Cactus on a grand scale

While many cactus can be kept small and contained happily in pots for years, there are just as many that have the potential to reach grand proportions if given ideal conditions. With dry, hot and very sunny summers as well as frosty winters, Jim has found that cactus grow best for him when they are planted in the garden where their roots can grow unrestricted. This cactus garden is large by anyone's standards and gives Jim the freedom to grow plants big.

A great assortment of succulent types are grown in the garden. From these pictures, it is clear that cactus, which are Jim's favourites, have performed very well in this garden situation. Once established in the sandy soil of an ancient riverbed, large growing varieties can gain up to 400 mm or more in height in a single summer.

i Cereus peruviamis, here growing large enough to cast shade onto the pathway and seats beneath the arching branches.

* There is always something to see and enjoy. If not the plants themselves, then the flowers and the birds and butterflies which they attract. More bird species nest in these cactus than in all the trees on neighbouring properties.

* There is always something to see and enjoy. If not the plants themselves, then the flowers and the birds and butterflies which they attract. More bird species nest in these cactus than in all the trees on neighbouring properties.

» To see a forest of mostly South American like this outside of their native habitat is quite surprising. In the foreground and midground different trichocereus.The white hairy plants oreocereus and cspostoas.

Three young Agave americana plants in front of a flowering Ferocactus acanthoides. Behind is a larger Ferocaclus horridus and slightly to the right is a Carnegia gigantea. Framing this picture are two Yucca aloifolia.

» To see a forest of mostly South American like this outside of their native habitat is quite surprising. In the foreground and midground different trichocereus.The white hairy plants oreocereus and cspostoas.

Three young Agave americana plants in front of a flowering Ferocactus acanthoides. Behind is a larger Ferocaclus horridus and slightly to the right is a Carnegia gigantea. Framing this picture are two Yucca aloifolia.

►► Oreoccreus ccldanus. The "old man of the Andes' is more dwarf and shrub-like than many of its taller relatives. Its stems can reach 150 mm in diameter.

4 Part of the Mexican section of the garden. In the front is Myrtillocactus geoinetrizans and directly behind and growing above it is Polaskia chichipe which is looking particularly robust and vigorous.

5 Echinocactus grusonii, the golden barrel, is found in the Mexican section of the garden. Every cactus garden should have at least one of these much prized plants.

Cactus flowers

Cactus have had a reputation which suggests that they do not flower very often or that you have to wait seven years for them to flower again. In Jim's garden they out perform most other garden plants and of the thousands of cactus that are grown here, most flower annually. Mid to late spring is the best lime for flowering, but any month of ihe year can find flowers either coming or going. Most of these pictures were taken on a single visit in summer. On still nights the sweet perfume from some varieties can travel many kilometers.

V Trichocereus species « Notocactus uebelmannianus iS Noiocactus herteri 9 Trichocereus schickendantzii

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