Fish in the Garden

Selby Gardens in Sarasota have a koi pond. Did you know? You do now. I would like to name this beautiful fish after my uncle Harry but I don’t have an uncle Harry. I do have a nephew Harry so maybe its named after him then.


Aloes in Habitat

Where do you go to see aloes in habitat? South Africa of course. And how about this, there’s an aloe park and it’s called Matlala Aloe Park in the Limpopo Province, South Africa.

It seems to have a private game reserve, so it appears to be a place for a safari adventure, fishing or maybe hunting too.

Oddly, I can’t find any pictures of any aloes. Maybe the word Aloe means fishing or camping or something. Who knows.

Here, have this aloe picture to tide you over.

Aloe aristata

Canary Island Cactus Garden

Somebody took a 360degree photo of a cactus garden in the Canary Islands, so that you could enjoy it.

The Jardin de Cactus was very busy when we were there (mid August) and we couldn’t summon the energy to queue with the coach loads of fellow tourists, for our “free” drink at the cafe. There was also a queue to reach the old windmill, which is still used to grind cornflour. The water garden at the centre was disappointingly green and smelly, but we did like the primitive, caveman-style drawings, telling you which loo was which.

You did enjoy it, didn’t you? What, you haven’t clicked through yet to see what I’m talking about? Fools!

Australian Cactus Country

It turns out there’s a cactus garden that you can visit if you’re looking to visit a cactus garden when you are in Australia. First off, the article has some strange Australian english to get through.

To the west of Strathmerton lies the Barmah forest and its magnificent red gums. South, and you’ll find the irrigation centre of Numurkah….

But then they do get to the point of the story, the cactus.

So it is an odd site indeed to come across Jim and Julie Hall’s Cactus Country.

And what do they say about this themselves? Something about cactus hats?

It is, according to the couple, among the top 10 cactus gardens in the world.

Good to know.


From a website called Today comes a bloggable photo.

A lone cactus stands on the vast, empty hills of the Andean Altiplano.

The article may be bloggable too, but I didn’t read it, so I wouldn’t know. If you think I should go ahead and read the article and write something about it, let me know in the comments.

Boston Succulents

I’m back from Boston and I see we’re in for thunderstorms today. Thank g-d I got back just in time! It would have been terrible to have to have missed thunderstorms on the last day of the pottery sale.

So what did we do in Boston? Besides the nephew’s bar mitzvah and the giant seder? Flower and Garden Show!

There were a lot of succulents at the Boston Flower and Garden Show. And they were expensive too, compared to California prices. But most of all the show was small, very commercial and crowded. The show gardens were different than we are used to. Out here, they are designer’s show gardens; in Boston they are nursery’s show gardens. The difference is immediately obvious – showing old product rather than inspiring with new designs. I was amazed that they all had clumps of evergreens on display. I mean, really, evergreens at your spring garden show? That’s what you use to inspire new customers?

I didn’t take any pictures, and I think that says it all. Since we missed the SF show; anybody know a good source for SF Garden Show pictures?


Still dealing with the aftermath of the flooding here, so in the meantime, a short trip to Mexico seems like a good idea.


El Charco del Ingenio Botanical, Ecological Preservation Zone. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.


New York Times Review
Bird-watchers, outdoorsmen and city slickers will all appreciate the brambly valleys this 167-acre ecological reserve spanning cactus-lined canyons and spring-fed pools. Guests can access easy hiking trails festooned with giant agaves and nopal cactus where egrets and swallows roost and peck at spiny fruits. The greenhouse, which resembles a small airplane hangar, shelters hundreds of rare and endangered plants. It’s the kind of place locals come to take in the natural surrounding beauty, perhaps when things feel a little too Disney.


Back from christmas in Idaho. We didn’t see any cactus, but the niece did get to feed the neighbors horse. It may have been bitter cold out, but she’s from Alaska, so she didn’t seem to mind.


Relax with a Cactus

Have you ever… had yourself poked with cactus soaked in tequila?


Some people have.


5. Cactus and Tequila

Cactus leaves dipped in tequila are a base ingredient for the so-called ‘hakali’ massage. It was devised by the Mexicans who guarantee supreme, poking-free, experience and who believe in the relaxing effects of alcohol.

