In spring 2021, before the monsoon rains arrived, the Santa Rita cactuses appeared to be struggling. The previous year's monsoon only offered two inches of rain, which is about one-third the normal amount, and the following winter was unusually dry as well. The deep purple and blue color in the pads happens when these cactuses dry out. Despite months of drought, some of the larger plants managed to put on an impressive spring bloom. The shriveled, purple pads contrasted nicely with the buds and flowers.