Tell me true - what about you?

(Zone 4b)

I'm already sick of hearing myself tell people why I love cacti so much. I want to know why YOU all love cacti!

Cactus growers are not like other kinds of growers. Na-uh. We're a breed apart. Not everyone can love cacti. It takes a strange and wonderful kind of person.

So tell me true, why do you love cacti? I'm sure there's a story there somewhere....

And how do we define ourselves if not by our stories?

Kamloops, BC(Zone 4b)

Dear Shelly,

Are you sure we're just a breed apart? I thought it was closer to a genus apart, but that could be the Blonde Factor kicking in.

Having never been really interested in plants before, I was given a piece of a plant, called for many months by me 'The Martian Plant'. I finally got around to getting it identified (Ruschia crassa), and thought that this plant thing might be one to get interested in; the party scene had gotten old, I had gotten older, and needed to have something in my life that would bring joy, therapy, beauty, mystery, and much else into my life.

One plant led to another, now it's hundreds, both in pots and in the ground (preferred). It's more that C&S chose me, rather than the other way around. They thrive here in San Diego, so it's a natural to grow them.

Actually, I am constantly amazed by you folks that grow such magnificent plants in climates decidedly inhospitable to these plants of ours. Folks say that I grow plants well - it's more that I give them the minimum of care, and they do it on their own. You are the real growers out there.

What have these plants brought me? Certainly the aforementioned qualities, but also friends that I treasure - that's the real catch for me!

(Zone 4b)

Well, Jeff, it's not men moving to Mexico, but it's a heartwarming story:) I especially like the description of cacti as "mysterious". I've always felt that way, too. They're these paradoxes in spiky bodies: all nasty n' cranky n' prickly, but then, every once in a very long while, they give you (like a little present) a bEAUtiful flower. Precious.

speaking of paradoxes,
fishy-girl craving the desert

Kamloops, BC(Zone 4b)

Dear Shelly,

Men moving to Mexico? Women in Oaxaca? You lost me there.

Glad your heart was warmed. BTW, you've an invitation if you are ever in these parts, but please don't visit in the summer - the desert is just too darned hot, even for desert vermin such as myself. Thanks, but I don't need to bake, 'cause I'm a succulent of-fair-skin-ancestry dirty white boy.

Valley Village, CA

I love succulents, arn't cactus a part of succulents?
They are all succulents, I just don't love the ones with thorns, they don't like me. I guess I can't win them all.

I confess. Jeff the McHarris spilled the beans... I grow cacti, cause I live here and they grow WELL. They performed at a time when I really needed to see the successes in my life, and I have been overly fixated since.

I have had periods where I totally ignored my garden or outsidesphere as things were occuping my time enough already. IE when my son was born, all my house plants died of neglect. Those that lived, have Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts (oddly enough, these seem to be succulents or outright cacti).

When DH was in Somalia and Saudi Arabia, off and seemsforever for about three years... I developed all sorts of 'bad' habits... At least DH isn't jealous of plants!


I love succulents too -, particularly Aloes and Crassulas and two little Sansevierias which I got in a trade and a tall, silky one which came from Switzerland - and like Crassulady, I am not into Cacti, because of the spines to be honest; I think it's the variations in the leaves of the crassulas I like, and of their cousins the Sempervivums and the Sedums and the Echeverias - they capture so many colours in their leaves - like the Aloes, they're so much there - it's incredible to me that such little creatures grew! There is something else about succulents - you can almost see them growing! Maybe this is just a fancy of mine! They make a new space around themselves and grow into it visibly - slowly but visibly.

(Zone 4b)

Yeah, succulents (of the non-cactus variety) are pretty groooooovy things, too. They're all lush and, well, to borrow a descriptive term from one of my favourite authors, vivid. Love 'em ALL!

Thousand Oaks, CA

The attraction of the cactus/succulent is an attraction to something 'different'. There is so much variety to succulents.. .they are more like art or sculpture than just another growing plant. Cactus, though less bizarre, still are unusual. I don't know if I'm a spine lover- I have been stabbed and poked so many thousands of times by all my spikey plants that I am surprised I don't dislike them... But the shapes, and colors are so varied. There is always something great to look at.

But even more importantly, I like the garden to look good (not just to myself, but others- a good thing to show off). And the cactus/succulents look great 365 days a year. I grow palms, ferns and all sorts of other tropicals here in So Cal, which isn't really tropical... and as a result, they don't all look good all year round.... especially the palms (this time of year they look perfect, but in the early spring they're yellowy and some are wind-torn). And this time of year, when it gets baking hot, the tree ferns can wilt a bit. But the succulents and cacti look great, rain or shine, hot or cold. And they require so little effort to get them that way.

North Wales, PA(Zone 6a)

I lived in Arizona for four years in graduate school and am comforted by the agaves and cacti because of that. Reminds me of "old times." Sounds strange to be comforted by spiny things, huh? But if you have ever seen the mountains in Tucson or Sedona in the summer you will know what I am talking about--gorgeous! On the practical side, I love C&S because they are showy and TOUGH plants. No humidity-loving wusses for me :).

(Zone 4b)

Sansman! You did your grad work in ARIZONA? How wonderful! I'm actually considering going down to ASU to do some of my grad work - not because the program is really in my field, but because it's in Arizona. Funny - you went there and fell in love with cacti. I want to go there because I love cacti. Where and what did you study?

Another magical tidbit about cacti: I remember reading *somewhere* (can't remember where - I think it was either _The English Patient_ or some Tom Robbins novel) that if you're ever dying of thirst out in the desert, there's some cactus out of which you can cut the heart and drink the liquid that fills the hole. Every evening, you cut out the heart of the cactus, and by morning, it's filled with liquid. Don't ask me which desert, or which cactus, but isn't that a beautiful story? The cactus literally sustains you with its heart - with LOVE. Isn't that wonderful?

Cacti SEEM mean, but once you get to know them... they'll still spike you silly, nasty loveable things.

whoddathunk a fish could fall in love with a cactus? - now THERE'S a song just waiting to be written.


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