The Cactus Patch
Volume 12       December 2009      Number 12

An Empty Month Fills Up
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

I thought it would be a quiet month, but it soon became overactive. First, on the 23rd of October we went to CSUB for a talk on ancient Egypt. It was a bit boring as was the exhibit next door. I suppose I am unfairly comparing it to the massive exhibits in the Met in New York and the Field Museum in Chicago.

Next day we went to River Walk for a Johnny Cash and Patty Page recreation. Both quite good. This was followed on the 25th by another community concert, this time with the Russian Seasons Dance Company. Although they purported to demonstrate various countries’ styles, they all came out stiffly Russian. The one exception was a modern dance with a couple on skies. I have never seen a backflip on skies before!

On the 26th I found my 15 foot Stenocereus marginatus had toppled. Upon examination I found half the roots had been cut in installing the new fence. Perhaps at Christmas there will be enough strong people to pull it upright.

On November 1st we saw Banshee in the Kitchen: three women singing and playing Celtic music. It was great, but even with a constant changing of instruments (hammered dulcimer, fiddle, 12 & 6 string guitar, large Irish mandolin, flute, penny whistle, hand drum and squeeze box) it was a bit repetitious.

On the 5th we went to the members’ sale at the Fresno CSS. There were a lot more plants this year, but very few related items (except for pots). One interesting display was a rack with hanging plants. Could we have one at our show and sale? Do we have enough members with plants to sell for a similar event in Bakersfield?

On the 7th I went with the BCSS to the San Gabriel show. Fortunately I got a ride with Linda Hylpon as Polly and Anne stayed for a quilting class. The show was only half the size of the tri-city show, but the specimens were of great quality. I bought a couple of books, including Gordon Rowley’s on Anacampseros, Avonia and Grahamia. Usually he is a lumper (for instance insisting that Kleinia is just a part of Senecio), but this time he splits what many consider one genus into three.

I was surprised to learn that Avonia rhodesica, a plant I knew in Botswana, also grows in Somalia! Quite a distribution gap. I was surprised to see that even though Rowley cites my paper on the use of this plant (it is reportedly hallucinogenic), he omits Botswana in the distribution list.

In the afternoon our car drove up to the Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge for a Chrysanthemum show. It reminded me of when my father was president of the Dahlia Society in Bakersfield. Just around the corner at the Japanese Tea Room there was an exciting display of Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging). It was a worthwhile visit, but I was sorry to see that the wreath of live succulents was no longer hanging by the cafeteria.

On the 10th, of course, there was a BCSS meeting with Nick speaking on Baja Norte. Although I had heard the talk in Fresno, it was good to see it again, especially those natural “bonsai” elephant trees.

On the 16th there was another community concert, this time the Dallas Brass. They were excellent, but I find brass in general a bit…well, brassy. They did a Benny Goodwin number and managed to make the piccolo cornet sound almost like a clarinet, but I still prefer the real thing.

Fallen Cactus

Fresno Sale

Chuck Everson selling books at the San Gabriel Show & Sale

Japanese Tea Garden - Linda Hylpon, Kathy Noyes & Pat Tennant

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