Monday, July 13, 2009

Spots of Color



I was hoping to have a few ripened prickly pear fruit this year to use for a vinaigrette, but it looks like the cochineal insect beat me to it. Every one of my prickly pear plants has the cochineal invasion. I lost a prized prickly pear last year to this insidious insect, and it looks like I'm headed for the loss of a few more. I spray with a strong stream of water to expose the bug (under the white stuff,) but so far it hasn't helped. Next, I will try insecticidal soap, and if that doesn't work, I'll just have to have them removed. I noticed that many neighbors also have the infestation, so even if I could get it under control in my own garden, it won't be long before it will be back.






Desert Petunia, a drought resistant summer bloomer, puts out short-lived flowers every couple of days. The shrub will be covered with flowers one day, then they dry up and there will be nothing for two days, and then it will be covered again. This goes on about 10 months of the year!






In mid June I found an old, half used packet of sunflower seeds and decided to plant them, as sunflowers do well even when planted in July, according to the planting schedule. Although the plants are still small (perhaps it is just the variety) the first flower bloomed this past weekend. The packet said mixed colors, but all the buds appear to have the standard yellow color.





My poor roses just keep trying! The 115 degree heat is just too much for them, and the buds they put out are tiny and they dry up before they can open. No matter how much I water, nothing will help them except lower temperatures. No chance of that for another couple of months.


Here's another reliable summer staple, the ubiquitous Red Bird of Paradise. I have about eight of these shrubs in my landscape. They provide brilliant color from early June until early September.




Another spot of color is this yard art lizard. He moves around to various places in my garden, depending on the season.

13 comments:

Darla said...

I've been hearing about the HOT temps ya'll have been having. Try to stay cool. Great photos and I love the Lizard!!

Suzanne said...

First of all that lizard is wonderful -- so fun. Your blooms are beautiful. The red bird of paradise is exquisite! I also love the desert petunia -- beautiful blossom! I always enjoy your posts -- you take such beautiful photos.

Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ said...

Hi Aiyana,
Did you plant plant your sunflower seeds in the ground or a pot? Do they get full sun or part day? I just love the sunflower especially. I have some seeds that I thought I'd try too. In the past the birds have eaten them though so it is great to see yours!

Claude said...

Dang... the cochineal bugs require war as far as I'm concerned. There's got to be an organic control of some sort... Failing that chemical warfare is called for... of course, with optunia, if you cut the plant off at the root rather than removing it entirely, it should resprout.

The desert petunia blooms look very similar to the ruellias I have growing here...

Carla said...

Totally love that lizard!!! I did a double take on your blog, I can imagine what its like in person! Sorry about you prickly pear, I have never heard of a pest for them, but they are not that common here, we call you Desert Petunia-Mexican Petunia very reliable, I love the color of your sunflowers (mine didn't make this year, so ANY color looks good to me:), Brilliant color is a perfect discription for the Red Bird of Paradise:) Have a wonderful day!!

Peter said...

While you may not have prickly pear fruit due to the Cochineals, you do have a very expensive red dye instead. Woohoo!

verobirdie said...

This red lizzard is gorgeous! He can visit me whenever he wants. :-)

Jean said...

The desert petunia and the bird of paradise are both wonderful! They are both lovely colors and must add a lot to the garden. My favorite has to be the lizzard! Love it! Jean

Sue said...

Your desert petunia is absolutely beautiful. I have lots of sunflowers this year, but from four inch pots that I transplanted. I couldn't get the seeds to grow this year!

Chris said...

Lookin good!

Laurie and Chris said...

Very nice spots of color!!

Phoenix C. said...

I love the art lizard!

Dee said...

I love the lizard art- what is he made of? These hot temps are something else- and little rain relief so far. I keep hoping the monsoons will ramp up but it sure has been disappointing so far.