And now, a Cacti Update

So much has happened to the cacti garden, I thought I better fill you in. Otherwise, I would be pretending that I have a beautiful cactus garden in my backyard. As you may recall, I documented the beginnings of the garden in my Let the Cacti Live post.

Oooh, I can barely stand to show you the pictures. It isn’t pretty. I’m afraid I have no good news to report. In fact,  I think I’ve committed the EPIC FAIL.

I had good intentions and I did make a valiant effort. External factors such as weather, and the fact that our whole backyard got demolished on account of a deck that was falling apart and needed replacement due to safety reasons, weighed heavily on the success of the garden.

What I have learned is that having a cactus garden is not as easy as I would have liked to think. For starters, I planted a succulent in the bright sunshine. What she really needed and wanted was soft, filtered light. If I had only known. I’m speaking of “Red Mouth.” See her photo below. A few days after I planted the garden, we had an unprecedented heat wave and she was scorched. Her green stem turned white, and after I referenced google, realized, indeed, she probably was not going to make it.

Oh, Red Mouth looked happy in the sun.

So far, only one lost. But then, as I mentioned, our backyard was demolished and “Cactus McCoy” and “Lucky Nucky,” were all destroyed. Oh, did I mention we replaced “Big Mouth,” with a new cactus, who didn’t even get named. See below, if you can bear to look, our garden destroyed.

Oooh. Trampled on by muddy boots.
She was saved and is still intact. She never was named.
Remnants of the Cacti City.

The good news and a silver lining:

“Split Rock” the living pet rock is faring quite well. She was put in a pot and, hence, was untouched in the uprooting of the garden. The orange stick bug dude has fled. We don’t know where he went.

My kids begged for replacement cacti and the following plants will now start our new garden, when the time is right. For now, they will be remain safe in a pot. Our additions include the “String of Pearls” and another cactus/succulent that is thriving quite nicely. I noticed that we have not named the new cacti. The String of Pearls, which more closely resembles peas than anything else, is my son S.’s plant. My older son H. has the tall and skinny cactus/succulent.

f.g. String of Pearls, Split Rock; b.g. The Tall and Skinny Succulent/Cactus

H. has taken to relocating his cactus many times during any given day. He takes her outside for filtered light under the umbrella and often wakes up with her by his bedside. He likes to talk to her, and his dad mentioned plants enjoy this. I’ve heard him say, “How are you doing? Do you like this light? Do you need more water?”

When asked what else he says to her, he said, “It’s none of your business, especially if you’re going to put it into your stupid blog.” Ouch.

But, the silver lining, he wants to take to care of this plant. Not I only do I think this is wise, but a step in the right direction. I just hope this cactus doesn’t come between us.

Let the Cacti Live

My kids wanted to plant cacti the other day. We went to the nursery to select them together. They each got a separate cactus, and then share one together. Actually my oldest son got two of his own, somehow successfully swindling an extra one. He’s clever, that one.

His cacti are both of the more tall and slender variety, and covered in spikes, and are an absolute joy to plant. He calls one “Lucky Nucky” since it is in a group of three, which he considers generally to be a lucky number. His second group of two cactuses he calls “Cactus McCoy,” an actual video game character who is a man in the form of a cactus seeking revenge on the person(s) who turned him into a plant. Who knew? These cacti, according to my oldest son, may grow to at least thirty feet tall some day.

My younger son’s cactus is aptly called a “Split Rock,” a succulent that looks like an alien egg with a big split down the center of it. Did you know “virtually all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti (Wikipedia).” Interesting fact, indeed. I don’t know if the split rock is a cacti, but I have a feeling it isn’t. I bet this baby’s a succulent all the way. My son describes it as his “very own living pet rock, squishy, but not like jello.” He’s still working on a nickname. It definitely takes the prize for most bizarre.

A close second, the cactus they share, is a red exotic that appears to have a spiky, sea urchin hat. I call it the “Urchin de terre.” They call it, “Red Mouth,” which I like better.

I’m not sure if my kids chose the cacti because they really wanted them or because they are plants that may actually have a chance at living under my care. My son says to me, “Mom, did you know a cactus only needs 12 inches of water a year?”  I guess I have my answer. He also says they’re cool and better than stupid flowers. Point taken.

It’s true that many flowers have died on my watch. I don’t think it’s just me. I attribute some of it to bad soil and a faulty sprinkler system. Because, seriously, I want them all to live. I added new soil for the freshly planted cacti. I’m thoughtfully optimistic.

Later today when I was watering the plants, a huge grasshopper flew in my hair and did a little dance. When I screamed a girlie-girl scream in a decibel level that could shatter glass, my spontaneous watering spree had ended, and probably upset all my neighbors.

My son noted that should there be a zombie apocalypse, all we need to do is cut open the cactus for fresh water. Not that we want to kill it, mind you. Well, if that’s not incentive, I don’t know what is. They better survive now.

I wish that I could have a green thumb, because truly I think it’s a cool thing to brag about. Long live the cacti! Wish me luck.

Our Lovely Cacti Garden

“Lucky Nucky” in a circle of three. The third cactus is off to the left in the back. Notice the spikes! Ouch! If you’re wondering, the animal bone is a souvenir from a walk. Nice touch, huh?
In the forefront is none other than “Cactus McCoy.”
The exotic beauty, “Red Mouth.”
The alien rock succulent from another planet, “Split Rock.” A living pet rock is possible. The bright orange Stick Bug nicely complements the rich brown undertones of the rock, but all the Stick Bug can say is, “Hey, who did this? Who is responsible?”
Stupid flowers, still living.