The Cactus Patch
May 2015

A Surfeit of Succulents
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

Our month-long odyssey began on the 28th of March with a trip to Arroyo Grande. Our first stop there was the five city orchid show. Fantastic flowers (plus some of the orchids were succulent and one of the sellers had plants more usually thought of as succulent) and they had a food corner where we had breakfast. Next we drove out to the Skillins for their plant sale. Just as we pulled to the top of the steep drive, warning lights came on in the car. We figured (rightly, it turned out) that it was overheating. We left the car to cool off and went to see the plants. We first went in the growing greenhouse where Rob was preparing an Adenia spinosa for friends of ours from Fresno. I told Rob of a plant in Botswana which was hanging upside down on a cliff and he replied he would like to see them in the wild. We admired all of the various Adenias, more than I have ever seen before, and then went over to the house where the sale was held. I was busy looking at some more Adenias (small ones) offered for sale and missed a step in the walkway. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt in the fall, but all the attention was embarrassing.

The car was still flashing warnings so we drove up to San Luis Obispo where the Toyota dealer is conveniently next to the freeway. They had the heat control unit we needed and three hours (and $500) later we were back on the road. There were restaurants conveniently located next to the Toyota dealer so we had a leisurely lunch at Acapulco Tacos while waiting. We then drove up to Morro Bay and visited the Elfin Forest there. Actually, there are no elves, but the oaks and other “trees” there are quite short due to the soil. We managed to find Dudleyas, although not quite where the guide leaflet said they were. We also saw loads of birds including a quail which stood on top of an elfin oak and sang his lungs out. Our next stop was at the Paso Robles Inn where we had a delicious supper in the upstairs bar. We managed to return to Bakersfield by 10.

We skipped the Fresno meeting and had Easter dinner with family at our niece Tina’s in E.B. On the 11th of April I left Polly home and went with Anne on the long trip to collect plants for the Garden Fest. I had been to Cayama and Ojai, but never on the connecting road. It is a beautiful drive and there were wild flowers at the higher altitude, but I still wonder why they built such a road. I had not been to the Oak View Nursery since they moved it. The expansion was impressive. The nursery in Ventura was disappointing. Just north of Camarillo we visited a strange “co-op”. It is actually land rented by four succulentophiles who needed space for their various collections. The nursery at Piru was much the same as on a previous visit and of course there was a stop at the Castaic Foster Freeze.

On Monday the 13th I went to Taft to renew my driver’s license (this was the closest DMV which had an appointment date before May) and found there is a small succulent nursery just across 2nd St. Don’t rush out. It was even more disappointing than the Ventura one, but if you happen to be in Taft it’s worth a visit.

On the 14th , of course, we heard the Hemenways speak on South Africa. We had heard they were moving, but were glad to learn more details. Incidentally, he complained about the bad view of a whale at Hermanus, but when Polly and I went there with Anne, we saw nothing of any whale. In fact, in years of visiting likely spots, we have never seen a whale outside of captivity.

And back to the Cruise:

The 19th of November was another boring day at sea. We had brunch at 9 and at ten we were shown how to fold towels into animal shapes. This was followed by a puppet show in which the towel animals came to life. This was actually the best entertainment of the whole cruise!

After lunch I had a dip in the pool just to say I had swum on a ship, but it was a cold and blustery day. Polly thought it was wrong to rain at sea!

At 3 we went to a question and answer session with the crew. They told a few funny stories like the woman who complained she had paid for a view and all she could see was a parking lot! She was told to wait until after the safety drill, and, sure enough, by then the ship was on its way and she had her view!

After dinner we went to a 60’s musical but it was intolerably loud –so loud we couldn’t hear the music! After that we watched the news and learned that Florida was having a cold spell with a high of 61.

Next month I will finish the cruise and return to Bakersfield.

Polly at the Five City Orchid Show

Desert Images

Towel Folding

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