Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Views of the desert - parental edition

So before I completely leave Arizona for a while, I wanted to share some pics from my parents' yard in Phoenix.  Though there are the obligatory cacti, there are also some really interesting trees (featured in my next post) that might surprise those from wetter climes.

First off, here are some pics of the barrel cactus in the front yard.  The first shot is from above, the second is of a dessicated flower? You can also see the nasty spines.  This is the cactus you can slice open and drink the pulp in the center if you're dying of thirst.  But it's much easier and less harmful to just bring water.

Here's a shot of the ocotillo, bare still from lack of water.  When the rains come this guy becomes covered in dark green leaves with bright red flowers on the top of each stalk.  I immediately liked this plant when we moved to Arizona.  You could see them from the freeway driving in from L.A. and for me epitomizes the desert much like saguaros.

Always plant in odd numbers my friend Anita always tells me.  Even numbers are too easily divided in half by the eye.  So unless it's a specimen plant, 3 is the minimum number.  These cacti are in the neighbor's yard.  And, of course, besides cacti, nothing says desert landscaping like rocks and gravel.


  1. That's a sassy tree in the neighbor's yard! I have the feeling that if I was dying of thirst in the desert, I wouldn't have a machete handy to cut into the barrel fellow, but that's good information to know!

  2. I love the Ocotillo along I-10 as well. They are so beautiful, especially when in flower.

  3. Cool pics! I love sparse desert landscaping - that ocotillo is really something. Wish they could handle colder temps as I have plenty of dry spaces for them!