I wonder where you can go to relax with a cactus in Mexico?

Apuane Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico.

And finally, we have a picture. She does look relaxed.



I think Saturday is a good day to reprint a longish excerpt of a trip to Peru.

(T)he Atacama Desert is not entirely barren….

Tall, columnar cacti, similar in form to the saguaro of our own Sonoran Desert, become increasingly common north of Lima, Peru, and south of the line that marks the Southern Hemisphere’s winter equinox. Trichocereus [Ed: Now called Echinopsis] cactus is one of the giant cacti I encountered and in places it was abundant….

Individual cacti approached 24 feet in height and were often the dominant plant species across vast areas….

I noticed the giant cacti rarely contained woodpecker nest cavities though both the striped woodpecker and Chilean flicker are known to follow the giant cacti into the Atacama….

At both the southern and northern edges of the Atacama succulents are easily the most abundant perennial plants…. One of the most abundant succulents was a agave-like plant that belonged to the pineapple family.

Nearly all of these succulents have shallow roots, lying within an inch of the surface, indicating they can utilize moisture from light showers or heavy fog. This adaptation, however, is not the only reason for their abundance….

For hundreds of years domestic goats have been used as a source of milk and meat throughout Peru and Chile…. The normally rich variety of water-loving plant species found around desert springs and streams is absent in the Atacama. Nearly every spring has become a home site and the immediate vicinity has become completely defoliated by the owner’s livestock. Over vast areas the only vegetation remaining is represented by those plant families that are unpalatable to goats.

So the key to cactus success is that they are not delicious to goats. True enough.

MN Cactus

Have you ever wanted to travel in the summer somewhere other than the West and still be able to see cactus on your journeys? Well, the Minneapolis Examiner has a little suggestion for you. Now, I can’t say I agree with this suggestion, but I can pass it along.

Blue Mounds State Park
This is a great park to visit at any time, but June and July offer a unique enticement—the park is an ideal home for Minnesota’s only native cactus, the prickly pear, and it sends up its canary yellow flowers during those months. The cactuses are tucked in around the outcroppings of ruddy Sioux quartzite. The rocks jut up—100 feet, in some places—from the tranquil sea of prairie grass. Clamber (carefully) up the rocks to take in sweeping views. The park’s herd of bison adds to the step-back-in-time atmosphere, and the abundance of tallgrass prairie birds makes for a fun spotting game. Camping is available (and there are showers available for the fastidious among us); check the Minnesota DNR Web site for details.

What did I see when last I visited MN?

James Turrell

Tennessee Cactus

When an event has a theme like this:

The year’s theme is “Sedums & Succulents.”

You know it has to be good. Of course, it’s only number 25 out of 101 great things to do in Tennessee.

Take in the glory of nature during the 20th Annual Summer Celebration lawn and garden show from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 9 at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center, 605 Airways Blvd. in Jackson.

Travel Day

It’s been a full day of travel, as we’re going to the California Grown show this week. Maybe I’ll make a video of the show. Won’t that be exciting? Anyway, we’re in Newport Beach, with both dogs.


Cactus Lake

Travel season is finally here.

So where do you go when you want to beat the heat, find some unusual flowers to photograph and enjoy amazing scenery? Well, we visited Saguaro Lake and came home with some great memories. 


This past weekend the Saguaro Cactus forest was full of blooms. This is typically a May phenomenon. 

That’s pretty far to go if you don’t live in Arizona. But they do have cactus in bloom and boating too. It’s an unbeatable combination, unless you compare it to sailing in the Sea of Cortez.

Boise to Baja


A “Natural Park” in Baja, California, Valle de los Cirios offers some of the most unique vistas ever! Cycling in Valle de los Cirios – Notice the massive triple bike? Photo: Nancy Sathre-Vogel

It’s an Echinopsis terscheckii, also known as Cardòn Grandé. We have a 6 footer at the nursery that is sending out it’s first blooms. You’ll get to see the pictures as soon as they open. Unless it sells before then.

They Promised Me…

…One more day in the 80s, but no, it’s freezing. A traditional Bay Area summer morning. Brrr.

