Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cactus Garden

We do manage to keep busy!

Along with committee meetings, pumping propane and visiting with friends, we also are continuing our cactus and succulent garden. At the end of our tour of the Desert Botanical Garden (see our earlier post about "Class and Glass), we purchased a small Giant Saguaro and a smaller Golden Barrel Cactus.

Then last week, the Ace Hardware store had an assortment of small cacti and succulents for sale and we bought seven of them, priced from $1.29 to $2.99 each.

We asked advice on planting from the local cactus expert, Russ Minor. The next day, Russ and his wife showed up and gave us an agave they had cultivated. Another couple we met at a recent park potluck offered us some extra agave that were growing in their yard! All of these donated plants were pretty small, and with luck they'll stay that way for a while. Once they get big, they tend to dominate the gardeners' lives.

With all that, we had to have a planting day.

From Cactus Planting Day March 2009

So here I am on my knees planting cactus, and Suzy is handling the administrative details such as positioning ("A little more to the right! Now, straighten it just a bit.") and documenting the activity with pictures. She also splashed just a little water in each new hole before planting and again just after.
From Cactus Planting Day March 2009

From Cactus Planting Day March 2009

From Cactus Planting Day March 2009
In this picture, I'm doing what Suzy calls "Dancing with Cactus." Really, I'm just trying to smooth the surrounding gravel over the planting areas to help retard evaporation.

From Cactus Planting Day March 2009
This is the Giant Saguaro. You can tell it's not quite a giant yet. The next one is the Golden Barrel, with its very sharp spines.
From Cactus Planting Day March 2009

If you'd like to see more pictures of cactus planting, just click on the caption beneath any of these shots. You'll be taken right to our Web Album. To get back here, click the Back arrow of your browser.

Next day it was weed spraying time. The park offers pre-emergence treatment, but that doesn't take care of everything. So I got out the sprayer and began dousing a bunch of small weeds that have crept in.

When we became full-time RVers I gave up gardening. This wasn't supposed to happen! We still consider ourselves full-timers, even though we spend a few months in this park in the winter, and will base our travels from here later in the year. Since this is an RV park, even year-round residents are not allowed to live in their casitas. We must actually live in our RVs, whether a tiny trailer, a full-size motorhome, or a park trailer that appears permanent.

Since we do make this a home base, we are investing time and dollars into the casita and now in the cactus garden, trying to make them just right for our needs. At least the cactus won't need watering, annual pruning, fertilizing and spraying!

Cactus will not brings thorns to ... Our Life on Wheels!


  1. Looks like the new place is keeping you busy. Nice looking cactus garden.

  2. You will be SURPRISED to see how FAST they grow!!

    Lookin good!!!


  3. Looks good you two!!! Jason and Crystal say hello and send hugs, as do me and "The Boss"!

  4. Your Saguaro is a treasure! Phil watched a "Dirty Jobs" episode the other night where they dug one up, transported and replanted it. They charged $100 per foot of the main body plus the length of the arms. The total price for this particular one on the show was $2,400! The cost of the permit from the Dept. of Agriculture wasn't mentioned but if someone gets caught digging one up without it, the fine is $10,000 plus six months in jail!
    So, pamper your little treasure and BTW, your cactus garden looks great!

    Enjoy your sunshine, we're still looking for some!
    Joy and Phil

  5. Thanks for the pictures. I wonder how long it will be before things will fill in and you will have to move out.

    I remember once having a wedding in Phoenix. I wanted to see some Sequaros up close so I walked about a mile or two from the rectory to a somewhat distant and wild looking hill. As it turned out, I saw better examples of Sequaros as I walked the neighborhood streets than I saw on the wild mountain.

    I don't have many cacti, but I do have quite a few succulents, many of the sedum variety, little and big. However I am told that there is at least one variety of cactus that grows well in North Dakota, should it should grow well here. Their thorns, of course, are the sticking point(s) for me. (teehee)

    Our Spring Break is coming to an end. Had hoped to get some gardening done, but the weather was not at all helpful. Last night it got down to about zero as it did the night before. The pansies that had been blooming, smooshed down and play dead quite convincingly. However the temperature got up to about 25 degrees, the sun was shining and the pansies were blooming by the end of the afternoon. There is hope.

    Thanks for the pictures and keep up the good work.


  6. I hope your saguaro is still doing well and was past the 'nurse' plant stage when you transplanted it.

    "Young saguaros cannot survive either intense desert sunlight or trampling, so typically survivors begin growth under a "nurse" plant (palo verde, acacia, mesquite, creosote bush), growing about 1/2" in the first year and to 1' in about 15 years. (That its early vertical growth is slow is related to priority investment in expansion of the root system.) As the plant grows larger, its white-gray spines begin to provide protective shade for the trunk."


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