April 6th, 2008
Mr. Peeps Does Spring Fling

golden barrel cactus
Mr. Peeps enjoying the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

I returned from my recent visit to Las Vegas with a newfound love for cactus and succulents. I couldn’t resist bringing home a golden barrel cactus but the only one I could find that would fit into my carry-on luggage was this novelty plant from the discount plant table at Lowe’s. Although I originally intended to remove the plastic eyes that had been glued on to create “My Peeps, Cactus Buddies”, many people wanted to see a photo of it. So I decided to make Mr. Peeps (as I’ve named him) my Spring Fling mascot.

Mr. Peeps loved the first stop on our Spring Fling tour: the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. There he found all sorts of cactus and succulent cousins to hang out with. It also gave him a glimmer of hope that he might be able to survive in Austin’s humidity.

golden barrel cactus

However, when the Garden Bloggers visited the private gardens of James David and Gary Peese I was forced to leave Mr. Peeps in the car. I told him that the tropical climate of the garden wouldn’t suit him but the truth is that these gardens are just too upmarket for a lowly plant from the Lowe’s discount table.
James David Garden

During the cocktail hour given by Pam/Digging, Mr. Peeps may have had a few too many Mexican martinis. The next thing I knew he was cavorting in Pam’s stock tank pond swooning to the mariachi band.
golden barrel cactus

I know some of you other Garden Bloggers made friends with Mr. Peeps. If you decide to post any photos of him during Spring Fling, leave me a comment and a link.

by M Sinclair Stevens

28 Responses to post “Mr. Peeps Does Spring Fling”

  1. From Nancy:

    Now, how did I miss Mr. Peeps???

    It was fun, wasn’t it?

    It was! And I missed a lot of things, too. I only got to chat with about half the people who came and have longer conversations with the handful of people who rode along in my car. So much to see, do, and talk about. — mss

  2. From Carol, May Dreams Gardens:

    I love Mr. Peeps. He was the life of the party of Pam’s, as I recall. Where does he get the energy? He seemed to quickly get over “pouting” about being left in the car when we were “uptown”.

    He considers himself quite the traveller now and is lording it over the other plants whom he considerd “stick-in-the-muds”. — mss

  3. From Pam/Digging (Austin):

    He seemed a prickly fellow at first, but once you get to know him you find he’s really a sharp guy. I’m glad he got to participate in the Fling too.

    Some people have said the same thing about me. Maybe that’s why he and I get along so well together. — mss

  4. From vertie:

    But where was Mr Peeps at dinner? Sleeping off the martinis? I hope he can make an appearance at more upcoming events.

    Mr. Peeps is always looking for the next party. His doctor, however, advises that he gets potted up and put down some roots. — mss

  5. From Frances:

    My new best friend, Mr. Peeps, has been captured in pixels and will be featured soon. Your garden was so amazing and the syle was a perfect match for your personal wild and lovely self. Thanks for the tour and all your hard work to make this weekend the best.

    I’m so glad you got to stop by. I’m sorry I didn’t get more of a chance to talk with you throughout the day. Thanks for making the effort to come such a long way to meet people you didn’t know. Your effort, (eveyone who travelled to Austin), is what made this event great. — mss

  6. From Karen, Savannah:

    I quite agree the David garden would have been too upmarket for Mr. Peeps. What a gorgeous (and terrifying) garden that was. I enjoyed yours and Pam’s much more. It was great meeting you, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated you and the other Austinites driving us around. It made the day so much more enjoyable than it would have been. The weeds at home are over my head because it rained while I was in Austin. And the loathsome country commissioners have cut down two huge live oaks we were hoping to save, so I’m depressed.

    I enjoyed your perspective on the David garden (as well as our other conversations). It is certainly not a design that will be easy to tend or enjoy as the gardener ages. I thought it a striking design but I did not think it was a comfortable place. I wish we hadn’t all been so tired by the time we arrived here. I realize I didn’t get a chance to identify any of my plants or describe what I was trying to do. I think we all just needed to sit down and rest. Very sad about the oaks. I’ve put in the link so others can read about your fight. — mss

  7. From Diana - Austin:

    Mr. Peeps was such a cute and creative idea – I am so glad he could join us! And the photos with him are so fun. This whole weekend exceeded my wildest expectations.

