|Verbesina encelioides on the Ridges|
|Back garden a week ago...|
|Salvia uliginosa and Helianthus annuus in Fragrance Gardebn|
|closeup of same|
A closeup of that wonderful combo--only this is a picture taken a decade ago (and recently scanned).
|Medley of prickly pears in fruit|
I finish with a fruitful cornucopia of Opuntia--a picture taken in the Watersmart Garden last week at Denver Botanic Gardens. One doesn't immediately think of cactus for their fruits, but there are a whole group of prickly pears that produce masses of sizeable fruit that can last for months and months--and creates a wonderful picture in the garden. There are three taxa in this picture--upper left are the enormous pads of O. engelmannii loaded with dark violet fruits (distance diminishes the effect, alas, but take it on trust: it's magnificent!)...the big showy grouping on the right is Opuntia phaeacantha, a very variable taxon that is widespread--some forms are quite massive as well--with especially bright fruit. And on the lower left is Opuntia macrorhiza--smaller, but just as vivid. My buddy, Kelly Grummons (a local nurseryman and great authority on hardy cactus) has revolutionized the world of hardy cactus by developing re-blooming prickly pears. He collects the fruit in the fall and presses them for juice: a tricky operation! The fruit is covered with glochids that make spines seem innocent by contrast--but with the proper tools (lots of tongs!), and strained through cheesecloth, the juice is safe to drink...and the process relatively painless...or so he tells me. I must sample the juice some day and see if I'm tempted to try it with my rapidly expanding cactus patch at home!