Despite the Heat and Lack of Rain, There Are Always Surprises in the Garden

A magnificent early morning discovery; this jungle cactus flower (cactus orchid) nearly hidden from view by the oak tree.

I don’t know what my M.U.D. bill will be this month, but with such a long period without much moisture, I’ve been watering a lot.  The vegetable garden and the grass get a shot about every other day, but the side bed, where the sun beats down, and most everything in pots need a good soaking every day.

This morning Annie and I went out at 6:30.  I was refreshed enough from a good night’s sleep that the bed didn’t lure me back even though it was Saturday.  Instead, I sprayed on a healthy dose of mosquito repellant and turned on the hose to go after the pots on the patio.  As I doled out generous amounts of water to the various plants on the patio, my squinty, early-morning eyes spied something white as I squirted the water towards some plants perched on a couple of random benches alongside the fence.

Upon closer look, that white blur was a bloom from one of my jungle cactuses (cacti, if you will), something that I had never seen before.  I was given a couple different varieties of these quite a number of years ago by a colleague, and a few years ago added another that I had liked because of the unique formation of its stems, but in the 10 or so years that I’ve had them and grown more by planting pieces into other pots, none of them have bloomed until now. 

I went inside to get my camera to snap some pictures.   It was a good thing that I did because by the time I finished my puttering outside, maybe an hour later, the bloom was all closed up. 

I don’t know a lot about these jungle cactuses.  which are sometimes called orchid cactus, and the more scientific name is epiphyllum.  After doing a bit of reading, I found out that some of them are night-blooming. Because I hadn’t noticed the oncoming bloom before, I have no idea if today was the first day it had bloomed or if it will be open again tomorrow morning when I take Annie out.  I hope so.

Surprises are part of the enjoyment of gardening:  they can be grand surprises like this cactus flower that I had never seen before or simple surprises like a cluster of yellow beans hanging from a plant I was sure I had checked carefuly just the previous day.

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