More cactus blooms, and catching up

The weather has finally returned to normal (we had been in the mid-to-upper 80's for a few weeks), but I just haven't been in the mood to do much in the garden the last few days. Rain and maxed-out humidity levels probably didn't help, but as a result today's post is a bit of a mashup.



Starting with more cactus flowers though!


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The Opuntia macrorhiza has such pretty blooms, the deep orange highlights really make these special.



My neighbor has a substantial patch of Opuntia humifusa -- a Missouri native like the macrorhiza -- but its flowers are almost entirely yellow. Beautiful, but not nearly as impressive as these. 


Because I haven't spent much time out here the last couple of days, I missed this one:


Another pink Opuntia bloom (I really need to figure out which species or variety this is!)

Those little fuzz blobs are insects:


They're on a few other plants too:


Not sure what they are, but I'm not concerned about them. Does the fuzz keep insect predators away? I should get one of those under the microscope...


I've said it before, but this is becoming one of my favorite beds in the garden!



Now, something else...

The mourning doves have left the nest. One day it seemed that mom vacated and didn't come back, and a day or two later of wondering what was going on the kids were gone. They're still hanging around the house, which makes me feel good. I know it's them because they are slightly smaller than the other doves and are still very awkward flyers. I watched them both try to land on my truck yesterday, and it involved a lot of sliding, fluttering, and indecision. Hilarious!

Here's a good look at their "nest" now that it's empty:


They are certainly not master builders. 



Remember my hardy banana, Musa basjoo? I was wondering what exactly would happen since the four main pseudostems died almost to the ground last winter, the first time that had happened.


Well, those four are goners, but the "pups" have taken over, and all is well!


The largest is almost as tall as me already. I'll keep fertilizing and watering and see how big I can get these this year. I need to, as all of my other bananas rotted in the garage over the winter. I did not remove these from the ground soon enough and/or let them dry out enough before storing them. Ah well -- one less thing to store next winter, right?


I almost never photograph this spirea 'Neon Flash'. You may see it in the background of some shots, but I never feature it.


It may be because this is one of my oldest plants and I take it for granted. So pretty though!


Lastly, I think this is going to be a tough year for ornamental sweet potato vines:


The deer usually don't chomp on this one until it's much larger, but they took out at least half of it last night. I may need to replace with a more deer-resistant trailing plant. Any recommendations?


So that's a look at lots of little things I found this morning. I hope I get motivated for some garden work this weekend...

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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (June 6, 2014 at 10:43 AM)  

Those Opuntia macrorhiza flowers are truly special. I'm glad you were able to photograph them.

The fuzzy blobs could be mealy bugs. They're the bane of my existence. I just threw away a small cactus that was badly infested.

Alan  – (June 6, 2014 at 11:40 AM)  

Gerhard: don't think they're mealy bugs, possibly a type of "wooly aphid"

Alan  – (June 6, 2014 at 4:18 PM)  

Also, there are about a dozen more macrorhiza bloom buds, so I'll get to see more of them soon. :)

Gardens at Waters East  – (June 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM)  

Beautiful bloom. I have a cactus here where I live on the shores of Lake Michigan - really. It is a prickly pear and does well here in Wisconsin. Jack

Dawn Miquel  – (June 8, 2014 at 4:35 PM)  

This cactus is truly spectacular!

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