    That’s what I kept saying. The Spring Fling exceeded my wildest expectations. Wow! — mss

  8. From bill/prairie point:

    I am glad that Mr Peeps was able to join us for at least part of the tour. Too bad he missed the lunch and the group photo. I think he would have appreciated the talk. I enjoyed meeting him and look forward to hearing of his further adventures.

    I’m glad you were in my carpool and that we finally got to meet after all these years of being blogging buddies. I forgot to show you Jill Nokes’s book, Yard Art and Handmade Places, even though it was sitting right there on the coffee table. Maybe the next time you and Tricia are down Austin way, we can get together again. — mss

  9. From dee/reddirtramblings (Oklahoma):

    I saw Mr. Peeps Does Spring Fling, and I’m still laughing. I didn’t have to even read the post. The photos of him are too funny. Thanks so much for driving me around the city. Even though I had a car, and I don’t think I could have found some of our stops, let alone a parking spot once we got there.

    I’m glad you stopped by my garden and that I got to talk to you in the car. We had such fun didn’t we? I feel rather letdown and sad now that everyone is gone. But I’m having fun reading all about it. It’s interesting to see it through so many different eyes via their blog posts. — mss

  10. From Gail, Clay and Limestone:

    I so wanted to have the opportunity to see your garden but time and my energy ran out. There was a tiny window between David James’ garden and Pam’s but I opted to visit with the dear husband back at the hotel. Note to self: next fling no dragging him along! But my hope is that I will get to visit with you (and said garden) through our blogs. Thank you for hosting this wonderful weekend. I know you all went to a great deal of effort (it was a great success). Mr Peeps could be the official Austin garden mascot.

    All of us who dragged ourselves to my house before Pam’s party were completely exhausted too. I didn’t even have the energy to show people around. We just sat in my unfinished garden house trying to gather our energy for the next two events. You’ll just have to make another trip to Austin. — mss

  11. From Esther Montgomery Southern England:

    Mr Peeps is the only interesting cactus I have ever seen in my life.

    The some day, you must visit the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. There are far more interesting cacti there, although none of them has Mr. Peep’s personality. — mss

  12. From Kim:

    Mr. Peeps rocks! (And no, I never thought I would say that about a cactus with googly eyes stuck onto him!) 🙂

    Looks like you all had a wonderful time. I’ve been enjoying all of the pictures others have posted showing your garden, MSS. It’s definitely a beautiful, wild wonderland.

    Thanks! I was so glad people came to visit even though it was not on the official itinerary. Now that we’ve gotten to know Mr. Peeps, I’ll never be able to take those eyes off. He’s stuck being a cute novelty plant forever. — mss

  13. From Mr. McGregor's Daughter (Chicagoland):

    What can I say, I felt there was a deep personal bond that developed between me & Mr. Peeps. Thanks again for driving me all over. I had so much fun. I can almost get my feet into my shoes again. I wish I could have stayed longer & seen it all. I guess that means I’ll have to go back to Austin someday to see what I missed.

    Mr. Peeps has been pining for you (or whatever the cacti equivalent). Absolutely. Please come back and visit us again–especially in February or March when you are tired of all that snow. — mss

  14. From deb:

    How funny

  15. From Brianna, Austin:

    I have a great shot of Peeps with Frank, our tour guide at the Wildflower Center. I wasn’t planning to post it myself, but I’d be happy to send it to you if you’d like it.

    I really enjoyed meeting you and seeing your garden on Saturday.

    I enjoyed meeting you too, Brianna. Any time you’re down in my hood, feel free to stop by. I’m going to be collecting a lot of wildflower seeds soon, so if you want any, let me know. — mss

  16. From Annie in Austin:

    What a hoot! The combination of Spring Fling and Mr Peeps seems to have brought out the whimsical side of the scientific MSS… maybe that’s another facet of the transformative experience?

    Shhhhh. Next you’ll be telling people that I have a sense of humor. — mss

  17. From Lori, Austin TX:

    I’m so sad that I didn’t get to make the acquaintance of Mr. Peeps. He seemed like such a friendly, cuddly little guy!

