The Cactus Patch
November 2017

Protests and Shows
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves


We have had some peculiar weather lately.  The extreme heat brought down most of the pecans before they were ripe!  Then a wind storm tore large branches off some of our trees. I was lucky in that the largest came down in the hour interval between changing watering.

I thought with our civil rights protests ending in the civil rights act and our anti-war protests ending in withdrawal from Vietnam we had lived to see the end of protests.  But recently they are back more than ever!  On the 19th of September we went to see a Sikh film about the reaction to an attack in Ohio.  Fortunately most Sikhs are peaceful and the reaction was one of uniting the neighborhood.  On the 21st we heard an ethics talk on “Fake News”.  It was depressing as we were presented with no solution by an expert in the field! 

Then we saw the movie “Dolores” with Dolores Huerta present.  It was interesting to see the past lead right into the present.

On the 22nd we went to the fair and were pleased to find the Boy Scouts have learned how to market a little better.  I was able to get a “yummy yam” with a side of chili verde. (Last year they didn’t know how to price this when I asked for it.)  The plant exhibits were OK, but not outstanding.  I was surprised to see a ZZ plant with only a third place ribbon!  It was good-sized and in full bloom! (I had never seen one bloom before, although I knew it was in the same family as callas, and, of course, has a similar flower structure.)

Polly’s birthday was the 29th and she had a free lunch at Denny’s.  On the 1st of October the family gathered for a bigger celebration at Hooters.  It was sad to note that the former Cactus Valley across the road is now defunct.  It was still rude of them not to let us know they couldn’t honor our reservation for the previous month.

On the 5th we had dinner at Polly’s sister Martha’s in Fresno and celebrated once again.  Afterward we went to the member’s sale at the Fresno CSS.  I bought a Ceropegia stapeliformis for a mere $4.

Of course we were at the talk by Eunice Thompson on the islands of Baja. Once again we were reminded that some succulents of the islands on the Pacific side relate more to the Channel Islands than the mainland!

On the 13th we helped with the setup for the show and sale and were there for the opening on the 14th.  It was fascinating to watch the crowd pour in right on time and continue throughout the morning.  After the closing on Sunday we heard the Bakersfield Little Big Band play great jazz at the First Congregational Church.

I am happy to say that the 2017 issue of Bradleya (year book of the British CSS) is out early and contains two articles of which I am third author after Joachim Thiede of Germany and Theo Campbell-Barker of England. The first is on Sansevieria sinus-simiorum, Crassula swaziensis and Crassula setulosa which are recorded as new to the plants known for Mount Mulanje in Malawi. (We had visited Mulanje at Christmas of 1965 and I photographed an unidentified Sansevieria.  It turns out this is the first record for there!) The second article is on Crassula zombensis which is named for Zomba Plateau in Malawi.  The University of Malawi, where I once taught, is in the town of Zomba at the base of the plateau and I collected the crassula.

PREVIOUS LETTER               Bruce's Letters               NEXT LETTER