The Cactus Patch
June 2019

May Showers!
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

April showers
Bring May flowers?

Will climate change mean new rhymes? This is the wettest May I can remember in Bakersfield.  The weeds are flourishing! But the plants I want are also thriving.  My cluster of Manfreda maculata has put up two flower stalks. This is the first time I have seen a Manfreda in bloom.  The yellowish flowers have long filaments with brown anthers.  Quite striking.  I don’t think they should be lumped in with Tuberose  as some authorities feel.

A very exciting book arrived in the mail.  It is Life in Three Worlds: Reminiscences by Sumitra Talukdar with David Ambrose.  Sumitra was my colleague at the National University of Lesotho.  She taught plant physiology.  Her three worlds are: India where she was born and raised, Britain where she was educated and Southern Africa where she taught, married David Ambrose and raised her son Jonty.  She and David are retired and now living across the border in South Africa.  Polly gets one mention in the book (as driver on a trip to Namibia) and I get three and a picture for my botanic work.  The book is packed with information and it will take me a lifetime to read.  But I look forward to the challenge.

On 15th April we were at Sparks to visit the grandkids.  On the 17th we visited the Sierra Zoo Safari, Nevada’s biggest zoo.  It was disappointingly small, but it was fun feeding the deer.

On the 18th we celebrated my birthday with a dinner at the Zagol Ethiopean Restaurant.  On Saturday we had a BBQ and egg hunt with other families from the apartment complex.  We ended with a pineapple piñata.  Next day we drove out to a horsey suburb and had another egg hunt- this time with giant plastic eggs.  We ended with a white rabbit piñata.  On the 22nd we returned to Bakersfield.

27 April was a busy day.  We began with the Garden Fest at BC.  The weather was good and it was crowded.  We could have used more plants for our booth. 

From the fest we went to the Humanities Building where a plaque was dedicated to “Doc Boyd”.  He was head of History for many years.  My parents and he went to UC Berkeley. His daughter Barbara was in my class at BHS.  He wrote a number of local histories. 

That evening John took us to the Bakersfield Speedway.  I had seen the demolition derby at Famoso years ago, but this was a first for me.  I was impressed by the strange cars that are specially made for racing.  I was also surprised by the small ones for small people.  One racer was five!

On the 2nd of May we heard Robert Scott at Fresno with a talk on Aloes.  He had good pictures and titles, but there were just too many. (And he didn’t show half of them.)  One thing I did learn was that Swaziland has a new name.  It is now eSwatini- which means Land of the Swazi! Why it didn’t change at independence like Bechuanaland and Basutoland I don’t know.  We stayed over and Polly went to a baby shower for her niece Maggie on Saturday.

On the 12th we went to Anne’s for a Mothers’ Day dinner and on the 14th we were at the potluck at the CSUB garden.  The space is getting full.  We obviously need to expand, but where to?

E Clampus Vitus, Peter Le Beck Chapter

Family of William Harland Boyd

Garden Fest @ B. C

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