I got into a discussion with Alethea Kontis today on Twitter when she mentioned something about needing sage to clean her aura. I told her I could send her garbage bags full of clippings by UPS. That led to a discussion of the cool plants that grow here.
Here is the sage picture that I posted on twitpics earlier. Compare it to height of the garage door--it needs trimming.
We go to chatting about what else I have. Below is my baby saguaro. It's about 8 years old now and stands maybe knee high. It was 9" tall when I bought it. They only grow around 4 inches a year and won't get arms until age 75.
The saguaro below is on community property across the wash from me. It's a tad bigger.'
Another front yard plant is below. This is a Sago. It looks like a small palm tree but it is not. You can see huge sagos at the San Diego zoo. Mine is much younger but this one has done very well for me. It sprouts 2 sets of branches a year when my other ones only sprout one.
Okay, this is a palm tree--a queen palm to be exact.
This guy is a small ocotillo. It is not a cactus but it does have very sharp thorns. It only grows leaves when it has received rain. I don't know why this one has leaves, maybe the dog watered it. They used ocotillo in "The Empire Strikes Back" as part of the foliage on Dagobah. I guess it's alien-looking enough, but it would rot in a swamp. This is a desert plant.
This guy is a barrel cactus. It's just a big round ball now, but it will grow to look like a barrel eventually.
Alethea's bane is below, aloe vera. I lied, I said I have three of these plants around the pool, but I have 4.
I don't even remember what this next one is. It's a succulent, similar to a cactus but no thorns. It consists of rigid fluid-filled spines that come out of the center. The thing came in a pot smaller than the wheel of the chair next to it, and maybe 10 spines. I don't really know how to cut it back.
At the risk of showing my crappy grass that grows where I don't want it, here are two more cacti inside the pool fence. The one in back looks like a saguaro but it is not. It grows way too fast. I think it's organ pipe but I could be wrong.
This is a palo verde tree. Notice how the trunk and branches are all green.
This guy is a prickly pear cactus. It is unusual in that it gets orange flowers. I planted just one paddle in the ground when the guy across the street cut his back. If you click to enlarge the picture you can still see some orange.
This is rosemary. I only have half the song. I have Sage and rosemary, but no parsley or thyme.
This is one of my mesquite trees. They grow like weeds and you have to cut them back before the monsoon winds rip them out of the ground. They grow slower and with deeper roots if you never water them, but most people out here water the crap out of them and those roots stay very shallow. I learned that the hard way, but the wood from the tree I lost made an extremely hot campfire.
This is the only citrus I photographed this time around. This is an orange tree with some half-sized green oranges growing. You can see them if you look at the enlargement. They will double in size by November and will turn orange when it gets cold out.