The Cactus Patch
December 2017

Plants and Singing
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves


On the 21st of October we went to the Native Plant Sale at Cal State.  I bought a Pipe vine which is a small version of the Dutchman’s pipe with its’ name derived from the curved flower.  When I went to pay for it I found they had a copy of Maynard’s book, Kern County Flora, so I bought that too.  Thus I have finally read it and I find a lot has changed since I studied the subject (some fifty odd years ago).  Not only have new plants been found, but a lot of the names have changed.  Agaves, which I had learned as members of the Amaryllis family, are listed in their own family Agavaceae.  (But elsewhere I find them in the Asparagus family –it’s the ongoing battle between lumpers and splitters.)

After the plant sale we went to Sabina’s for her wildly wacky garden of everything from mermaids to Halloween displays.  We ended with a light lunch of hot dogs and chili.  It’s a pity the notice for the event never reached the editor so that it wasn’t in the newsletter, but there were plenty of people there anyway.

On the 26th we had a party at our exercise group to celebrate 25 years of Silver Sneakers as well as the birthday of Yolanda Avalos, our group leader.  It was a potluck lunch and there was too much food.  We’ll never be able to exercise enough to make up for it. [Hard to believe Bruce and I have been members for over nine years. Polly]

On the 2nd of November we went to Fresno and heard Peter Beirsdofer speak on succulents “Around the World”. He started in Germany and ended in North Carolina.  It was a great talk with good animation.  I hope he will speak in Bakersfield.  Coming back on Friday we stopped at a Subway shop and had a two for one sandwich as they were celebrating National Sandwich Day.

On the 12th we went to the Stockdale Country Club and our Goldenairs choir sang for our friend Audrey’s 80th birthday.  They also had a family blue-grass band. We then proceeded to the Millcreek Church to join a larger choir to sing in Memory of Bob Clatterbuck.  He composed and arranged many songs of which we sang a long selection.  After that we went with the family to Rose-Mary’s.  It was a long day.

On the 14th we heard Maynard’s talk on what makes a plant a succulent.  It is complicated and there is no one answer, but he did a good job of clarifying some points. In spite of everything, however, we will never get most people to say “Cacti and other succulents” as they should.

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