Because It's Pretty!

You know where I found this pretty cactus flower?

In my garden.

Friends are generally surprised to find cactus growing and blooming in my Zone 5 Indiana garden.

This is a prickly pear cactus, Opuntia sp. and it is perfectly hardy in Zone 5.

It's another passalong plant, one that I handle with care. Actually, I generally don't handle it at all if I can help it. It has little tiny pricklies that are painful if you get stuck. And I've been stuck enough to know. So I won't pass it along to anyone with children or pets in the garden. It would be too dangerous!

Why keep such a beast, also called devil's tongue, if I'm afraid to touch it?

Because the flowers are pretty. And because I like having a few unusual, unexpected plants in the garden.

Do you have any unusual, unexpected plants in your garden?


  1. Carol, your post about the prickly pear reminds me of a potted barrel cactus I had once. Until the dog got his poor nose hooked by one of the thorns and wouldn't hold still to let me get it out. No more cactus for me, though yours are quite pretty.

    I don't think I have any unusual plants. I used to think my 6 foot tall yellow pincushion plant (scabiosa) was until I read in the paper that one of the local garden gurus was yanking it out of his garden because it was reseeding too aggresively. That doesn't sound like an uncommon plant, does it?

  2. Maybe you should pass that plant along to me. It would keep the dog out of the flower beds if I used it as an edging. Just kidding. My most unusual is the crape mytle growing in my zone 5 garden. It is doing quite well after I thought they had both died this winter.
    Kathy, the older sister

  3. LostRoses... In some places, maybe Australia? Prickly Pear cactus are rampant like Kudzu vine in the south, so some people might consider mine quite common, too.
    Kathy... You would end up at the vet's with your dog once she got too close to the cactus! I do like your crape myrtle.

  4. I don't have anything unusual in my garden. Your cactus flowers are very, very pretty. I love that vibrant yellow color. Here comes a question from a total cactus novice: does it bloom every year, or is it kind of hit-or-miss? Just curious.

  5. so, what's the latest report on Lilly?

  6. Colleen... these cactus bloom every year, though like most perennials, how much bloom depends on the weather. I think there are a few less blooms this year than last year.

    Anonymous... I checked on the baby bird, Lily, and she is still there, and appears to be bigger than yesteray. I'm not sure if the other egg ever hatched.

  7. I don't realy have anything unusual in my garden. Maybe I can find one of theese to put in a container. The dogs wouldn't dig that out.

  8. I have a bunch of unusual things in my garden, I guess. The two most-asked-about-by-passersby are my sea kale (crambe maritima) and, of all things, a perfectly normal silver sage (salvia officianalis) that stumps people. "What is that lovely little silver-leaved bush that you have on the corner there?" :)

  9. Carol, I'd love to have a crape myrtle that will survive in zone 5. What kind does Kathy have?
    I just posted a few minutes ago about my balloon flower. I guess this is my most unusual plant.

  10. I'm so glad to run across this post. We were at the zoo and saw this cactus being used as ground cover on a hill and I couldn't believe my eyes! Nice to know what it is. I may have to get some to keep the kitties out of the flowerbeds!

  11. Great Cactus, what do you do with it in the winter? Do you bring it indoors?

  12. I've seen this cactus growing near here and I'll admit, I was surprised, but it does well every year.

    Unusual plants? Hmmmmm......everyone asks about the Sea Holly. I don't know if I really have anything unusual, though, even though I'm drawn to that.

  13. All... the cactus is hardy here, and does not need any winter protection. Mine is growing on the east side of my house, so it probably gets a little protection in that location.

  14. Hi Carol,

    I have that cactus, too, and I got mine as a passalong from an elderly farmer friend who said it grows native on the south facing hills in SW Wisconsin.

    Mine is blooming now, too.


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