The Cactus Garden That Was…

The Ill-Fated Cactus Garden

Boy’s mom is a designer of onsite sewage treatment systems.  She is also a fantastic landscape designer.  What she is not is a potted plant person.  Her CAD program does not extend beyond design … certainly not to potted plant care.  Boy went along with her to the nursery one day to choose some plants for her landscape project.  There, he fell in love with cacti … the potting kind.  Being the indulgent mom that she is, she helped him to choose a pot and some cactus plants and succulents to pot.  Also, being the sensible one, she donned her work gloves before she potted the things.  The pot with its lovely cacti arrived at my house, of course.  Here are some photos of it.

I am not a big fan of cactus gardens, but I am a big fan of Boy.  So, I explained cactus care to him.  All was well in Cactus farming at this point.  However, I did notice one potential problem in cactus paradise.  No drain hole in the container.  I told Boy that this might be a problem if he watered too much.

Boy was particularly fond of Cactus Man.

He was fascinated by the pencil succulent.  I kind of liked it too.  I never saw one before.

I used to have succulents much like this one.  We called them “hen and chicks” because new ones grew around the mama plant all the time.  When I told Boy about the hen thing, he kept looking for little chicks to appear.  None did.  I think this is a different kind.  The chickless hen kind.

Boy watered only infrequently and very carefully.  One day, we decided the cactus garden needed sunlight.  We moved it into the pergola.  There, dead leaves and blossoms often fell onto it.  It seemed to like the extra light.

Then one day it rained.  It poured.  I forgot the cactus garden.  It turned into a cactus lake.  Uh-oh.  By the time I noticed it, the garden was looking poorly.  Mr. Cactus Man had turned into the incredible shrinking cactus man.  I did the only sensible thing.  I sent the garden home with Irma (The-cleaning-fetish-Irma).  As I write this, she is carefully nursing the cactus garden back to health.  Meanwhile, Boy has moved on to other projects.   On the bright side, I am grateful that he didn’t bring something else that has to be fed and let outside…   Or, worse yet, pees on the carpet!  🙂

85 Comments on “The Cactus Garden That Was…

  1. I was told many years ago that the green smooth upright cactus you have in your photo is know as babies toes. A pity that it is so difficult to get a cactus to bloom.

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    • I can see why the cactus is called Baby Toes! Thanks for that information. I think cacti need more light than we provide usually. I never had one to bloom other than the Christmas Cactus. It blooms almost anywhere.

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  2. Really nice shots – beautiful colors. I’ve never been one for plants that ‘stick’ ya … don’t like digging stuff out of my fingers. I seem to get into trouble with roses, especially. Keep the vibrant images coming! D

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  3. Cactus man can be very dangerous because of the hundreds of little teeny tiny needles. They really should not be a potted plant but many people use them as such.

    The pencil succulent actually is not a pencil succulent. It is a jade plant, specifically a “finger jade” (Crassula ovata). They are beautiful when they get big.

    The succulent you thought was a “hen and chicks” is actually an Echeveria species.

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    • Thanks. I knew I was mistaken about the plants. I was surprised that nobody (except you) let me know what they actually are. I am very interested in the jade plant now that you identified it and told me that it grows bigger. It’s a gorgeous plant. I agree about Mr. Cactus. I was afraid one of Boy’s friends would touch it. Thank you for your help! I appreciate your taking the time! 🙂

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    • Hi, Kofee! Glad to see you.. What a sweet bunny! I think about you , but I am not getting email notices. I have to unfollow and re-follow, I think. Thanks for the visit!

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    • I know I replied to this, Kofe Girl. I’m so happy to see your smiling face again! I always think of you. Glad you have finished the project and will come back to us! 🙂

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    • I like cacti too. We used to have an old-fashioned “hen and chickens” succulent that looked a little like the one here. It would make the cutest little babies around the bottom and spill them over the sides of the pot. People where I grew up planted them in flower beds too. Old ladies always had them around! 🙂

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    • Yes, you are correct. We use aloe vera the same way. We used to have aloe plants in a flower bed at our back porch. If we got a little burn or sunburn, we’d cut the aloe and apply the juice to the injury. It is very soothing. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Mostly I stick to plants, but we have 3 cakti in our window. They like it there. Just re-potted two of them and placed them together, so I’ll have to wait and see if they’ll get along.

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    • Hi child! I have to visit you. Your Gravatar is delightful. Glad you like the colors. Cacti are colorful when they bloom. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Gorgeous photos as always George. The problem seems to be the ‘no hole in the container’ and that isn’t boys fault 🙂

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    • Thank you. I have to visit your blog. I assume “hellboy” is that delightful pup! :-p Any blog with that name has to be fun. Thanks for stopping in.

