24 June 2009

Prickly Survivor

I don't remember how it got there, but there is a low growing prickly cactus in my parent's yard outside Binghamton New York. Every summer it blossoms in yellow flowers, then takes the rest of the season to grow new sections. It survives the New York winters, nestled in its small micro climate along the south facing side of the house.

Last year, I received a few sections of the cactus, thinking they would be great for the new south-facing side yard garden where the platforms to the deck are now built. The plan is to create a small garden of succulents and cacti in a small micro climate, and maybe try some zone 7b and 8 plants (hey, with global warming and all...) This would be the charter member to join the yucca and agave already on the wish list.

With fall chores in the garden turning into indoor chores for the holidays, the cactus remained in its soil-less pot outside during most of the winter - no roots, collecting water and snow, freezing, thawing, and in a 'droopy deflated' appearance. In February, it was finally planted with little expectations.

This month, after settling into its new home, it is sending out lots of new growth along with three blossoms. It would be good to find out the name or variety of this cactus. I did see many similar types on my Grand Canyon hike four years ago, surviving the winters in the high desert, and growing along side some similar magenta-flowering types. If I can only find some of those to keep my yellow one company, the cactus garden will be off to a great start.

For The Record:
  • No fertilizer
  • Full sun
  • Somewhat heavy soil on a slope that drains

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: salvia, corepsis, some hostas, alyssum, coneflowers, asian lilies,
     loosetrife, daylilies, white nicotiana
  • Harvested: 1 broccoli head