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

April 6th, 2008
Mr. Peeps Does Spring Fling

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.

golden barrel cactus

March 6th, 2008
Golden Barrel Cactus

My brother, MJN, introduced me to the gorgeously planted Springs Preserve in Las Vegas and there I fell in love with golden barrel cactus, Echinocactus grusonii. Although it is an endangered species in its native Mexico habitat, it is one of the most popular landscape cacti in the American Southwest. Apparently this cactus can reach a size four feet tall and three feet tall. However, in the many display gardens of the Springs Preserve, it was used as the desert equivalent of a small globe shaped boxwood.

golden barrel cactus
In another display bed, colorful recycled glass chips were used as a mulch. The resulting jewel like beds glittered in the desert sun, but like many rock/gravel/shell mulches, the glass chips ended up being strewn in the paths. Recycled glass is definitely not a mulch to use if you have lots of trees and leaf litter.

golden barrel cactus
Golden barrel cactus also filled planters lining the parking area at the entrance to the Springs Preserve. My mother fell in love with them, too, and so I bought her one for $20 at Lowe’s. Then I saw a little golden barrel cactus in a paper cup on the clearance table for $2. I had to have it even though everyone wondered how I’d get it home. (I put it in my carryon luggage. No problem.) The silly thing about my $2 cactus is that someone glued plastic eyes on it and the cup said, “My Peeps, Cactus Buddies”. Ugh! I’ll figure out how to cut off those cutesy plastic eyes and restore some dignity to my beautiful golden barrel cactus.