Sunday, January 3, 2010


Visiting Arizona and going home without a few cacti would be out of the question.

I saw this bowl of cacti and euphorbias on sale along with a small pot of Crown of Thorns, Euphorbia millii, and Euphorbia tirucallii "firesticks" I may have to protect them in the winter but they will survive in our Texas summers with little water.
I had to work on the succulent bowl a little. The decomposed granite mulch must have been mixed with a sticky material to prevent it falling out. It was at least an inch deep and I had the feeling that this wasn't good for the plants, particularly as the plants had been recently watered. I removed all the granite with a big screwdriver ( no gardening tools with me) and broke it up before returning a small layer to the bowl. I have to believe that the grower knows what he is doing but just in case it couldn't harm to do a little doctoring.

Surrounded, as I have been over the last week, with saguaro, cholla and agaves, I am giving some serious consideration to creating a cactus garden in my front courtyard.

Over the years I have lost the A. parryi to flowering and the sotol became two large for the spot and was moved outside where it had more room to spread. Now I need to add some more permanent structure. Agave and cacti seem to be just the thing and with a mulch of decomposed granite should be easier to care for.

Just to see how tough members of this family are, look at these photos I took this week.

The skeleton of this saguaro had been exposed by some desert animal gnawing at the flesh. Even so the plant appeared healthy.

This one completely eaten around still has a healthy crown. Desert plants survive under the harshest of conditions.


  1. Those are great souvenirs.
    It is amazing how tough cacti are.
    Hope you're having a good time.
    It's been pretty chilly, here.

  2. Those last pics are incredible. I wonder how long the cactus can survive in that condition?

    You found some great looking plants in AZ. I have the Sticks on Fire, and it requires absolutely nothing of me all summer long in a teeny-tiny clay pot. But I do bring it inside when a freeze is expected.

  3. I love the cholla and fell in love with that patch at Seguarro Nat. Park...that's where you took the photos, no? I am ever impressed by the stamina of cacti...I saw a house in S. Austin where the owner had been carving into was interesting looking, but I felt so sad for the plant. I wonder just how much they CAN take?

  4. It's unbelievable ...
    Really, they are very hard!
    I am fascinated by these plants. Though, here are not typically used in gardens.
    Many of them could adapt our climate but are not very popular and it is difficult to find variety.
    It is a pleasure to discover new plants , unknown to me.

  5. Linda- having a great time. The weather has been just fantastic and looks set for the rest of the week.
    Pam-Many of the saguaros were showing the scars of their tough life. As we walked around we wondered just what do the animals eat around there. Little sign of life during the day. Some Gambell's quail, Gila woodpeckers.
    Good to hear that the "firesticks" will survive Austin's summers. I don't mind bringing the plants inside over the winter as they don't really need water during the off season.
    Conscious gardener- No, not Tuscon. This was close to my son's house. A long range of hills in a residential area- maybe called South Mountain. We have visited the Desert Garden in Tuscon and the cactus are beautiful there.
    Yolanda- Thanks for dropping by. I know you have snow where you live but there are many of these plants which live in the cold areas of the US.

  6. Great photos of cacti in their natural environment. I've always been fascinated by them, but the climate here really isn't conducive to keeping them!