The Cactus Patch
May 2019

A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

Oh, Oh, Oh,
Totos floreo!
~Karl Orf, Carmina Burana

On the 21 of March we headed over the Grapevine to LA.† The Grapevine was not yet in flower. As usual the traffic in LA was horrific, but it thinned out as we headed east to Upland.† There Polly met with a seller of a knitting machine which she had arranged on line.† Heading further east we turned in at a Museum sign in Redlands just for a break and found we were at the San Bernardino County Museum where I had once given a talk.† I had spoken at night and only glimpsed the garden in the gloom.† This time we could see the succulent collection in bright light.† It is quite impressive.

We did not see wildflowers until we got to the wind turbines and solar panels west of Palm Springs.† The brittle bush and other daisies made a sharp contrast to the power sources.† We then proceed north to Joshua Tree ,viewed the blooming sand verbena and stayed with Pollyís sister Ginny† who was recovering from a second knee replacement (on the same knee- the first became infected).† She is doing well this time.

Next day we went out to Joshua Tree National Park where the Joshua trees were starting to bloom.† Unfortunately there was nothing else in bloom near that entrance (except a few Mojave yuccas.) †.† As we proceeded around to the 29 Palms entrance, however, there were lots of wild flowers- more daisies, Phacelias, bladder pods, lupines etc. †The Park was in good condition (restrooms clean, lots of trees still standing) despite the problems during the government shutdown.† It was, once again, very crowded.

On Saturday Pollyís brother in law took us on a tour of the town of Joshua Tree.† One new feature is huge metal sculptures on roadsides.† We went to the place where they are being made and were amazed at the number in stock waiting for placement.† I think artists must be a little crazy. Next day we drove up to Barstow and back home.† Near Boron there were, again, fields of daisies and other wild flowers.† The final look at wild flowers was just past the turn off to Caliente.† Unfortunately we were early; we have seen pictures more recently that show this is a real bumper year.

On the 30th we went out to Cal State for a march celebrating the 150th birthday of Gandhi. It was largely an Indian affair as might be expected, but a few of us represented other movements influenced by his powerful beliefs.† I wore my South African hat in honor of his beginning as a lawyer there.

In Fresno on the 4th of April we heard Rob Skillin speak on the eastern side of South Africa. Terry was there as well.† The talk was a long series of species with their scientific names.† I found it interesting since I knew most of them, but I wonder if he didnít lose a few people. One interesting thing I learned is that Scilla natalensis is now called Merwilla plumbea.† I could understand the new genus, but was puzzled by the new species name.† I have found out that in reorganizing Scillas, three species, Scilla kraissii, S. natalensis, and S. plumbea have been lumped together! Iíll never keep up with all the name changes.

On the 9th, of course, we heard Rob McGregor speak on the Mojave National Reserve.† I enjoyed the talk and I'm sure it had a good appeal to a general audience, but a few names added to the pictures would have helped.† On the 11th we went out to Cal State, this time to hear Angela Davis.† We only got a glimpse of her before we were herded off to a side room to watch her talk on a screen.† They should have known that the crowd would be too large for the Dore. And then on the 12th we saw the last Flix film of the season.† It is a sad-funny story called Chinese Take-Away.† The story revolves around a young Chinese man who arrives in Argentina knowing no Spanish and having only an address where his uncle used to live!zx

Garden flowers are starting to bloom along with the wild ones.† Aloe ĎEric the Redí bloomed in March and was finished by the middle of April. It had one strange double flower.† Agave desmettiana had put up a flower stalk before the Aloe but the flowers didnít open until a bit after it.† Another plant which bloomed in April is Hesperaloe parviflora which I had raised from seed.† This is the first year it has bloomed and the flowers are a beautiful red.

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