Snow in California

We get lots of snow in California. Or in parts of California. Like Lake Tahoe. They get lots of snow. Not us. Apparently they don’t get lots of snow in Yucca Valley, CA either, but enough snow that it sometimes snows there like when CNN reports on the snow covering the cactus in Yucca Valley.

cactus in the snow

Cactus Derby, 1914

They held a race and called it the Cactus Derby. It was a derby insofar as it was an off-road car race, interstate paved roads being somewhat rare. And cactus as it was a race through the desert from LA to Phoenix, which couldn’t have been a very big city back then.

cactus derby 1914

Sharlot Hall Museum

Avid racing fans line up along West Gurley Street anxiously awaiting a glimpse of the first racer into Prescott on Nov. 11, 1914.

Wow! How about that. And I checked, so you know, and Phoenix’s population in 1910 was 11,314. It has grown by 23,332% since then.

You can read more about it here, in Part 1. More to come.

Cactus Wren Habitat Restoration

You can help restore cactus wren habitat! But only if you happen to be in Irvine this weekend, or are willing to drive there ASAP.

Cactus Wren Habitat Restoration
Saturday, Feb 2 9:00a to 12:30p

Help the recovery and movement of the cactus wren in the City of Irvine and surrounding open space areas. The project area is one of several that have been arranged in a line-of-sight fashion in an attempt to facilitate a rebound of cactus wrens. Volunteers will plant cactus using special tools. Bring water, snacks, sun protection, long sleeves, long pants, a hat, and good shoes. Tools, safety equipment, will be provided by Irvine Ranch Conservancy. Pre-registration is required.

They’re so cute! Those cactus wrens….

New Jersey Succulents

Want to know how to grow succulents indoor in New Jersey? Well if you want to grow them outside you are out of luck and not just because of the weather. Also because the class listed below is only for people who like to grow their succulents indoor in New Jersey which is also everyone who likes to grow succulents in New Jersey. Except for Sempervivums. Those you can grow outside too.

Barlow’s Flower Farm & Garden Center
Sea Girt, NJ,

Saturday, February 9, 1:00 PM

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon in our tropical greenhouse while you discover the versatility of using succulents as houseplants. Although many people don’t think of them as houseplants, they are extremely forgiving of under watering and forgetful plant owners. Their ease and variety of shapes and sizes make them ideal accents for the home. In this class, each student will create an 8” succulent dish garden to bring home, while learning about care, soil requirements, design, and maintenance.

Sounds like fun!

Tillandsia Weekend Postscript

Clearly I was wrong yesterday when I said I was all done with Tillandsia photos for my Tillandsia Weekend of Tillandsia photos all weekend long.

I have one more Airplant to share.

tillandsia wreath

A Tillandsia Wreath made all out of Tillandsia ionanthas and a couple miscellaneous others too. We didn’t make it. I saw it and took a picture, just like you would have if you had seen it. If you had been at the Tropical Plant Show in Florida last week. But you weren’t and I was so I got the picture to share with you here now.


Sarasota Airplants


A tiny Tillandsia attached to a tree amongst the lichens. In Sarasota! (that’s Florida)

It's the Cactarium!

In Palm Springs, there’s something called a cactarium – billed as the world’s only cactarium – which makes sense if you think of a cactarium as something with a sign out front saying it’s a cactarium because this is definitely the only one with such a sign. On the other hand it looks like a greenhouse with cactus and succulents in it to me.


An interesting large and lumpy small form of the Myrtillocactus geometrizans Crest.

This is an interesting creature, a Walking Kalanchoe, or Kalanchoe synsepala. I see aerial roots in abundance. I wouldn’t pause under that for too long… Hahahaha!!!

A small carrion flower in the Stapeliad subfamily of the Asclepiad family (Asclepiadaceae). known as Huernia pillansii. They attract small ground insects.

And bigger….

It’s a giant stapeliad bud.

The flower opens and it looks like it’s probably Stapelia grandiflora.

That was fun.

More California Canyon Plants

Here are a couple really nice desert plants from the same Tahquitz Canyon Trail in Palm Springs as the cacti below.

But they’re not cacti! Not even succulent. How do they survive?

Honey Mesquite – Prosopsis glandulosa

Chuparosa! (Justica californica) I love that name! And winter bloomers in the desert are especially welcome. It’s in the Acanthus family (Acanthaceae) along with such popular plants as Bear’s Breeches (Acanthus mollis) and Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes). Hey – we just got some Hypoestes in for the houseplant room for winter. Nice!

