Yesterday, we did our best the celebrate Cinco de Mayo or as my sweet friend who made a pinata out of a paper gift bag and hung it over her railing for her kids tagged it, #gringodemayo. She is one of the funniest people I know.
Sadly, I didn’t have a chance to make the blackberry margaritas I mentioned on Friday. Between it being a late evening for my husband on his National Guard “drill weekend” and an afternoon Cub Scout leaders meeting for me, it just didn’t happen. So we made do with chips and store-bought salsa, a glass of red wine and quick and easy soft tacos on whole wheat tortillas. #gringodemayo
Maybe next weekend I’ll get a Mother’s Day Blackberry Margarita?!
While it was a busy weekend, it was a beautiful spring weekend, moderate and breezy and so enjoyable. We are just on the verge of the summer heat and many of the spring blooms are beginning to fade. So, I think it is about time I share with you a little of the beauty of the Sonoran Desert as it comes to life with color each spring.
My camera and growing interest in photography have given me a new appreciation for just how fantastic this unique landscape is and how blessed I am to get to enjoy it everyday. If you think the desert is brown and desolate, take a look, you might just change your mind …
The Ocotillo is one of my favorite desert plants. I love the architecture of its long thin spines and the beauty of the orange tufts that appear at their tips each spring.
We are on 2.2 acres and have more Palo Verde trees than I can count. Well, I probably can count them I’ve just never actually had the inclination to do so. What I can tell you is that in the spring, our property is ablaze in the beautiful yellow blossoms that cover these gorgeous trees. Palo Verde means “green stick” which characterizes the deep green trunk and branches of the tree.
The Staghorn Cholla produces some of the most beautiful blooms in the desert. I think they look a bit like wild roses. I love the contrast of something so lovely and delicate coming from a plant that is so harsh and hostile.
Hostile? Very. Cholla are pretty vicious plants, particularly Teddy Bear Cholla like this one. An ironic name as this is not a cute and cuddly plant. The thousands of barbed spines give it an almost “fuzzy” appearance, hence the name “Teddy Bear” Cholla. They are also called “Jumping” Cholla as sections of the plant almost seem to jump at you as they get drier and lighter in order to be picked up in the wind and seed. They are beautiful but they are not a plant to be tangled with. Literally. Those spines are painful and we’ve had a few run-ins prompting us to remove many of them from the property. This one sits right over the eastern wall of the backyard where it doesn’t cause any trouble.
Another cactus that we have in abundance is the Prickly Pear.
There are many varieties with different colors of blooms and pads. Soon the blossoms will be replaced with an edible Prickly Pear Fruit. I haven’t used the fruit yet but maybe this year, you’ll see a few “Prickly Pear” recipes here at Welcome Company. We have a little garden of this particular variety with its delicate yellow blossoms (which I think is the New Mexico prickly pear), right outside the front door.
We trim and manage our own landscape which means several trips to the dump each year where they recycle the yard wast into mulch. On one of our dump runs, I rescued about 15 of these little aloe plants that had been thinned out and discarded (probably by the same landscapers that hurriedly
mow down with hedge trimmers prune all of the neighborhood and commercial landscaping into unnatural geometric shapes leaving it looking like a horrible martian landscape – I’ll do my landscaping myself thank you). I guess bringing something home from the dump technically makes me a “picker” but I couldn’t just leave them there. They have recovered well and look great!One of my favorite things about spring is the Jasmine that grows right outside the living room windows. After dinner when we are sitting down watching some TV or reading, the heavenly scent of the jasmine blossoms floats in through the open windows and perfumes the evening.
The blossoms of the Red Yucca are long-lasting and attract humming birds which we love to sit and watch from the back porch.
But the delicate white bell-shaped blossoms of the Blue Yucca are short-lived. I wish they lasted longer but I look forward to their return each spring.
In fact, most of the blossoms I’ve shared with you don’t last much beyond the spring. Which is part of what makes spring so special.
Luckily, we are blessed to have many plants in our desert landscape that provide us with beautiful color throughout the year.
When we moved out here nearly three years ago, the back yard was a wasteland and the landscape neglected and out of control. We have worked hard and it has been one of my greatest joys to care for it and watch it come to life.
I’ll share a little more of that journey with you this week.
One last thing …
A few days ago, I was sitting at my desk working on a post and looked up, spotting this guy through the french door window. I raced for my camera, switched the lens and somehow managed to get these two shots of him. When I saw him through the door, I thought he was a hawk but he turned out to be a huge Turkey Vulture.
Pretty Incredible place we live in.
The Saguaros are just starting to sprout the beautifully unique flowers that will soon crown the tops of their bodies and arms. I can hardly wait to share those photos with you.
And keep checking in because one of these days I’ll get that hawk picture I’m after!