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  6. I really appreciate you visiting my blog and leaving me a comment! I am always amazed at how many lessons nature gives to us. Today…with the wee sparrow was no exception. Have a most beautiful week.

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  7. What? Cactii don’t pee on the carpet? Don’t need to be taken for walks on hot or icy cold days? Where do i sign up? (oh, wait… the cactii are probably not going to be glad to see me when i come home, and certainly won’t be sleeping on my feet every night)

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  8. These pictures are beautiful & cactus man is very cool! Lol I really want a spider cactus, any other type of plants I keep in my apartment don’t seem to thrive. I have a coleus that’s trying really hard now, hope she survives!

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    • Thank you, Monique. A coleus really needs sunlight to turn its leaves pretty colors. I saw them everywhere when I was growing up so they are old fashioned plants. My mother always had them. A cactus would be much easier to grow. I’m glad you liked the pictures and cactus man! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Amazing colors George…and as usual an amazing story to go along with it. It’s good to know some things never really change.

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    • Thanks, Alex. I’m lazier than I used to be. Occasionally, I struggle up and post! I’m glad you’re back. I was astounded by your last post about the rover!

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    • No, old folks stay old folks until they fade away. Rough seas grow calm so we are no longer tossed about as much. You can find most old folks where you found them the last time you looked. We aren’t off conquering the world anymore. But, do we ever enjoy seeing ourselves in the Alex girls who carry on for us! 🙂

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  10. I’m baaaack… You are the proud beneficiary of an award. Take your pick… No obligations, of course. Just because I care. xox 😉

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  11. WOW! These cactus plants are amazing, you captured also so nicely their pictures. I love cactus, Thank you dear George, love, nia

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    • Well, Kitty, in the photo it looks almost that color. Just a bit lighter and you’re there!
      Thank you for stopping by and liking my photos! 🙂

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  12. Great shots George. Delightful narrative. Cactus Man sounds like a character from the superhero comics of the 1960’s ( referred to by comic-book historians as the Silver Age). Wonderfully bizarre characters and simple adventures that lacked the seriousness of today’s tales. I am sure Boy would appreciate them for the sheer wonder & imagination.

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    • Thanks, Joseph. I hadn’t thought of the 1960’s comics. I bet Boy would like them. I’ll check it out.
      I love the last flowers that you did!

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    • Yes. She did well for several months until I moved her and water could’t escape from her bowl. Makes me think that we should leave plants in their natural environment and stop trying to capture them for our own convenient viewing pleasure! We are always a worse adversary than the natural elements! Glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you.

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  13. Boy’s designs are lovely and your photos are as stunning as ever George. The colors and the close-up details make me feel like I’m only inches away from the real deal. I have great respect for cactus. Last year on a photo shoot in Arizona I was kneeling only 6 inches away photographing one with 10 inch long needles when a hiker’s dog who was passing by jumped on my back sending me into the plant and then to the hospital. It’s so much more enjoyable looking at your beautiful photos of them. They’re terrific.

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    • Oh, Rick! How awful. I can only imagine the pain and damage that six-inch needles caused you! No, I can’t imagine! My daughter rode her bicycle into only a sago palm when she was a kid. The center poked her pretty good, but nothing resembling your injuries. Those cacti mean business. That’s why they survived. We fear animals and don’t think much about plants, but they are fiercely resistant to trifling with. Did you get the shot? Please tell me you did! 🙂 Thank goodness you didn’t get one in the eye!
      You are so kind to me about my photos. You are the professional nature photographer so it makes me feel good that you approve of my efforts. Digital cameras have opened up a world of wonder for the average person. That’s one of the real benefits of technology for the masses. It allows a shaky seventy-year-old to snap a flower and feel the thrill of seeing the image appear larger than life on her computer monitor. Now, that’s miraculous by any standard. Even the fuzzy ones hold some value for me. 🙂
      You are not appearing in my email or reader. I thought about that for days. I have to unfollow and refollow, I think. Thank you, Rick.

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  14. I loved Cactus Man! And the Cactus Pencil was really cool looking. My mom (who can grow anything from a twig) gave me a HUGE cactus one year…she had grown it from a little baby and it was so big it was in a 5 gal bucket. She was like, you will not kill this – it’s very easy to keep alive. I don’t know the name for it…it was tall and branched off everywhere…I had it for about a month and it got red streaks all in it – I have no idea what I did to it…I killed it…

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    • Now, that took talent. I bet the change in light did it in. Sometimes plants do not do well when we move them. You must have watered it. Bad mistake. Ha Ha I had a mother-in-law-tongue once that lived forever with very little water. If I watered it in order to wash off the leaves, it didn’t like that even. It was huge on my back porch. I finally killed it too. We weren’t meant to have house plants, maybe. 🙂
      Now that I think of it, neither of us is the hothouse kind…

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  15. HIgh quality shots George!
    I missed this blog a lot, but I’m glad to see you are back on it, I’ll catch up on The Fuzzy Photo soon, it’s like 2:13 am and I just posted and started catcing up.