Tahquitz Canyon Trail

Palm Springs has some nice desert trails.

This is the story of one of them, the Tahquitz Canyon Trail.

Opuntia basilaris – Beavertail

Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa – Buckhorn Cholla

And another Opuntia basilaris! Beavertails for everyone!

Crested Barrel Cactus, Palm Springs

Ferocactus cylindraceus

I’ve never seen a crested Ferocactus like this before.


In case you were wondering where I found this, it was Indian Canyon, above the Murray Canyon Trail. Nice! If you are going there and want a more precise location so you can find it too, you can probably check the data associated with the photo. I don’t know if the data survives the posting, so if not you can email me for the location data.

Sparkly Cactus

Apparently this is a real photo and the lighting for this garden this year is tonight. In Las Vegas.

Light up the night: Ethel M gets the holiday season going with its annual cactus-lighing party on November 13. Photo: Christopher DeVargas

Ethel M Holiday Cactus Lighting A garden of cacti, colored lights and chocolates awaits. Admission for a family of four costs just one new, unwrapped toy, to be donated to KLUC’s drive. November 13, 5-8 p.m.

Sounds delicious. I regret not being there tonight.

What to do in Detroit this Saturday

Plant succulents in a container of your choice. Don’t know how? Join some other people in or near Detroit (Troy is near Detroit, maybe?) with succulents to plant and you too could end up with a succulent container garden of your own. If you’re in Detroit this Saturday. If not, then nevermind.

Succulent Container Workshop: Bring your own container or choose from a variety of different pots. 10 a.m. Sat. Telly’s Greenhouse, 3301 John R, Troy. Workshop: $5 plus materials. Register. 248-689-8735.

Australian Gardening with Succulents Like Agaves and Such

This is a pretty garden indeed. Mature! Probably been around a few years and tended carefully and often.

THERE are some excellent gardens in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, one of which belongs to Susan Lancaster and houses a series of installations that she has created, often out of found objects. Her collection of succulent species also fascinates, however; they provide a perfect foil for the architectural form of the works of art.

Influenced by South American designer Roberto Burle Marx, the 0.75ha garden has been designed as a series of winding paths that lead visitors past collections of bromeliads, cordylines, agaves, yuccas, strelitzias, tiger grass and bamboos. Blocks of plants are repeated throughout the garden to great effect.

Wonder where this “Sunshine Coast hinterland” they speak of is? Let me show you.

Wow! That garden is a regular oasis.

Read More…

It's a Bakersfield Kind of Weekend

Not me for, no, god forbid. But if you were in Bakersfield yesterday maybe you caught the cactus and succulent show at the Golden State Mall? In the past it had been held at the East Hills Mall, but this year they moved it, so I hope you didn’t go to the wrong mall yesterday and miss out.

That wasn’t you? Oh, nevermind then.

Anything else about Bakersfield we should know? Well there is a Bakersfield Cactus, aka Opuntia basilaris var. treleasei, but that’s not actually from Bakersfield.

Hahaha! Yes it is from Bakersfield! Nice! It’s the Kern County native Beavertail cactus, so you know it’s good, if a bit endangered by development.

Giant Armenian Cucumbers

We stopped off and visited Trey at his Golden Gecko Garden Center in Garden Valley.

Trey gave us these lovely and ginormous Armenian Cucumbers he’s growing behind the nursery.

We ate a part of one with dinner, not a whole one since they are gigantic. We got some new seasones sea salt recently, so that was good with the cucumber pieces.

How stupendously big are they? 18-20″ long. That’s big! We did not carry them a the nursery this year. Maybe next year.

Thanks Trey!

You can also visit Trey’s blog The Blogging Nurseryman.



It’s the cactus and succulents tables at Redwood Barn Nursery in Davis, CA.


Nat Geo Desert Rose

An impressive specimen of an Adenium socotranum, or Adenium obesum ssp.socotranum, in Yemen.

From National Geographic:

Desert Rose, Socotra
Photograph by Mark W. Moffett, National Geographic

This Month in Photo of the Day: Nature and Weather Photos

A desert rose anchors itself on the Maalah cliffs, in the company of more than 300 other rare plant species on Socotra. In the distance lies Qulansiyah, one of the island’s largest towns.

See more pictures from the June 2012 feature story “Where the Weird Things Are.”

Not just an impressive specimen, but also an impressive photographic feat. And a little bird!

Check out some other pictures of these giants here and here.


It’s the SF Orchid Show and Sale!

No, not today. It’s next weekend. This here is a friendly reminder to put it on your calender.