Here, have a picture of two giant epi’s from our recent trip to Alaska.


They’re at Bell’s Nursery up on Dearmoun.


Hap and I just got back from a short trip to Alaska where we stayed at a friend’s bed and breakfast, City Garden B+B, and they had some quite large and full pachypodiums in our room, plus lots of blooming orchids everywhere. We contributed a small Rebutia narvaecense in full bloom.


And in case you were wondering, we could not see Russia from our room, yes I have been to Wasilla, and the volcano was being monitored all the while, you betcha.


I used to live in Venice. Not on the canals, but close enough to the beach.

Venice Garden & Home Tour

Studio City designers Carol Plotkin and Janet Hoskins helped Balaban rethink the minuscule landscape and incorporate a slim border filled with irises, roses, succulents and Mediterranean plants.


I see an Echeveria and some Kalanchoes too.

How about another home on the tour?

The rooftop view: sand, sea and sky.


And here we see Echinopsis, Agave, Aloe, Cereus, Opuntia and more.

What to do When Visiting Memphis

Why, go to a succulent gardening class at the Botanic Garden, of course.

A Flower Moment: Noon-1 p.m. at the Memphis Botanic Garden. Fee $30 ($20 for botanic garden members). Price includes lunch. “Sedums & Succulents: On the Edge of Chaos!” by Paul Little of Little Hill Nursery. Preregistration recommended; call 636-4115. Dates: May 15, June 19, Sept. 18, and Oct. 16.

I’d like to know what level of chaos these fine little plants are on the edge of. But I don’t think I can make it to Memphis.

UK Cactus

It all started with a packet of seeds from Woolworths more than 40 years ago….

Grown out of a hobby, they can be viewed at Eau Brink Cacti Nursery in the grounds of his house in Eau Brink, near King’s Lynn…. Contact Mr Bowdery on 01553 617635 for confirmation.

Derek Bowdery from Kings Lynn with his huge Cactus collection.

Oops, it looks like this may be another travel suggestion. What was I thinking earlier today making the claim that I was only going to be giving one travel suggestion all year long? That was clearly ridiculous. You should never trust me again. I’ve lost your trust! I feel terrible. Well, anyway, Derek’s collection looks pretty interesting.

Silver City

The Sun-News has this travel suggestion for you if you have an RV.

Pancho Villa State Park is a popular place to stay which is were we are tonight….

The park is landscaped with native cactus ,which is beautiful at this time year. Volunteer Sandra Anyanwu sees to that…


Anyanwu also rescues cactus that have been damaged and nurses them back to health.

That’s my travel suggestion for the year. An RV park in a state park in New Mexico  or somewhere. I wonder why I would suggest this for you? I wonder…


From the Canary Islands, it’s the Dracaena draco, also known as the Dragon Tree.


Photo: P. Schonfelder from Universität Regensburg Institut für Botanik in Regensburg.

Catalina Cactus

Hiking off the main trails on Catalina Island can be a rewarding experience, so the LA Times discovers.


Blazing a new trail in Catalina
A sign marks the Trans-Catalina Island Trail, built to show off Catalina’s dramatic changes in elevation, which make for a surprising variety of ecosystems and landscapes: muscular peaks, scalloped beaches, lush ravines and grasslands enlivened by an array of spring flowers. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

I see cactus. Wait, here’s some more.


A butterfly perches gingerly on a cactus along the trail, which climbs, dips and winds through backcountry largely unknown to the public and essentially unchanged since Tongva Indians roamed the island. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

I wonder if the photographer minds my borrowing his beautiful photos? Well, a simple google search should lead him here, where he’ll see we gave credit and links. Oh well, the contours of fair use and all…

Michiganders Travel to Arizona

Apparently it’s the time of year for Northerners to head South. Here’s another travel article where the people living in cold areas marvel at the cactus in the warm areas.

When I met up with my brothers in Arizona in March for a family get-together, I wanted to… get out into the desert.

Don’t we all. But you know it’s a good article when they publish photos of cactus, and they did not disappoint. They have 5 cactus photos with the article! 5! Woohoo! Here’s one I borrowed.


JIM TIMMERMANN, The Holland Sentinel


May 2020

US Constitution


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