Bloom Watch #3 – Hope For The New Growth

May 20, 2016
Last week I told you that Jessie Byrd, the Pima County Native Plant Manager, contacted me. I just wanted everyone to know that I made another one of my major blunders. I spelled her name incorrectly and misidentified her as a he. My deepest apologies to Jessie and everyone who knows her.
On Friday of last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Jessie and touring her nursery. Jessie’s team, comprised of a staff of two and a cadre of volunteers, is doing a spectacular job of salvaging Peniocereus greggii and many other plants from Pima County construction sites. Her Queen collection is impressive and it seems that her blooms are right in line with ours. She has sent several plants to other botanical gardens to see if they will be in-sync with ours even if they are out of the area. It will be interesting to find out and add another intriguing fact to the list of mysteries. If you haven’t been to the nursery it is worth the trip. The address is 3500 West River Road.
I am writing this on Monday after my weekly trip to look at and talk to each plant. I haven’t started to make the trip daily yet, but that will come. The buds are still small and haven’t reached stall yet. There are a few new buds and some additional suspicious spots that may turn into buds or could be new arms. Many of the plants that were chewed on by the pack rats have started to regrow and with some luck will be in good shape next year.
For me the new growth on the plants is almost as exciting as the flowers, and a whole lot less stressful. It shows that they are happy with me and with what we are doing for them. I get asked several times a week if the bloom is going to be early this year, and my best guess at this time is no. Stay tuned and I will be back next week with the latest.
Elena Acoba’s article should be in the Sunday edition of The Arizona Daily Star on May 22, so be on the lookout for that. Our Retail Greenhouse has Peniocereus greggii available so you can have your very own Queen to enjoy. Also, on Bloom Night we will have Desert Queen perfume and body lotion available, whose fragrance was inspired by the Queen of the Night.
Until Next Time,
– Lee Mason, Director of General Services, Tohono Chul