    Lori, you can come by any time you’re in my hood and meet him. I’ll be collecting wildflower seeds over the next few months. Let me know if you want anything. — mss

  18. From kate:

    After reading your post and now the comments, I’m thinking Mr. Peeps was one of the highlights of the Spring Fling. I hope we’ll get to see more pictures of him. Judging from his popularity, perhaps he might just have to travel à la the roamin’ gnome!

    He seems to have caught the travel bug, but for health reasons his doctor has advised him to stick to one place and put down roots. — mss

  19. From Lisa at Greenbow:

    Mr Peeps is a hoot. Despite his rugged exterior he is obviously a softie inside and quite social.

    You’ve got him pegged. — mss

  20. From Robin at Bumblebee:

    I met Mr. Peeps! I met Mr. Peeps! Now I feel like I’ve met a celebrity. I wish Mr. Peeps could come to Washington D.C.!

    I so very much enjoyed meeting you and chatting while we checked out all the cool garden stuff. Too bad Austin is so very far away.

    Your fellow Spitfire lover,
    Robin at Bumblebee

    I’m amazed that we both has Spitfires. That was such an off-the-wall thing to discover about each other. That an our shared interest in wine cork mulch. — mss

  21. From Aiyana:

    I do hope you have removed the eyes from Mr. Peeps. I am amazed that those novelties sell so well-even here in cactus country. Another thing that’s done by some distributors is glueing fake flowers on cactus. Many peoople unfamiliar with cacti really believe they are real.

    I was going to remove the plastic googly eyes as soon as I brought him home from Las Vegas. Now that everyone’s anthropomorphized him, I can’t bear to do it. — mss

  22. From jodi Nova Scotia:

    Oh my! I don’t know which is funnier, your essay or the comments. Winners all around! Carol’s rubbing off on you, isn’t she? (She is normally our resident hilarious blogger, of course).

    Perhaps it’s just a matter of getting to know me. — mss

  23. From Layanee:

    I was thinking what a p…. Mr. Peeps was when I read about how sharp he is from Pam. I am still laughing as there are so many different ways to look at things! I had a Flat Kelly come visit once but she was much less trouble than Mr. Peeps would be. He looks like he can bite!

    Rather like dating Edward Scissorhands, I think. Mr. Peeps wants to be loved but one must exercise caution. — mss

  24. From Jinni Turkelson, Grand Rapids, MI:

    I’m not even a gardener but I want to come to the next Spring Fling. Especially if I can meet Mr. Peeps! What a hoot!

    As much as we like our fans, Spring Fling was just for gardeners and only gardeners who blog. So you’ll have to get out you hoe and computer and get to work. — mss

  25. From Danny in Austin, Texas:

    I just love your images. What kind of equipment (and software) do you use? I really like the perspective and layout of subjects… are you following any rules or guidelines for plant photography, or are you just a natural! 🙂

    Happy gardening…


    I use a Nikon Coolpix 4300 which is several years old and not very hi-res by today’s standards. I’m going to get a new camera this year. I like photography but I don’t know anything about it. The great thing about the digital camera is that I can take a lot of shots and choose only the best ones. I use Photoshop Elements to crop my photos and sometimes balance the colors or lighting a bit. If you want to see plant photographs from someone with a fantastic eye for composition go visit Rachel @ In Bloom

  26. From Linda MacPhee-Cobb:

    I totally missed Mr. Peeps. ( too busy getting my own garden shots in I guess? ) He’s cool.

    It was nice to meet you at spring fling.

  27. From Dana Frank:

    I have really enjoyed your blog! I have sent a link to the Austin Monthly Home editor, because the whole Spring Fling thing was so awesome, and your photos and text are so compelling… Maybe I can write up something about you! Hope you are doing great. I just got back from our big Arbonne event in Atlanta–now we have SeaSource Detox Spa products! Fantastic. Love, Dana.

    Maybe when you have time, you can take your lunch break at my house. Better hurry, though, the meadow fades quickly. — mss

  28. From Ms. Vickie:

    Mr peeps should meet Mr Googly Cactus .
    Mr Googly Cactus is currently whooping it up over in the garden area of Facebook land. They would become the best of facebook friends.