Saturday, September 3, 2016

A CACTUS THEATRE

Put in the words, "cactus theatre' on Google and you may come up with a restaurant or two and the odd theater. Put in the words Auricula Theatre on Google and up will pop photographs of hundreds of examples of Auricula theatres. In its basic form it would be a bookshelf-like structure mounted on the wall displaying potted auriculas, Primula auricula.
It is one of the stands always seen at the Chelsea Flower Show where, WS Lockyer, wearing his bowler hat, has exhibited his auriculas in theatrical fashion, year after year, taking home many gold medals.



Auriculas, although cold hardy, cannot tolerate excessive heat or moisture. They are the alpine cousins of primroses. Clearly they will never grow in Texas. But after seeing an example of a dwarf hosta theatre at Holehird Gardens this summer ( another plant that won't do well in this part of Texas) I came up with the idea of a Cactus Theatre, and I had just the place for one. The entry way to our front garden.


For several year there has been a hayrack planter on this wall but it really was too small and I had never really had a successful planting of anything. The closest I came was with grandfather's pipe, Callisia fragrans, but that was just a one-off year and the next year when I tried to do the same thing it looked awful. The area is partly shaded by some high beams and the wall protected from the westerly sun. It is the perfect place for cactus and succulents, offering them a little shade but plenty of light.
David and I discussed design, modeling it on the one we had seen at Holehird only changing the overall dimensions to suit our area. We purchased the wood and pots and David did the cutting and assembling. I stained it with the stain we used on the side entry steps, which we already had. The total cost for the project, including pots was under $35. I think it will be a lots easier to take care of.


Many of the plants are ones I had on hand and are succulents. But this weekend is the Austin Cactus and Succulent Show and Sale so I may come home with some special plants for my Cactus Theatre. The cactus below I bought at the Wildflower center sale last year. It is a slow grower not having grown more than a few millimeters in over a year.

Button cactus, Epithelantha micromeris

This was the second of two projects completed this week. The first were several very simple bee houses cut from rounds of oak logs. Drilled to create nesting holes and hung on the wall in the English garden.



Maybe now the bees will stop filling the holes in my umbrella.

10 comments:

  1. Your cactus theater is fabulous, Jenny! I may steal the idea, although I suppose it would be smarter to start by just replanting the 3 pots I have sitting in a hanging metal piece already mounted to my vegetable garden fence.

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    1. Please do, steal the idea, that is. I stole it from Holehird. It probably wouldn't have been done without David's help. Now to take care of the plants. Should be easy, right!

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  2. Both nicely done, but I'm partial to the cactus theatre, what a great idea. Perhaps I now need to build an Agave theatre...

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    1. Good idea as long as there are some dwarf agaves. Are there any?

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  3. I love both projects, just wish I had more walls to work with... :)

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    1. House walls Alan. Or a free standing one. I have seen them done inside a picture frame with a black background-that would work indoors.

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  4. Wonderful projects! I'm betting the bees will use both types of holes - the ones you provide and the ones you'd prefer they leave alone... but there is no such thing as too many bees these days, right?

    I noted some pots have saucers and others do not. Is that a matter of different drainage requirements or does that reflect what you had on hand? For me, pots and saucers are like hot dogs and buns - getting the numbers to match up evenly never quite works!

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    1. I'm sure you are right about the bees. They are so good at finding those holes in furniture too. I am noticing quite a decline in bees this year. My other bee house is quite empty and in past years it has filled up in no time. Well spotted on the pot saucers. I rooted around and found a few more. I will have to go and buy the rest. I think I need them to protect the wood after the occasional watering.

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  5. Both projects look awesome!

    The bees may like their new custom-made holes...but they'll probably keep filling the umbrella too! :D

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    1. I love doing projects and it is nice to be able to tick off a couple on my list. As to the bees, I'm sure they will Aaron.

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