Monday, July 13, 2009

Cactus Monday - My Cactus Story

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Every Monday, I am fascinated to see Diane's photographs of various cacti in her Sabino Canyon blog. I had been wanting to join since I really adore these plants that teach us survival amidst the extremes. However, I was always distracted by other things. For my first Cactus Monday post, I won't go anywhere, but just stay here right at home.
I was not really a cactus lover before, especially that in the Philippines, I was a proud collector of orchids. I saw cactus as dangerous and thorny creatures then. However, when I moved here in San Diego and visited for the first time The Desert Garden in Balboa Park, I had a complete turn around about cacti. Suddenly, I saw their interesting and magical forms, some of them twisted and spooky, yet so uniquely and hauntingly beautiful. Seeing their flowers made me realized they may be the most uniquely beautiful flowers I have ever seen. When I left the park, I was so inspired that all my thoughts were to make a little desert garden at home as well.
To accomplish my project ( that was 3.5 years ago), I bought a lot of different kind of cactus. However, the medium sized ones were expensive costing from $45 to $67 a pot. I was thinking if I will buy several of them, it will cost me several hundreds already. What I did, I bought the tiny ones which cost from $3 - $8, depending on their size and variety I guess. I pulled the ground cover in our little side yard, and started digging the soil, mulched it, and planted my little cacti. I cover the soil with rocks which we also manually picked from the ocean's shore. I thought of buying rocks at Home Depot, but the cost was $10+ a bag, I would need probably more than 20 bags, so I decided to save further by just simply enjoying picking rocks at the beach each time we boogie board :) . Me and my husband were like little kids with little pails and picking up rocks. The more beautiful rocks I saved for indoor pot arrangement. Here is an example of the result of our labor of love.
Little Desert Garden ( 3.5 years ago)
I left some of the blooming African daisies so that this little garden would look a little bit alive. I combined cacti with other succulents and drought resistant plants so that I do not have to worry about watering plants often. 
A few months later, this was how my little desert garden looked like.
Little Desert Garden A Few Months Later
Now, 3.5 years later, the little cacti in my little desert garden has grown :)
Little Desert Garden 3.5 years Later
Notice how the aenium multiplied so quick, I had to cut them often and replant at the back and in pots.
Little Desert Garden 3.5 years Later
Oh, and there is one which is almost as tall as I am now :) But this one I did not buy little, in fact, this may be the most expensive one I bought at about $20. But its size then was not even 1/5 of what it is now. If you notice it in the above picture ( a few months later), it was just a little bit taller than the flower of African Daisy. 
Little Desert Garden 3.5 years Later
In fact, I have several potted cactus now which all came from those little and medium sized ones I bought before.
One of My Potted Cacti
I love cactus, they are easy to grow and very low maintenance. Well, they may have thorns, but I have learned how to lovingly handle them and not get hurt. Now, knowing how much these cactus sell at the nurseries, and how much I have made them multiply, I can say, I am cactus rich :) One of the joys of simple life is to see what you planted grow beautifully and multiply. 
Happy Cactus Monday everyone. For more of Cactus Monday posts, please visit Teri's Painted Daisies.
♥♥
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29 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful love story! The before and after is just amazing and so beautiful. The cactus with the sky shot is gorgeous.

    Welcome to Cactus Monday! What took you so long? lol Just gorgeous gardens and so happy you joined us.

    Happy Cactus Monday!!!!

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  2. that's a beautiful garden creation betchai!! love how you designed and those rocks, better than the home depot rocks. something hand picked is better. i might consider cactus but nothing too thorny...we plan to have kids around so it won't be too safefor the kids. haha imagine them falling and tumbling around the garden with cacti? ouch!

    happy monday!

    love that last shot!!

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  3. What a delightful cactus garden you have! I have not always been a cactus lover either, but they have grown on me (not literally :0). Wonderful that you have built up quite a collection of cacti without having to spend much money. Your last image is spectacular!

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  4. Your garden design is beautiful, betchai! The orange flower is so wonderful with the cactus background..I wish to have a visit! Your rock collection will be a hit with my son!

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  5. Oh my goodness!

    That's a nice cactus garden u have there. Keep up the good work. I have never like gardening actually, but u gave me the motivation to start doing. Gee...

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  6. Wow! Truly beautiful and it leaves a significant impression to me. I have never seen a cactus garden cared and grown so neatly and creatively.
    You are so passionate about gardening.
    Keep it up. The reward is double the joy!

