One of my other hobbies is Cacti and Succulents. As mentioned previously, I have had them as an interest for the last 45 years (since I was 14).
I’m not an expert by any means and although I collect them I do not regard myself as ‘true collector’, like a lot of the people that are in the Cactus & Succulent Society of Australia, which I joined during the last Covid lockdown in 2021.
I enjoy their uniqueness and beauty.
Yesterday, one of my Ball Cacti, of the Echinopsis variety, flowered for the first time ever and I thought that was worth of a post.
The stem of the flower has been growing for a number of weeks and leading up to the point of flowering, there is always great anticipation, particularly when you don’t know what colour the flower will be. I walked out the side door yesterday and upon walking past our cattery that holds our single Cat, Miri, the flower came into full view.
I never tire of this type of flower’s exquisite beauty! It begins to open nocturnally and we are blessed with its beauty in the morning. The flower only blooms for 24-48 hours, then its gone. A fleeting beauty.
I’ve commented a couple of times on this Blog about my love for Cacti and Succulents. It was an interest that started when I was 14 years of age when my Aunt Beryl gave me a Succulent on one of the family visits to our place. It was (as I later found out) from the Euphorbia family.
Over the years my liking for Cacti and Succulents increased to the point where I had a small, shallow pot with about 5-6 small Cacti plants in it. I used to dream of the day when I would have a big garden. That came when I got married and moved onto an acre and a quarter of land. I built a 35square metre garden. All up, I had 120 plants in it and in pots around the yard.
Sadly, we don’t live there any more, we moved after 16 years there and are currently on a residential block. What happened to the plants? I brought them all with me didn’t I! They are currently all in pots of various sizes which is not quite the same but it will have to do until we make our next move.
This week, I was accepted as a member into the Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia which is the oldest Cacti Society in Australia. My first meeting (this week) was on Zoom. They usually meet face-to-face in another State (Victoria) but even then have a ‘Zoom-room’ for people that are too far away. There are lots of benefits for being a member of the Society, including a 32 page quarterly magazine which I’m quite looking forward to receiving. They have a Facebook group, library etc so I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge of this wondrous species of flora that captured my imagination at the age of 14, some 44 years ago.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Society, I’ve included some links below to their website and Facebook page and also some other links if you feel you are in any way curious about this species of plant.
In a blog article I did back in September 2018, I explained where my love of Cacti and Succulents came from…a gift from one of my Aunts at the age of 14. I fell in love with their uniqueness and beauty and started off with just a few plants in a low, Terracotta pot whilst living at my parents home to a 35 square metre garden when my wife and I lived at our first location.
We live in a different location now on a much smaller block so currently, all my Cacti and Succulents are in pots. When we move in the future, I’m sure I will have a garden for them as well as keeping some in pots.
With some recent additions early in the year, I now have 133 plants of all different shapes and sizes. Some of the species include: Cereus, Lobivia, Echinopsis, Cleistocactus, Astrophytum, Parodia, Mammillaria, Echinocereus, Corypantha, Cotyledon, Crassula, Agave and more.
Three things that I am looking forward to are:
Growing Cacti from seed.
Sketching/Painting my Cacti and Succulents.
Growing my collection.
This love affair with these unique and beautiful plants has now been running for 44 years and will continue long into the future!
Years ago, I remember being in my Art room one day and upon looking out the window, in overcast lighting, I began to notice the different shades of green on our property. I noticed that the longer my eyes stayed fixed on the scene, the more ’shades of Green’ I noticed.
To the glancing eye there would have been about 3-4 shades. To the discerning eye there were 11. The shades of Green that you will see obviously depend on the type of light i.e. early morning light, late afternoon light, middle of the day, sunny conditions and overcast and indeed in the rain. They will all render the same Green in a different light.
Even as I look out my window today, at some smaller Gum trees, some leaves are in shade, some are half-backlit and others are totally backlit, giving a stunning array of shades of Green.
How often do we stop and realise just how many shades of the colour Green there are? Not often, I would expect.
As firstly a Photographer, my awareness of light interacting with the world increased and now that I am Painting, my awareness has evolved even more, I believe.
The colour Green means ‘renewal and growth’ and it is one of the most restful colours that we can lay our eyes on and it can also mean ‘balance and harmony.’*
I find it one of the most interesting colours to look at, particularly when I am out on my walks. It is often a colour that provides a great background to (particularly) the brighter flowers of the colour spectrum. The contrast it supplies ensures those flowers stand out even more!
On its own though, for me, is where its real power is. So many more subtle shades. So relaxing to look at.
The next time you go on a walk, take the time to slow down and ’study the Green’ that is before your eyes. It will open up a whole new world to you, as it has done for me.
Yesterday, my wife Susan and I ventured down to the Annual Bowral Tulip Time Festival which has been running since 1960.
The centrepiece of the Festival is Corbett Gardens, where they plant up to 100,000 Tulips and 15,000 Annuals each year. Across the Shire, they plant another 40,000 Tulips.
Apart from the Floral attractions, there are Brass Bands, Choirs and an array of garden-related sculptures and other forms of Art as well as market/food stalls.
If there is one sticking point, judging by the reviews on various sites, it is the $12.00 entry fee as it is a relatively small area.
When compared to the Floriade Festival in the Nation’s Capital, Canberra which is many, many times larger in area, the $12.00 fee becomes questionable as entry into the Floriade Festival is free. Some activities inside Floriade do cost, but that is up to the individual.
The Bowral Tulip Time Festival has more of a ‘village-feel’ to it. I think $5.00 would be plenty if they had to charge at all. It seems to have become a real money-making exercise.
I have been to the Festival many times before and thinking back, I remember a time back in the 1980s when there was no entry fee and I arrived there just after Sunrise. The gardeners allowed me in (prior to the opening) so I could take some photographs and I spent 1 1/2 hours doing just that. Bliss! It wouldn’t happen these days, though.
Still, it was great to go and visit after several years absence. I made the choice to leave my DSLR at home and just shoot with a camera phone. I was glad I did this as there were just so many people there. The colours (as always) were so vibrant and the background sound of the Brass Band and then the Choir created such a wonderful atmosphere on a glistening Spring day!
Poetry and Prose by #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow, Co-Author of #1 Amazon Bestseller, Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women, and Jan/Feb 2022 Spillwords Press Author of the Month