Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Endless Summer

Libellula saturata (Orange Skimmer Dragonfly)

Gymnocalycium schickendantzii

Ferocactus cylindraceus

Thelocactus 'bicolor'

Caesalpinia pulcherrima

We set some more temperature records this past week--a couple of days at 111 degrees--so it's not yet fall in the desert. Many plants had started putting out new growth, thinking that fall had arrived because of the shorter days. The late September weather surprise left tender new shoots roasted. The same thing happened this past spring. Even with these setbacks, most of the trees, shrubs, cacti and succulents really had a growth surge this year because of the very good rainfall (10.4 inches to date at my house, compared with 4.28 inches for 2009.) The downside of this growth spurt with the cacti is that they produced very few blooms, and among the ones that did flower, most were small.

Birds and butterflies have been scarce around here most of the year, but now that the summer cover crop of pearl millet growing in nearby fields is ripening, hundreds of crow-like birds are hanging around my back yard. They'll be here until the crop is harvested.

My garden environment should attract more birds and butterflies--I have the magnet plants, water, trees, and all the other environmental attractors necessary, but still no butterflies, and other than the occasional Anna's hummingbird, not many birds--except for those transient crows and the ever-present mourning doves.  I've also tried attracting Mason Bees, and even contemplated buying a bundle of bees when none came around to my nesting tube, but with the luck I've had with birds and butterflies, I figured it would be a waste of money, just like the nesting tube.


Julie said...

I have found that in time, everything changes. I bet one day you will have an inundation of all sorts of birds and bees! Wonder where they are hanging out at this time? Hmmmmm...it is all a mystery to me. Each day I look out at my tire garden, I am surprised by some new thing. Not a whole lot of butterflies, but a whole breakout of dragonflies will happen, and last only a short while, and then gone again! So many comings and goings...if I don't watch constantly...seems there are more GOINGS! LOL.
Hope all is well with you and hubby. Your flowering cactus photos are beautiful! The ORANGE dragonfly is awesome...I love that color, and to see it in a dragonfly is just exquisite!!!
Have a good week Aiyana!!!
xoxo- Julie

rohrerbot said...

It will start getting better....we are supposed to have a major rain event tomorrow which will be a nice change to things around here....the Phoenix area is supposed to get hit pretty good:) Cross your fingers.

Jean said...

Beautiful color to your blooms. I especially like the last one. The dragonfly is awesome! Perfect shot! Jean

Pudgeduck said...

Love the photo of the dragonfly!!!!! Waiting for the rain... never came here.

Mike said...

Great dragonfly - probably a Flame Skimmer or Neon Skimmer.

Definitely perplexing on the butterfly front. Do you have a water source? Our fountain has made a big difference here for birds and insects. Despite less than 2" of rain this monsoon in Maricopa (and the death of our passion flower vines which were Gulf Fritillary magnets) we're still having a nice butterfly season. Also, I've been working on an 'attracting birds and butterflies' post on my blog...look for it in a week or two.

Chris said...

Much rain! Much heat! Much beautiful plants! Hope all is well!

Lancashire rose said...

I hope your nesting box for mason bees doesn't turn out to be a waste of time. My h just made one for me. I am just worried I put it in the wrong place. People said South facing wall but maybe their south facing wall isn't as hot as mine. SOuth in the north is north in the south! Love your cactus blooms, as usual.

Nicole said...

Is it that someone around is using insecticides?

In any case, I can't keep the butterflies from laying eggs on my arugula, thereby spawning hundreds of butterflies.

Nicole said...

Is it that someone around is using insecticides?

In any case, I can't keep the butterflies from laying eggs on my arugula, thereby spawning hundreds of butterflies.

Janine Robinson said...

we had temps in the 80s today! hope you get some rain! love the dragonfly! i posted a little photo tour of an amazing garden packed with cacti and succulents you might enjoy! www.lagunadirt.blogspot.com. as you can imagine, they are low water!