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  7. OMG! What a transformation! I LOVE your cactus garden! I am so jealous of the size and the way these things grow out in southern California (my dream state)...my cactus all stay small in south Florida! I am just blown away by what you created here! You would love the blog of fellow blogger, Aiyana, and YOU CAN SEE HER BEAUTIFUL GARDENS HERE. I will tell her about you as well.
    Glad you are participating in Cactus Monday!
    Julie

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  8. i remember seeing this wonderful garden in your FS album Beth, and i remember myself saying i'd love to touch the aenium leaves and savor the clicking sound they'll make and you said if i lived close to you you'd give me lots of them...now i really wish i were hour neighbor, i'd visit your garden everyday!

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  9. Hello Betchai! Now you're giving me some ideas about what to do with the small cactus collection we have here at home. Your cactus garden is so creatively landscaped. You really have the artist's touch, not only in capturing beautiful photos, but also with creating a beautiful garden on a budget.

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  10. Wow Betchai, you really have patience to wait for 3.5 years! So amazing that we can see how the cactus grows within that period of time. Beautiful.

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  11. Created with love, simply beautiful,last picture stunning. The sky in the last picture, aha, aha moment!

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  12. It should be fun to do all these gardening works. I have been told that cactus absorbs radiation and good to be placed besides a TV or..

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  13. I love what you did with the rocks and all the cacti!! The orange flowers are beautiful and I really enjoy how creative you are!

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  14. Great collection of cacti..! I have never seen some the types!

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  15. gusto ko yung little rock garden ninyo ni khai, beth...labor of love nga...

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  16. Betchai, I absolutely love your little cactus garden. I've always found cactus to be exotic and unique.

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  17. Your desert garden is beautiful. My grandma used to keep several cactus plants when I was a kid. I remember her explaining that not all of them will poke us, but some of them have little thorns that are hard to remove.

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  18. I have three mini pots of cacti in my home. One died. I still have two minipots. They are easy to care for...no need for much water at all. I keep them by the kitchen window so that they have abit of sunlight each day.

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  19. You have the loveliest cactus garden I have ever seen.

    I have always thought of cactus as ugly but your garden defiantly make me re-think. They look brilliant together and the flowering ones add a nice touch of colour.

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  20. amazing Beth! what a lovely cactus garden you have there, just have some cactus in the pots and can't even put them outside because it's too cold for them, well done Kimchai ;) thanks again my dearest freind for all the support ;) you're the best! mwah!

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  21. Before I actually learned some gardening rules, a cactus was the only thing I could make live. Not sure it was me, or just their nature LOL.

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  22. That is incredible! I've never been a huge fan of catci, but you've made me think differently. Also I love the rocks they definitely add a lot more beauty to your garden

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  23. Your cactus garden is gorgeous! Cactus are good for people like me who have a black thumb.

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  24. I am catching up on Cactus Monday- I loved your post!! the pictures then and now and the story about getting the rocks and all made it just wonderful! I too have many little cactus that I've bought within the last year and I can't wait to see what they are like in the future!

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  25. The Cactus DoctorJuly 21, 2009 at 7:47 PM

    Collecting cacti can become very addictive. The more I learn about the many cacti varieties,the more I feel the need to purchase every cactus in sight. I justify spending alot of money on cacti by the fact that I save alot from not smoking or drinking.

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  26. does anyone know if one could kill a cactus by having it out in too much rainfall? i bought a potted 4ft. cactus recently and they man told us to keep it outside. we leave it in in our patio with the most sunlight---but lately--for about 2 weeks straight it has been raining. we took the cactus inside and put it out when the rain stopped, but then it just keeps raining. i know you're not supposed to water it until the soil is completely dry, but now i'm worried it's overflowed with water. it is looking a little pale.

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  27. does anyone know if one could kill a cactus by having it out in too much rainfall? i bought a potted 4ft. cactus recently and the man told us to keep it outside. we leave it in in our patio with the most sunlight---but lately--for about 2 weeks straight it has been raining. we took the cactus inside and put it out when the rain stopped, but then it just keeps raining. i know you're not supposed to water it until the soil is completely dry, but now i'm worried it's overflowed with water. it is looking a little pale.

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  28. Oh my, Beth! Very clever documentation of your yard! I love how they thrived and became very healthy and lush! The arrangement is beautiful -you and Khai are green-thumbs! The flowering african violets blew me away! I hope I will be blessed to see your yard once again! I feel happy having learned how your yard start. Again, thank you, Beth, for letting me transport some to our yard. I am fast becoming a succulent addict! May our friendship grow, bloom and flourish like our succulents! :)

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THANK YOU SO MUCH!!