Fri 3 Jun 2011
Written by Jeff
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NOTE – Because these spaces are public plantings, I cannot be sure of specific cultivars and indeed may even mistake a particular plant. If you notice an error, kindly let me know so I can correct the public record.
Our first place of beauty will be Tatum Blvd in N. Phoenix, between Dynamite Blvd and Cave Creek Road (see the Google Map below.)
As we continue our stroll down Tatum Blvd., we come to a nicely landscaped section of the median with a Compass Barrel Cactus nestled among the rocks. This plant often leans to the south when unrestricted hence the name “compass.”
The flowers last a short time and are not exceptional, but the long-lasting, yellow fruit left after the flower has been pollinated add interest and beauty all their own.
A somewhat unusual find is this yellow hesperaloe. Hesperaloes are generally red as indicated in the first Tatum Blvd. post. This specimen offers a nice pale yellow to the early spring palette.
There are many varieties of prickly pear cactus (opuntias), but a favorite is Opuntia Santa Rita which provides a reddish blush to any landscape. The interesting color combinations of red, green and silver provide areas a range of garden hues.
Often it is easy to overlook the smaller plants even when they are showy in their own right. One example is the Angelita Daisy below
and the Blackfoot daisy.
Brittlebush is an interesting plant. When water decreases during the warmer days of spring and summer, the plant dries up to preserve its life and often looks dead. When the rains return, the plant starts to grow again. The silvery leaves of the plant along with the show of yellow flowers makes it a good candidate for arid landscapes. This specimen is past prime, but will give our readers some idea of why this plant is attractive.
The Palo Verdes where near full-bloom when I was taking this walk. Notice the yellow flowers. There is often a carpet of yellow petals on the ground mimicking an effect often seen when snow flurries begin to gather in colder regions.
An often unsung floral desert denizen is the Creosote bush. Gardeners seem to either love or hate this plant. After a desert rain, the air is often filled with the pungent smell of the Creosote bush. It can grow wild and become unsightly, but it has yellow flowers which are followed by little “cotton ball-like” puffs. I like them because of the variety they add to the natural landscape.
A closer look at the Creosote flowers and “puff balls.”
Our last specimen on today’s walk is the Teddy Bear Cholla. This is quite a misnomer as nobody would want to hug this prickly cactus. It is easy to get stuck by the needles which seem to jump out at passersby. One light touch and you and the sticker will most likely become one. They do look very pretty when grouped, but don’t be lulled into touching–ouch!
We will wrap up our stroll down Tatum Blvd. in the third installment. As you can see, the boulevard is quite a nice place to view arid plants during the gorgeous spring weather! If you missed the first installment, you can read it HERE:
Gardening on the Moon, www.gardeningonthemoon.com, originally published this post