Bloom Watch #2 – To Bloom Too Soon

May 12, 2016
As I had mentioned last week, one of the Queens had a bud in stall status and that I would be watching her closely to see if it would hold and go with the rest. Regretfully, no. She must have heard that Elena Acoba is writing an article on the Peniocereus greggii and the Bloom Night festivities and decided she wanted to become famous as the first flower for this year. This has not been the earliest single bloom we have ever had, but she is close. In that endeavor, she broke stall on the May 4 and never slowed down. Acoba will chronicle the progress in her article for The Arizona Daily Star, so keep an eye out in late May for that. Dyana Z. Furmansky, of The Desert Leaf, also featured the Queen in the May issue with a nice article and quite a lot of photos, so a special thank you to them.
This one famous Queen has accelerated to bloom and should go tonight (May 11, 2016). The rest of the flowers are still very small or merely fuzz balls. This week we’ve seen a 12% increase in starts and 20% increase in ones that actually look like buds. Our work of replacing the Peniocereus greggii that have passed this season is almost complete.
A few days ago I was contacted by Jesse Byrd, Pima County Native Plant Manager, who is responsible for salvaging native plants from county construction project sites. He has an astonishing collection of 100 Queens and is looking to place some of the collection in our custody at Tohono Chul. It is interesting to note that last year his plants bloomed in conjunction with ours and seem to be on track this year as well. Every year this process gets more and more interesting. I will keep you posted as I continue to diligently watch this process unfold.
This year’s Bloom Night festivities gear up as the Garden Bistro opens for dinner, so come early and come hungry. The Garden Bistro will also be serving a selection of food and drinks in the Performance Garden once the festivities begin at 6 p.m. Stay tuned for the announcement of menus.
We will continue preparing the trails and hope you are getting as excited as I am.
Until Next Time,
– Lee Mason, Director of General Services, Tohono Chul