Cactus in Architecture

Cactus and Succulents are often described as being “architectural” but now someone wants you to know they are the heart and soul of modern architectural design. I may be exagerating.

Symmetrical cactus sets off modern design

The orderly nature of modern design appeals to our need for simplicity in a progressively complex world. The simple lines of both modern architecture and interiors offer respite from strip commercial, traffic and media where color and image change faster than ever….

(O)ne group of plants seems intrinsically suited to modern design. It is the cactus…

We often suggest a lineup of simple column cacti to set off a modern house. But not just column cacti will work. It turns out that a lot of Agaves are also just as successfully merged into modern architectural design as the cactus. So there. And don’t get me started on the Dasylirions.

Boston Succulents

They love them some succulents in Boston, what with the disastrous season for the Red Sox this year. And they’re inviting you to join them.

Succulent Container Workshop with Carrie Waterman
Saturday, November 17 2012, 10:00am – 12:00pm

Make your very own succulent container. Learn from an expert how to plant an attractive container of these wonderful plants. All materials will be provided including a nice selection of succulent plants suitable for a mixed container, pots, special soil mix, plant labels and top dressing. Aftercare instructions will be included along with information about how to propagate succulents and how to exhibit your container at the 2013 Boston Flower & Garden Show!

Put it on your calender.

Succulent Christmas Tree

From Ohio comes a tremendous object. It is a… Succulent & Airplant Christmas Tree.

They describe it as, “a beautiful and fun tabletop Christmas tree created out of echeverias and tillandsias” by Mayesh Wholesale Florist, Cleveland Ohio.

I have one word for it. Oy.

And no, we do not sell these so please don’t ask.

Endangered Species May Get Protection After All

It’s been a decade since the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to have this cactus listed.


Acuna cactus at Organ Pipe National Monument. Courtesy National Park Service

Tony Davis Arizona Daily Star

A small, little-known cactus found in Organ Pipe National Monument west of Tucson faces a “high and immediate” threat of extinction, says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in proposing to protect it as an endangered species.

The Acuña cactus, topping out at about a foot high, is declining fast, having dropped in numbers by more than 50 percent since 1981, the service said….

The service also proposes to designate 53,720 acres, including 29,500 acres of federal land and 14,266 acres of state land, as critical habitat for the Acuña cactus.

That is one very cute little endangered cactus. Cuteness is not the only factor the government considers when reviewing petitions for listing of species, but it doesn’t hurt.

Cactus Restaurant Opens in Hawaii

Phew! I thought today’s theme of cactus-themed bars and restaurants closing was a bad portent, but no! it’s not. It turns out while one cactus restaurant in Ohio closes another in Hawaii opens. Good fortune shines on us all!

Tina Yuen PBN

Cactus restaurant , which recently opened on Kailua Road in Kailua, Hawaii, is part of a trendy food scene in the Windward Oahu town.


The Cactus Restaurant Has Closed

It’s an interesting theme for a Sunday on the blog.

The Blue Ash outpost of Cactus Pear has closed, Polly Campbell reports:

Cincinnati will never be the same.

The Cactus Pear Southernwestern restaurant in Blue Ash has closed. However, the one on Jefferson Ave. near UC is still open.

Good to know!

Cactus Scientists Speak Out

A consortium of the nation’s leading cactus doctors issued a new set of guidelines Thursday recommending that Americans drink at least 8 cups of water per year to maintain proper hydration.


What to do in Long Beach in November

This is a long ways away so there’s plenty of time to schedule your trip to Long Beach just for this event.

Holiday Succulent Centerpiece Workshop at Rancho Los Cerritos
Saturday, Nov 17 2:00p to 4:00p at Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site, Long Beach, CA

Rancho Los Cerritos announces a holiday workshop for adults to create festive succulent centerpieces that will accentuate the home well into the New Year! The event is scheduled for Saturday, November 17, 2-4 p.m. The cost is $28 for the general public and $25 for members. All supplies and materials will be included. read more

I wonder if anyone reading this will actually put this on their calendar? Or maybe even attend.

