Arizona

Nature Photography: Tragic Garden

My usual gardening posts are filled with happy-looking plants in my xeriscape. Or shots of what’s poking its head through the soil in my kitchen garden.

Sorry, but there won’t be much joy in this post.

We’ve just emerged from a hard freeze here in Tucson. Almost a week of overnight lows in the teens and twenties. Daytime highs barely reaching the forties.

Not much death and destruction in the front yard. Except for this aloe…

Nature photography - freeze-damaged aloe in Tucson, Arizona

Since sub-freezing weather is very stressful to cactus, it’s best to trim them before they drop branches. That was my frosty Sunday morning task with this side-yard prickly pear…

Nature photography - freeze-damaged green pepper plants in Tucson, Arizona

Hopeful note: The sad little plants below the prickly pear are my green peppers. Although the leaves have been destroyed, the stems are still alive. A pepper comeback may be in the offing.

Oops. Didn’t trim this back yard prickly pear in time…

Nature photography - freeze-damaged prickly pear branches fallen to the ground in Tucson, Arizona

So, now we come to the question of what can be done with all of those cactus branches. My neighbors, Nick and Bonnie, advise re-planting them. That’s what they do when branches fall off their prickly pears.

However, Nick and Bonnie have much more room to re-plant than I do. I’m pretty maxed out on space as it is.

But I’m not throwing those branches away. Uh-uh. They’re going to dry out and be composted later this year. And here they are, right next to the compost bin…

Nature photography - freeze-damaged prickly pear branches stacked by compost bin in Tucson, Arizona

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