The Cactus Patch
Volume 5       March 2002      Number 3

A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

I hope this gets through. The e-mail has been down for over two weeks. Just before leaving for Calif. I moved from the old historic building into a "temporary" one. The electricity has still not been hooked up, so the new office is unbearably hot. Meanwhile the bids on the renovation of the old building are still out even though we'd originally been told work would start at the end of last year!

When I returned from Bakersfield both the Nov. and Dec. Cactus Patches were on my desk. The Nov. one was water-soaked, as was a Christmas poem from my mother. Another Christmas letter arrived at the same time as a book from the same friends, the Paweks, even though the book was mailed 11th Sept.!

The book, incidentally, is a real gem - Africa's Mountains of the Moon by Guy Yeoman, 1989, University Books, N.Y. It is the story of an expedition with botanic illustrator Christobel King and alternates between beautiful paintings and gorgeous photos. There is a section comparing giant senecios and lobelias to desert succulents (freezing nights leave plants deprived of useable water). I have never been to these giants of east Africa, but they have smaller relatives in the Misuku Hills of northern Malawi which I found fascinating enough. The last chapter, a diatribe on conservation, was a bit jarring.

The weather is still beastly hot here, though we have had a few showers of cooling rain. I visited the "empty" lot south of us and found that while we were in Bakersfield the bushes had been uprooted. I managed to rescue a 14 inch diameter Adenium digitata tuber among others. This is the biggest I've seen. One I also rescued from the development at the old airport was only 8 inches.

On an up-note - I finally got the Tridentea marientalensis from Bokspits to bloom. It kept aborting buds, but this time I stopped watering when I saw the bud and it made it all the way to a flower.

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