Rainy Monday

It’s the first rain of the season – in fact the first real rain in about 7 months – and you know what that means.

No need to water the plants today! Yay!

Except the indoor and houseplants. Those still need to be watered. But that’s not a lot of plants. A lot fewer than all the plants that are outside getting watered by the rains. Yay!

Oakland Trades Plants

Hey, wait a sec’, that’s today!

I hope you don’t pick up any acacias and bring them into Berkeley since I’m allergic, and the one on the flyer is coming into bloom.

Leave them behind in Oakland, please.

(via I Can Stop Tomorrow)

42 Years Old

A Cereus bought in a pharmacy 42 years ago is pretty big now. Since this happened in North Carolina, it’s big news and the newspaper is all over it.

Credit: Lauren Carroll/Journal

Forty two years ago, Beth Kerr walked with her mom through the snow to Bobbitt’s College Pharmacy to buy a cactus…. Beth had saved her money until she had 50 cents for the cactus….

The cactus is thriving on the back deck of the Campbell’s home in Pudding Ridge in Mocksville.

I love those place names. Say it out loud with me:

Pudding Ridge in Mocksville.


Undersea Succulent Gardens

Want to view someone’s undersea succulent gardens? Do you live near San Diego?

Ramona Garden Club: Meets at noon Oct. 10 at the Ramona Woman’s Club, 524 Main St. Jeff Moore of Solana Succulents will showcase his “undersea” succulent gardens —- from small tabletop plants to landscape size. The meeting begins with a potluck lunch. Visit

Sounds very interesting.

And you can click for pictures of Jeff Moore’s “Under the Succulent Sea” exhibits at the Del Mar Fair in 2002.

Agave Blooms; TV News Go Nuts!

They love them some blooming agaves in the news business.

I love me some news business properties newsing about agave blooms. So unique! And I love that they call themselves “Action News” in Yakima.

via Danger Garden

Leaky Kayak? Plant it Up!

Thomas sends along a link to a Seattle PI article about planting up your kayak with succulents. Hopefully it is an old, leaky kayak that you’ve decided to repurpose.

This was a very unique project that started with a donation of a used kayak from Seattle’s popular Agua Verde Paddle Club and Cafe in the University District by Lake Union. They cut a kayak’s end off so it would stand and it became a featured display for UW Botanic Garden’s booth at the 2011 NW Flower and Garden Show. I planted it up as a vertical garden to showcase the plant diversity that exists throughout Lake Washington and the Arboretum and the proprietors at Agua Verde wanted a similar display in front of their paddle club and visible by diners in the cafe above.


I hope the “very unique” in the first line there didn’t get you all emailing and commenting to the newspaper for their lousy grammar, or I suppose for their lack of editing. Don’t go getting all grammar-police on the dead-tree-newspaper. They are a dying industry and really don’t need you sending in corrections.


Starbucks is Feeding You Cactus

Did you know? NPR knows.

Well, not really cactus per se, but red dye which comes from cochineal insects which are grown on and feed on cactus. It’s true! Cactus in the guts of insects get squished out into a red dye that is used in various sundry Starbucks products.

The tiny white insects that feed on cactus turn into red cochineal when crushed. Starbucks uses the dye in some of its products.

Some Starbucks patrons have been distressed to learn that the chain’s Strawberry and Creme Frappuccino owes its pink coloring to crushed insects.

Kate Winslet's Run-in with a Cactus

I don’t normally trust the NY Post as a news source, as they’re not, but I like this story anyway, so have at it.

“I really did think to myself, ‘Someone is going to say cut in a minute. Oh my God, no one is saying cut,'” shared Winslet. “I thought, ‘The wind machine is really good, but that rain is going to look so fake because there’s way too much of it. And this fire — it looks so real.'”…

“Nobody was hurt, except Richard, who woke up and saw the house across from his, with us and all his family in there, and got up and ran, naked, right into a cactus,” said Winslet. “He got this huge cactus needle stuck in his thigh.”

