Silicon Valley Cactus Flowers

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The Silicon Valley is more famous for computers and high technology than for cactus.  Nonetheless, the high dry summer heat makes where I live to the south of San Francisco wonderful for dessert gardening. My cactus are far too generous in sharing their spines (particularly the soft looking Bunny Ears  – Opuntia microdasys – that sheds hundreds of tiny spines at the lightest touch) but their elegant shapes and lovely summer flowers make up for puncture wounds all year. The short-lived feathery flowers are as delicate as the surrounding spines are nasty.  Today, my garden on the Guadalupe River features cactus blooms measuring 1/2 inch (on Bunny Ears) to 4 inches (on the giant Prickly Pear). This is a good year because my Electrode Cactus (Ferocactus histrix) is blooming for the first time since I planted it in 1998.

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Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson

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