    Love the vibrant colors in these photos!

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    • Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit! I know you are eager for classes to be finished! Adventure time coming up! 🙂

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  16. These photos really make me want to start a cactus garden — or something really mini here in he house!! Such gorgeous colors — wonderful artwork indeed!! 🙂

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    • Thank you, Robyn! I enjoy the cactus colors too. There is such an infinite number of different kinds of cacti that are small enough for nice dish gardens. I enjoyed Boy’s until I moved it and did it in! 🙂

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  17. i did that with my bonsai tree that was a gift from my future daughter in law’s father… oh boy… it poured for days and all the while poor little bon sat unattended and uncovered. needless to say, death came slowly. and quite surely.. but maybe it was meant to be as i don’t like the guy-dad-anyway. 😉

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  18. Cacti are gorgeous. We have some beauties in South Africa. There are lots of cacti only gardens around, especially in the dry, dusty, semi-desert area called The Karoo.

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  19. What a lovely post.. I also love cacti and have a few.. but like someone that has also commented they do well by me as I am forever forgetting to water them.. the photos are absolutely outstanding and I would love to know what camera you use and specially the lens.. love your blog and glad I’m following.. look forward to more…

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    • I use a Nikon D300 with my walk-around lens that is a Nikkor 18-200 VR DX . The Cactus Man photo was shot in the shade of the pergola so I used an ISO 3200, F/95, Exposure 1/160. I am not a photographer so I use the lenses that I am comfortable with. The Anole lizard and trumpet photos in the last couple of posts were shot with a Panasonic LX5. That is a handy little camera with built-in image stabilization and fantastic auto white balance. Lemony Shots does some phenomenal photography with only that little camera.
      You do such professional photography that I am a little red-faced to admit that I basically point-and-shoot. Thanks for the compliment and the follow. I am honored. I see you around and read your comments. You know what you are doing! 🙂

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      • Oh my Dear how you give me credit, I only have a Fugifilm HS10, no interchangeable lens, and very little playing with settings.. most of the time I have no idea what to set the camera at as my subjects won’t stand around and pose for me, so its very much a aim and press and hope for the best… I’m lucky I think most of the time… you don’t see the 100s I delete.. but thanks for the complement, like you I enjoy and try my best.. but the big thing its an enjoyable hobby and when you get a good shot its a thrill…

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  20. Beautiful detail on those cacti, George…my little one loves them, as well…and had to have his very own on his desk right after we moved away from his desert of Arizona…cacti were a must-have. I’ve noticed that they don’t pee on our carpet, either…wonderful pets. 🙂

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  21. I can’t believe what a cute story you wove around the pictures of the cactus garden. I loved it. Linda

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    • Thanks. I hate that I forgot it in the rain. Heck, it hadn’t rained in such a long time that I guess I forgot about rain and cacti!! Irma will cure it. She takes all the failed potted stuff home with her. I should have photographed it when it was nearly dead! These are several months old photos. Back when it was happy. 🙂

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  22. Cacti are the only plants I allow in my apartment — I need low maintenance though I don’t think I get enough sun. I’ve seven. These are great photos.

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    • They’re a good choice for indoor gardening in low light. They are very hardy unless you like to water stuff! I think they live a long time without direct sunlight too. I used to have Christmas cactus plants because I liked the blossoms. I kept them indoors and they did well. Thanks for the kind comment about my photos. You’re always so nice! 🙂

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  23. Beautiful, beautiful photos. Rich and juicy colors. I want the plants and the photos after looking at these.
    Of course, a cactus is the thing I need since I don’t have a green thumb. I don’t think I’d let it sit out in the rain and get all drenched up though. Shucks, taking the plants in and outside is about all I’m good for when it comes to taking care of them. When they need re-potting, I’m in trouble.

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    • Thanks, Totsy. I figured I’d better post something or else folks would think I’m dead. Yeah, all you have to do to these things is NOT water them. I guess I’m the only person alive who could kill a cactus… 🙂 I missed the Ramadan thing. I gotta’ get back over to KSA and find out what you got into. Guess you stayed outta jail since I know they don’t give you online privileges in the KSA Slammer.

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