The Cactus Patch
Volume 14       July 2011      Number 07

Field Trips
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

After Isaac left (16th May) we sang five times with the Goldenaires, ending on the 27th at Bethany Lutheran in Oildale followed by the usual refreshments. On the 30th we saw “Water for Elephants”, an excellent circus story which we had just read. The movie follows the book as well as the medium allows.

On the 31st we headed off to Joshua Tree at the start of another mini-adventure. There were great desert wild flowers at Johnson Valley. The next morning we went to three thrift stores in town (the fourth wasn’t open). Then we drove to Riverside to stay with Buck Hemenway. We were impressed by his house and garden which is called “Prickly Palace”. That evening I spoke at the Gates CSS which meets at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands. It has an excellent succulent garden out front managed by the club. They had a large selection of members’ plants. Fortunately Buck judged them so I got off lightly. My talk on “The Karoo in Botswana” came after a break with snacks.

On the 2nd we drove back to Bakersfield for lunch and then on to Fresno for a meeting on Baja (all of it), by Charles Spott. We definitely have to go back to see the southern half. On the 3rd we helped set up for the FCSS show and sale and visited the result on the 4th before heading back to Bakersfield. They managed to expand a little by moving the raffle out into the mall courtyard, but they are still cramped for space.

We had a quiet week and then went to the BCSS potluck at the club garden. Next day our exercise group had a lunch to honor Fathers. What good is exercise with all this eating?

And now back to the CSSA convention:

All field trips were held on the same day this year which made it hard to choose. One choice (which we took on the 26th of April) was to skip some talks and do our own tripping. We followed the advice of Gunnar Eisel, manager for the convention, and drove up to Ramona, a small town, and then east to Julian. The road from there led down into Anza Borego State Park. The hedgehogs, barrels , beavertails and ocotillos were all blooming. At Borego Springs we had an excellent (and inexpensive) lunch at Los Jilbertos. From there we went to the nearby visitors’ center with its underground museum. Luckily they had some Elephant Trees (Bursera microphylla) as we were told the ones marked elsewhere on the map had died.

We then drove over Yaqui Pass back to the entrance where I asked for a stop to see some “purple sticks” in the road cut. These turned out to be flowers stalks of Dudleya saxosa! Back up at Julian in oak-pine woodland we saw a different Dudleya which had dinner-plate sized leaf rosettes. We then drove south to I-8 and back to San Diego.

On the 27th we went on “official” field trips. Polly and Anne visited various gardens. Anne is busy back in South Dakota for a couple of months so Polly will write about this (with pictures by Anne.)

I chose a Dudleya tour led by Kelly Griffin. Our first stop was under the Coast Highway at Oceanside to see Dudleya viscida which has sticky leaves. At this site the leaves were floppy. We also saw Mammillaria dioica as well as many foreign invaders (Jade plants, Cotyledon sp. etc.) which apparently came down from the houses above the steep slope.

Next we visited the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park where natural ecosystems are being restored. There were rocks covered with Dudleya stolonifera and other species. We then went east to the second bridge on San Juan Creek to see Dudleya viscida with upright leaves growing alongside Dudleya pulvenulata which has white rosettes of wide leaves.

From there we went back to the Tree of Life Nursery which grows native plants including dudleyas. We ate the lunches provided and bought plants. We then went back south to Rancho Soledad Nursery which has a lot of Kelly’s succulents. Finally we visited the Torrey Pines State Reserve to see D. edulis, D. pulvinulata, D. lanceolata and some barrels.

I’ll finish off the convention events next month.

Bruce with Elephant Tree

Dudleya viscida @ Coast Highway, Oceanside

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