It may not be a fancy poster, but it is a fancy show.

Mars Rover

According to,

Mars looks remarkably like the California desert in a new photo beamed home by NASA’s Curiosity rover, researchers said today (Aug. 8).

In the new black-and-white image, Curiosity’s Gale Crater landing site bears a striking resemblance to the desert landscape a hundred miles or so east of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where the rover was built, scientists said.

“To a certain extent, the first impression that you get is how Earthlike this seems, looking at that landscape,” Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger, of Caltech in Pasadena, told reporters.

Indeed. If you zoom in on the photo a little closer…

What is that? Is that a ….

It is! It is a….

Cactus on Mars!

Idaho Cactus

Rachel from Idaho sends along prickly-pears-in-bloom photos from the Twin Falls area of Idaho.

In case you were wondering, Rachel is Hap’s Auntie and these are at his Mom’s, so we planted these in previous years and you can see how well they’re doing!

I could name the species for you if I was willing to. But I’m not. So no species names for you!

Here’s the big ditch that’s nearby, also known as the Snake River Canyon.

Along with a statue of some twins.

I took these 2 pictures last fall when we were visiting. Idaho!

Pasadena Cactus Showcase

If you click through the link to the article and watch the video you’ll see that this story is really all about the house, and not about the cactus. But there it is, and it’s the photo that goes with the article, so we’re going to pretend that this showcase is for the cactus and not for the house.


A cactus older than the villa stands at the entrance of the Robbins House, a Spanish-style retreat built in 1927 for a family that traced its roots to colonial times. Only the third owner lives there now. It’s this year’s Pasadena Showcase House of Design for the Arts, bringing in dozens of designers who show off their very best ideas. (KABC Photo)

Cactus Blooms in Texas Herald Spring

Dina Arevalo | Valley Morning Star

Vibrant spots of color amid the brush-lined paths of Hugh Ramsey Nature Park in Harlingen — seen Monday, March 19, 2012 — herald the arrival of spring. The spots are mostly lemon yellow against the verdant backdrop, but in hidden corners the rare prickly pear cactus displays bright red blossoms with fiery hints of orange and pink seemingly set ablaze in the glow of afternoon sunlight.

Those are some gorgeous colors there in that there cactus bloom prickly pear flower. I’m impressed and I see a lot of prickly pear cactus flower bloom inflorescences. I wonder where this Harlingen, Texas is? Let’s us all go and visit since it’s cold and rainy here and it’s partly sunny and 90 right now in Harlingen, Texas. Although they do have the chance of thunderstorms tonight, so let’s not stay too long.

Yucca getting ready to bloom in Harlingen, Texas.

Aloe blooms at sunset in Harlingen, Texas.

Flooding in Harlingen, Texas.

And my favorite from the City of Harlingen’s own website:

Harlingen Thicket
Amenities: 40-acre tract of native brush in the city center, restrooms, parking, and extensive trails.

That’s a mighty fine stand of cactus.

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.

Cactus Missouri

Climatron is the name of an indoor garden in Missouri, at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. Hey, my niece lives in St. Louis, maybe I should visit!

Looks climate controlled, somewhat tropical. I wonder if they have butterflies?

Anyway, they do have a Cactus Show and Sale at the Botanical Gardens in July. Check it out!

And most remarkably they have historic photos of the Cactus House right there at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Cactus House – North side looking east (1890s greenhouse).
Cactus House (1904-1914) (Missouri Botanical Garden)

Contributor Missouri Botanical Garden
Date of original 1890


This is a nice photo too.

Danish Cactus

The Copenhagen Botanic Garden has a cactus collection.

First, here’s a historic photo of the gardens.

And now what does it look like?

It’s the same!

What about the cactus collection?

Greenhouse 10

Cacti and other succulents from desert and steppe-areas, like cacti from America and spurges (Euphorbia) and “living stones” (species of Aizoaceae) from Africa. Furthermore, a large collection of plants from Madagascar and many special, so-called caudiciform plants, where the stem is short, bulbous or thickened and with a thick cortex layer. In all about 1,000 species.

That’s a lot to fit into one greenhouse, but then there’s even at least 9 more greenhouses to visit. Denmark has been busy collecting plants over the years I guess.

And here’s the obligatory picture of the famous Palm House.

Some photos of the collection can be found here, you know.

San Diego Succulents

I’m back from a short trip to San Diego and all I got you was this picture of a window box with succulents.

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora and Echeveria “Topsy Turvy”.


May 2020

US Constitution


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