was awesome, and it gave me the ability to kick this thing once and for all.  If you’re having any sort of health or body issues, these two are awesome at what they do.  Plus, they’re super affordable and they have chickens and bunnies and gardens outside their tranquil clinic.

Before we start on today’s plants, I want to let you know that most of the stuff from the original Lookin’ Fly post is still going strong.  The desert marigolds are still blooming and new plants are popping up everywhere, the California poppies have about another week, and the Gooding’s verbena looks exactly as pretty as it did 9 weeks ago!  Can you believe that?  I can’t.  The verbena is my current favorite plant.  The snap dragons, sadly, are long departed.  And by that I mean dead, not just done blooming.   Potted annuals just aren’t my forte.  Two days without water and they were as good as gone, so I ripped them out and replaced them with a cactus.  Win!

Clockwise from top left:

Pink Comb Cactus -I purchased this cactus because I loved the multiple shades of pink spines, ranging from dark magenta to baby pink to white.  I had no idea it would bloom, nor that the bloom would be huge and magnificent and be open for many days in a row!  It’s incredible.  And the flower is nearly the same size as the cactus itself.  I hope to have this one around for a lifetime.

Bell Cactus – This is one of those Home Depot $1.49 cactus finds.  Don’t you love their selection of tiny cacti?  And at that price you can buy a dozen and not feel too bad about how it goes.  The real name of this plant is Parodia magnifica (I think…it looks a lot like the one in my Encyclopedia of Cacti and Succulents, but I’ve been wrong before).  I bought four of them and stuck them in a small pot, but then last spring one of them suddenly sprouted 17 babies off its side, so now it has its own pot.  Anyway, the flowers are a beautiful yellow with the faintest hint of peach, and this one in particular opened five days in a row. Well draining succulent soil mix is the key to healthy succulents. Traditional potting soils are made to hold water, but a succulent holds moisture in its leaves.

Hybrid Prickly Pear – One whole side of our back yard is lined with Indian fig prickly pear.  I don’t love this type of prickly pear, but for now it’s forming a very nice fence between our yard and the one next door, and it certainly has more interest than a block wall.  Well, remember that deep freeze we had a couple years ago?  After that, the Indian fig dropped about half its pads (they froze), which were then replaced by something closer to Englemann’s prickly pear, but with different (prettier) flowers.  Weird!  So the bottom half remains the original type and the top half is a whole new plant.  Gotta love the desert.

Bishop’s Cap – Even though this plant lacks spines, it’s still a cactus.  I’m not actually sure what the scientific dividing line is between cactus and succulents – do you?  Either way, this is one of my favorites.  I bought this one a few years ago at B & B Cactus Farm (you have to take a field trip here, you won’t regret it, even if you don’t buy anything) and it has quadrupled in size since then.  The flowers come and go all summer long, though they usually last just one day.

That’s the scoop for today.  How is your week looking?  Hectic?  Boring?  Nicely balanced with a splash of fun and relaxation?  I’m hoping for the latter for all of us!

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