New Aeonium Cultivar

I see one of our Aeonium arboreums has a new sport rosette that we should be able to take a cutting and grow a new plant from this offset.

If we succeed with this rosette, turning it into a whole new Aeonium cultivar, what do you think we should name it?


Iowa Gets a New Place to Buy Succulents

It’s probably a seasonal business.

Mason City-area residents who are fans of Stillwater Greenhouse soon will no longer have to drive to Orchard.

JEFF HEINZ/The Globe Gazette.
Daniel Zimmerman of Stillwater Gardens, Orchard, says that succulent plants are popular this year. Zimmerman was at the Gardening Seminar at North Iowa Area Community College on Thursday.

The greenhouse is opening a satellite location… “It will be a portable greenhouse, like the grocery store does,” said Stillwater Greenhouse owner Daniel Zimmerman.

Daniel does look excited in the photo.

Midwest Epi's

The Midwest Cactus & Succulent Society Show & Sale is happening Saturday and Sunday. “This is a very popular weekend,” says cactus society Vice President Bill Hendricks.

Apparently they have blooming Epiphyllums for the show, or at least they would like you to think they do. Ours aren’t blooming yet, but they sure are close.

And where is this show?

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland.

Admission: Free with regular admission: $9.50; $3, children 3-12; free, children 2 and younger; $7.50, groups of 15 or more; $6, seniors in groups of 15 or more.

Information: or 216-721-1600.

Good to know.

What to do This Weekend

In San Diego you can learn about Cactus History.


CACTUS AND SUCCULENT HISTORY: During March, the San Dieguito Heritage Museum presents the history of cactuses and succulents in the San Dieguito area. Learn how Kumeyaay Indians used the plants for clothing, shelter and food. Succulents continue to be popular plants, thanks to their aesthetic value and stingy use of water. Children and their families can decorate a pot and plant a few succulents to take home. The free family activities will be available from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sundays. The museum is at 450 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas. Visit or call 760-632-9711.

I’ve never heard of this San Dieguito. I wonder what it is? Apparently it’s the older name for Encinitas in Southern California. Here’s the Heritage Museum:

San Dieguito Heritage Museum

I’d definitely get over there this weekend to learn more about the cultural history of cactus and succulents.

Cactus Statue Marked Down

Reader JBot is looking out for you. Recently he brought to our attention that there is a cactus statue available for sale in Richmond. Awesome! Now he wants to make sure you all know that it is still available, and has been marked down from $200 to $75. That seems like a good price. But wait! JBot says,

I bet y’all could get it for $50 or less now…. You know you want that crazy thing!

He must be right about at least one of you out there; you know who you are and you know you want it.

Thanks JBot for the update!

Australian Police Go Nuts for Cactus

This is kind of a strange story. The family is lucky nobody got hurt.

TWENTY armed police raided the family home of a Deakin student after he bought a drug made from dried cactus online from Germany….

OK, so that’s the beginning of the story. 20 officers. One student. Must be an extremely serious online offense.

Edwards’ lawyer, Victoria Campbell, told Geelong Magistrates’ Court the house was then raided at 6am on February 9, 2010 with an “extraordinary amount of resources” allocated to a small experimentation….

I should say so.

“Twenty federal police with a battering ram and drawn rifles got the family out of bed … and wouldn’t let them get dressed while they absolutely tore the place apart,” Ms Campbell said.

“It just about gave Mrs Edwards a heart attack and she’s still seeing a cardiologist.”

Scary. This must have been a college student who was at the center of a large international ring of smugglers and dealers.

The Portarlington film student, 26, pleaded guilty to attempting to import a border controlled drug yesterday and was spared a conviction that would hamper his career.

