The Cactus Patch
Volume 14       May 2011      Number 05

From Long Beach to the Hotel Rwanda
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

On the 24th of March we went to a noon organ recital at St Paulís. (There were other instruments, but the organ predominated.) Lunch was provided for a nominal fee and the wonderful acoustics made it a very pleasant event. We went to two more on the 31st and April 14th. Hopefully there will be another Lenten series next year.

On the 27th of March Anne, Polly & I went to the Long Beach C&SS meeting. We were worried by the weather the week before, but there was only a bit of mist on the Grapevine. At Gorman the hills were yellow with goldfields. Elsewhere there were lupines and poppies. It looks like a good year for wildflowers.

We arrived at the Dominguez Adobe in good time for the afternoon meeting where I spoke on 40 years of Tourism in Botswana. As in the past, I was asked to judge plants which members had brought in. I hate decisions, but did my best. After the meeting we toured the small but well stocked succulent garden there. It is good to see that it is being kept up.

On the way home we stopped for dinner at the Claim Jumper in Stevenson Ranch. The shrimp-stuffed jalapenos are to die for.

On the 3rd of March the family gathered at Mimiís for the usual Sunday lunch, but our numbers swelled to 16! Robertís son Leo and daughter Tina came with their families. It was like an early Easter.

On the 7th we went to Fresno where Duke Benadon spoke on his recent trip to Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Polly and I were intrigued to see that things havenít changed much since we visited there in 1967. Although Iím sure the lions are a new generation, they still had the same mangy look.

We were back in Bakersfield in time to take Mother to the Garden Fest at BC. We arrived late, but she still managed to find a plant to buy.

On the 12th, of course, we heard Rob Skillin on the Pedio- and Sclerocacti of the Colorado Plateau. Again, we were intrigued to see another view on an area we knew. I will admit we were not looking for cacti (although we saw a few). On one trip, for instance, we went to Canyon de Chelly and saw the Mummy Cave Ruins which were portrayed in miniature in the Field Museum in Chicago by Pollyís father.

On the 16th Polly & I went to the wildflower display in the atrium of the Beale Library. This was sponsored by the California Native Plant Society. They had collected an amazing number of plants in bloom and displayed them in jars with water. Quite an effort! We were given a copy of the sixth edition of the Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of California (2001). It is very weighty Ėabout four times the size of the 4th edition (1988) which is twice the size of the 2nd (1980). (I donít have the 1st, 3rd or 5th.) We were told that this is the last time it will be printed out.

There are several succulent listings:
9 for Opuntia and 8 for other cacti
30 for Dudleya and 10 for Sedum (both Crassulaceae)
11 for Lewisia, 5 for Calendrina, 4 for Claytonia and 2 other Portulacaceae

That evening we had a family dinner at the Agave Grill. My agave was fermented rather than grilled and mixed with prickly pear fruit juice. (I was celebrating my birthday which is the 18th.) Two singer-guitarists serenaded us in Spanish.

Afterward, Polly and I saw ďTalk RadioĒ, an interesting play, at Bakersfield Community Theater. It was well done, although some actors needed to project more. It provided interesting commentary on a medium which has become horribly politicized.

Finally, on the 19th we went to CSUB and heard Paul Rusabagina, the hotel manager who saved many people during the Rwandan genocides. It is heartwarming to know that good can come out of even the most horrendous events.

Bruce Judging

Anne with Aloe plicatilis

Alice at the Garden Fest


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