Welcome to the business and personal website of me, Jan Burch - aka Jan4insight - owner & practitioner of Geo-Glow Consulting. Call me a “Renaissance woman” > My business aims to be your go-to source for holistic energy work and intuitive readings. My creative side makes (and sells!) gorgeous one-of-a-kind handcrafts and fabulously colorful print-on-demand gifts and more. Here at my site, you can find me on the Web, order a reading, learn more about my energy work services, and check in with my occasional musings. Legal stuff: This site uses cookies, and some posts may contain affiliate links. Thank you very much.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pansies and Cactus Flowers

Here are my winter pansies blooming next to a fully-flowering prickly pear cactus, in 92-degree weather on May 18.

And that's not supposed to happen - pansies still blooming when the cactus flowers open, that is. Pansies, you see, are cool weather annuals, and here in New Mexico it gets too darn hot for these hardy little lovelies to keep going. That's why we plant pansies in the fall, enjoying their colors in October and into November, then let them over-winter to bloom again in early spring. But usually they're gone by Mother's Day, as the warming weather turns the little plants into slime. "Cooked spinach" is my term for a heat-wilted pansy.

But that didn't happen this year. I planted four pots of these guys last fall, put them in a sunny spot for the winter, and watered them when I remembered to. When the first flowers started re-appearing in March, I moved the pots into the shade near my front and back doors. These are the pots outside my back door; they got full sun all morning and refreshing shade from about 2 pm on. Maybe that's what kept them going - that, plus my green thumb and my devoted attention to watering. Ha!
  • Or maybe, it's global warming .... of which one of the symptoms is "weird weather." Well, that's a relative term in New Mexico, where we always say, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." But still, the weather this spring has alternated between record highs and sudden colds. Yesterday was sunny with a high of 95 degrees in Albuquerque - a record, I believe. Last night a huge wind came up as a front moved in. Today has been rainy, high of 57, with a nice noisy hailstorm in the morning. Lovely. Of course, the pattern is not unusual for the high desert, but the extremes are more noticeable. That's what leads me to think, maybe I'm seeing, before my eyes, climate change in action. Or maybe I'm paranoid.
  • I should point out that the cactus flowers are right on time. In fact the yellow prickly pear blossoms are starting fade - though the pansies are still going strong! Today's rain perked them up, and they must love hail. I also have a cow's-tongue cactus with lovely pink blossoms that are just coming out; again, perfectly in season, according to all the books.
  • And here's another succulent that's right on time: my neighbor's century plant, Agave americanensis. I took this photo on Mother's Day, two weeks after the stalk first appeared. Being that it's planted next to my driveway, I could track its growth every time I got in my car. It looked like a 10-foot-high, giant asparagus stalk. Now it's closer to 25 feet. My neighbor, Constance, tells me she's had the plant since 1998, and this is the first stalk to appear.
Of course - that's why it's called a century plant: It grows for about 10 years, sends up a flower stalk, blooms, and dies. Kind of like the life cycle of the mayfly, only longer. After the stalk dies back, little sprouts come up from the root system and the plant lives on and on. Desert plants are real survivors.
(By the way, Constance, if you're reading this - I was wrong when I said this is what tequila is made from. But I was close - tequila really is made from another species of Agave.)

So, we have cactus flowers and century plants keeping to the timetable we humans have assigned for them, and cultivated pansies becoming type-A beings who just go on and on past their assigned season. So which is it? Weird weather? Global catastrophe? My good luck? Or just a gift from nature - flowers in beautiful colors, a bit of serendipity, and a chance to post some groovy pictures to my blog? Guess which one I choose.

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