Opuntia polyacantha

In Bloom: Plains Pricklypear

This Plains Pricklypear (Opuntia polyacantha) was a new addition to the garden, planted just this spring so I was surprised when a flower appeared. All of my other opuntias took at least one full season to put out flowers. And what a stunning dusty peachy-pink colour it is! One of the small consequences of “going

Santa Fe Cholla

And Away We Go

I’ve packed an arsenal of high SPF sunblocks, camera gear, and several light, long-sleeved shirts and am now on my way to the desert. The forecast says it will be 111°F in Phoenix when we arrive and I am already imagining myself in the Arrested Development scene where Michael reaches for the door handle of

cactus garden by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Learning from Nature: Observations on Cold Hardy Cacti

Throughout my gardening life there have been many plants that I tried to grow with middling success, until I observed them growing in the wild. Sarracenia (pitcher plants), venus fly trap (Dioneae muscipula), episcia, and ginger are just a few that come to mind. Seeing them in their natural habitat helped me understand something about

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Herbaria (January 16, 2013): The All Hardy Cacti Edition

As previously mentioned, I decided to stop posting weekly from my ongoing Herbaria project. However, I am still assembling the boxes and taking the photos each week and hope to make this into something bigger once the full year is up in May. Until then they will make an appearance now and again rather than

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

California Poppy ‘Buttercream’

This soft and creamy version of the typically orange California native poppies are just starting to bloom in my Dry Garden Bed. Despite my love of orange I went with the cream flowers because there are too many other colours in that bed and it would have been chaos. I also love the unusual.

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Herbaria (June 22, 2012)

The highlights of this week are my breadbox poppies, which are treating me every day to a new colour and form, and the cold hardy opuntia that have made me so very, very happy to have chanced into the good fortune of exceptionally well-draining soil that is on the sandy side. This garden is an

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Cold Hardy Opuntia (Winter)

At least a decade has passed since I first discovered and started growing cold hardy opuntia and yet it still comes as a surprise that they exist, like some mythical unicorn come to life. And there are so many of them! Some have thick paddles like the big opuntia that produce edible pears in southern

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Colorado on the Way to Nebraska

Yesterday we drove to Nebraska to see some fields. That was not a difficult task to achieve and is in keeping with what I expected. But what has surprised me on this trip is just how dry it is here. Take this picture, shot in Colorado on the way back from Nebraska. This is High