Spring Blossoms in Phoenix, Arizona, II

Late March 2020

Desert Bluebells and Mexican Poppies under a Palo Verde tree which is just beginning to leaf out:

The same landscape from a different angle:

The young tree on the left is a Fig tree just leafing out.

Mexican Poppies:

Bluebells along a wall, shown below. The trees in the background are a Lemon (right) and an Orange. Some of last year’s crop remain on the trees just as they’re beginning to flower.

Desert Bluebells among the river rocks:

Prickly Pear cactus in Phoenix – first flowers

Late March 2020

The first flowers that I’ve seen this season:

These Prickly Pears are probably Engelmann’s Prickly Pear. Their flowers produce fruit —  purple “pears.” At times, some of these edible fruits are still on the pad as the flowers open (not shown). I’ve harvested these fruits a couple of times. They are juicy with hard seeds that can’t be chewed.  Perhaps I should call these small pips. The skin of the fruit is leathery and inedible. The wild fruits are only mildly sweet.

The fruits and the pads are a source of water for javalinas (peccaries) during the dry summer months despite the thorns and prickles. The fine prickles readily adhere to skin, then detach from the plant. These hairlike prickles pierce ordinary garden gloves. The fruit’s prickles are rendered harmless by rolling each fruit in sand.

A Prickly Pear full of buds is shown below. You can also see the proliferation of buds in the previous photos. Desert Bluebells are laid out along the river stones, below. A Bird of Paradise appears behind the Prickly Pear. Its new leaves are reddish-purple. Zoey is looking expectantly from the garage door. I have yet to identify the white flowering plant in front of the Prickly Pear:

A similar view with my 2004 Dodge Neon parked in the driveway:

Spring Blossoms in Phoenix, Arizona, I

Early March 2020

Brittlebush — The most ubiquitous shrub in this area. It lines the highway between Phoenix and Tucson, overhanging the roadway’s shoulders.

Brittlebushes with a many-armed saguaro cactus in the background — pronounced SWAH roe:

Lupine — pronounced LOO pin:

Trailing Rosemary — spreads like a groundcover:

Non-native clover is in the foreground.

The Jewish cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona

For a short while during the silver rush of the 1880s, Tombstone, Arizona, had a significant Jewish community. Some died and were buried there in the local cemetery — Boot Hill. There was a tendency for men to die with their boots on, they say. Hence the name.

The cemetery is now a tourist attraction. “Come see the plots and new markers of those who were killed in the Fight at the OK Corral.”

Jews, Indians, and Chinese were buried in a separate lot just below the hill.

An historical society was able to mark some of the Gentile graves on the hill and map it out for tourists. They had located enough historical documents for the task.

Not so the Jews. A club in south-central Arizona, though, sponsored a single memorial marker dedicated to:
The Jewish Pioneers and Their Indian Friends / Erected by the Jewish Friendship Club of Green Valley 1984.

Some of the “friends” were also Chinese.

Photos from Atlas Obscura, “Jewish Pioneers Memorial — Tombstone, Arizona,” retreived March 24, 2020. Photos have been retouched.

Green Valley, Arizona, lies on the highway south of Tucson on the way to Nogales.

See “Restoration of a Jewish Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona,” Southwest Jewish Archives, University of Arizona.

The New York Times reported: “An Old West Cemetery for Jews Is Rededicated in Tombstone,” February 29, 1984.

Spread Goodness and Kindness

In a USA Today op-ed on Sunday (March 16, 2020), 16 doctors, epidemiologists and public health experts explained how staying home is the most critical action people can take to blunt the spread of the virus….

“If you’re going to spread anything, spread help, compassion and humor,” the group wrote. “Above all, do not panic. Remember: Like all outbreaks, this too will eventually end.”

“National health-care experts rally behind ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ initiative,” The Washington Post, March 16, 2020, 8:26 a.m.