Wait, what? Spared a conviction? But 20 armed officers caught him dead-to-rights. This ever-so-serious cactus offender can’t be let off that easy, can he?

He received a 12-month good behaviour bond and was ordered to pay $500 to Barwon Drug and Alcohol Service.

Incredible! A slap on the wrist for what must be the most serious cactus related offense in the history of Australia, judging by the SWAT team tactics to arrest him in the first place. How can this be?

Commonwealth Prosecutor Ashley Bird said the cactus plant was commonly available in Australia and its dried form which is hallucinogenic is also legal

Wait. It’s all legal in the first place?

…but can not be imported…

Oh. So it’s all legal for use, for sale, for barter, for trade, but just not for import. Well, that makes sense. Now I understand why they needed the 20 armed officers. He IMPORTED an otherwise legal cactus substance. Not on his body, mind you, but he ORDERED IT ONLINE! The horror is palpable.

Good to know.

Dance Cactus

The Nederlands Dans Theater dances with cactus. And it’s a metaphor!

‘I think sometimes the untrained dance or art eye feels they’re supposed to understand something,’ he says. ‘And Cacti is a kind of relief from that, a breath of fresh air.’ As the name suggests, at one point in the piece, each dancer holds a potted cactus. Inevitably, those watching instantly search for the context of these spiky yet beautiful plants….

‘I don’t really have a right answer for what it means, and I hope the audience gets the joke – that they don’t have to analyse it. That’s the comment for the whole piece.’

The metaphor seems to be that there is no meaning to the cactus, and thus to the dance either. Interesting!

Too bad we only have this photo of dancers in flesh colored body suits dancing with cactus and not a video of the performance.

Local News Covers Agave Bloom

TV! Kansas TV station KWCH is so excited! It blooms only once a century! Although I see from the poll below that nobody likes this kind of story but me.

Apparently it’s become a tourist attraction in Kansas – really! Watch the video and you’ll see people driving up to take pictures of the blooming agave. Tip from Chris.

I love local news.

Oregon Cactus

Sometimes when a cactus or agave blooms the local newspaper gets all excited and prints a whole article about it. Yay Cactus! Here we see the Oregonian getting all excited about a blooming Rhipsalis.

Genie Uebelacker of Clackamas wrote weeks ago to tell me her mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera) was blooming for the first time in more than 40 years. That’s news…

Genie inherited her mother’s mistletoe cactus, which had never bloomed, in 1991.

“My mother acquired the plant in Seattle and had it for at least 20 years and maybe more,” Genie wrote. “I remember seeing it in a corner of their kitchen and thinking how pretty it was.”

I say it’s a success story when a family can keep a single plant alive for 40 years or more. Good job, Genie.

Flower show and painting competition at Sarabha Nagar gurdwara.

There was a cactus winner in the competition at Sarabha Nagar gurdwara.

It’s in The Times of India, Ludhiana edition, so we can assume that this competition was in India.

Those who put their plants up for display were very excited too. ”I grow only cactus so I participated in the competition for cacti and succulents in pots. It was great and I won four first prizes in different categories,” said Didar Singh, a senior citizen staying in Haibowal.

I don’t have a picture of the cactus winner, but here’s a picture of the neighborhood, Sarabha Nagar gurdwara, which may be in the Ludhiana district of the State of Punjab. Anyone want to correct my geography?

Regardless of where it was, congratulations to Didar Singh for winning the cactus and succulent portion of the competition.

Succulent Containers in the News

I looked through a whole series of articles today to bring you one nice picture of a succulent container. Trust me, the others were not good. This, I do for you.

Vintage urns house Kalanchoe felt plants. Succulents are easy to maintain, drought-tolerant, colorful and are structurally interesting. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Manion

The plants in the photo are…

Kalanchoe baharensis “Fang”, Aeonium decorum (maybe one of the cultivars, maybe not) and probably Graptopetalum paraguayense. Do you agree with my ID’s?

June 2023

US Constitution


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