My cacti are blooming just in time for Good Friday. The prickly spines remind me of the crowning of thorns and bitter suffering of Jesus, but the lovely blossoms suggest resurrection — the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection that each of us ultimately longs for.
The Vinca (Periwinkle) vines are bursting with new life. I started the plants last summer as small cuttings from another pot. All of my other pots were occupied at the time, so I stuck the tender shoots into the pot with the cacti. I wondered how they would get along.
Sometimes the most interesting floral combinations seem to occur by happenstance. When I came home from the mountains this week, one of my cacti was in full bloom. I was lucky to see it, since the blossoms only last for one day. In the background — Calibrachoa, Petunias with Lobelia, and Dianthus.
In the shady side of the garden, my Pincushion Flower volunteer from last year was also blooming, along with the Lobelia that I added to the pot a few weeks ago to fill up space. They seem to be getting along together nicely.
A few bright spots remain in the garden, such as the Marigolds and Ageratum pictured above, but most of the annuals and perennials have stopped flowering. A neighbor recently gave me a sweet potato plant (not sure of the official name). The lime green foliage provides a nice contrast to the dark green foliage of my other plants.
The Vinca (Periwinkle) cuttings that I took a few months ago have rooted nicely. They are temporarily sharing some pot space with two aging cacti. The parent Vinca is pictured on the left below. I love the periwinkle blossoms that appear in spring. Here in Southern New Mexico, the new plants should weather the winter nicely.
In the sunny corner of the courtyard, my husband took up some flagstones that butted against the walls so I could create a new border. I have planted it with Lantana and Evening Primrose. The latter is pictured below. Unlike the yellow Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) that only opens in the evening, the pink variety (Oenothera speciosa) blooms all day. I have great hopes for the Evening Primrose plants. They are native to the area, extremely drought tolerant, and can be invasive if left unchecked. Anything that will cover the ground and bloom profusely is OK with me. We’ll see.
Every year in my Discalced Carmelite Secular Community, we draw names to pray for each other and to pray for the priests, deacons, and religious in our diocese. We also draw the name of a virtue to practice during the year. For the last three years, I have drawn the virtue of fortitude. The first year, I thought, that’sinteresting. The second year, I thought, what a coincidence! This year, when I drew it again, I realized that I needed to give the virtue of fortitude some serious thought.
Pondering this virtue, I used to think of it in relation to the unpleasant tasks I needed to complete. Don’t give up, I would tell myself. Practice fortitude! Now, as my husband and I, along with so many others, must ‘shelter in place’ to avoid the Coronavirus, I realize that fortitude also pertains to all the things we would like to do but can’t, at least for the foreseeable future. In a way, ‘sheltering in place’ is a desert experience. We are separated from all the unnecessary activities with which we often distract ourselves.
The cacti in my garden practice fortitude better than I have ever done. In recent years, I have not paid much attention to them in favor of whatever was blooming in the garden. Yet, they have continued to survive, and even to thrive.