Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Desert caesura

Cactus combo, Tucson Botanic Garden

 Why a caesura? The internet defines "caesura" thusly:
                                            cae·su·ra (/sēˈzyo͝orə,siˈZHo͞orə/)
  1. (in Greek and Latin verse) a break between words within a metrical foot.
    • (in modern verse) a pause near the middle of a line.
    • any interruption or break.
      "an unaccountable caesura: no deaths were reported in the newspapers"
Jan and my recent escape for two weeks represented a caesura in so many ways: a break from this seemingly interminable winter for one. And an interruption form COVID-induced indolence.

Kalanchoe luciae

We visited three nurseries, many friends and family, several public gardens, art museums and ate out (something we haven't done much for a while) in a number of outdoor restaurants. And brought back a small load of succulents for our pots and gardens. I've grown the Paddle Plant above for years, and keep frogetting the Latin name: I shall not do so again, thanks to TBG's excellent labeling.

I suspect you can read the label clearly on this lovely potted Mesemb: lots of nice specimens at this garden.

Iris unguicularis

And not just succulents: the glorious winter flowering iris ("Algerian iris" so called) looked mighty good.

Cupressus arizonica    

The botanic garden is quite central in the city, on the site of an old nursery with a lot of the original buildings and some terrific specimen trees, like this Arizona cypress: my picture doesn't really show how attractive the bark is on it. A tree I've helped introduce into the trade in Colorado (a long and pretty good story I should tell soon! I'm pretty sure I collected the first seed that produced viable plants 50 years go in Socorro, New Mexico while my fellow traveler was paying a traffic ticket)...

Helleborus x niger

I was shocked they could grow Christmas roses--although I'm sure one of the parents of this hybrid is subtropical, which may explain why it looks so good!

Everyone checked out the cactus car. I'm a bit embarrassed to say I did too.

This is the only picture I'm showing of the cacti with cups on their tips--there were a lot more. This is not uncommon in Tucson, where temps drop below freezing several times a winter.

Aloe humilis

Lots of little gems tucked here and there, like this striking miniature aloe..

Not taken at the garden--this was downtown Tucson, and I notice a tad out of focus: but I loved the shadows on the wall...

Sunset from the top of "A" Mountain

Every evening seemed to have a lovely sunset--here from Sentinel Mountain (also called "A" mountain due to a large "A" on its breast, like an orogenic Hester Prynne. The 360 degree view was astonishing: the rapidly filling Tucson valley is surrounded by a dozen mountain ranges: surely one of America's premier cities.

Sonoran Sunset

 I was once party to giving this name to a cultivar of Agastache cana, a beautiful bright pink Southwestern mint: we made a mistake! We should have given it to Agastache aurantiaca instead! The sunsets are usually a glowing orange.

We'll be back! Wait and see...

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