Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cactus Arrangements

A cacti/agave arrangement of the whiskey barrel project.

Back in October, I wrote about "Cactiscapes" and my blogger friend, Brenda's Arizona, suggested that cacti arrangements can look like something from underwater while you are scuba diving.  Her idea inspired me to try a combination of cacti and agave from around the property that needed transplanting.  I looked again at the pictures from the cacti garden at Tucson Botanical Gardens and saw the arrangements in a whole new light!  They really do look like coral and other objects from the bottom of the sea. Thank you Brenda for making me look at things differently. Lately,  I've been seeing several homes around town that have successfully made beautiful cactus gardens.  When we drive to the front entrance now, we'll see some amazing structure variations as everything starts to grow larger over the next several years.  These are all cuttings from my own mini cacti garden.  I've included purple and dark green with striped variation on the agave to add color contrast and structure against the bland stucco walls.  Inside the barrel, there are two varieties of opuntia(prickly pear). One is more upright and green while the other has a rounder habit and is purple.  As you are approaching the complex, you should get the feel that you are entering a seascape of cactus.  It will punch up the curb appeal and invite homeowners to their inside courtyard.  Repetition with some minor variation is important here. The taller San Pedro cactus is the repeated element while the prickly pear, agave, and purple aloe vera are mixed in differently in each pot for some contrast.  They will all interlock with one another as they get larger.  The best part about this project is that  you don't waste any cactus.  Stay tuned for more from the whiskey barrel project. 

Speaking of coral, I wanted to share with you a song that inspires me creatively and transports me into a realm of fantasy and mystery. An unknown world from a forgotten place and time......


  1. Interesting! I recall an old song when I was a kid, that sang, "the ocean is a desert with it's life underground..." Our succulents do look like aquarium plants.

  2. Can you give me any tips on potting media for cacti? I have peat moss and sand that I normally mix together, but haven't had good results. What mixture do you use?

  3. A bit of sand is okay, but I think the peat moss isn't a good idea as it retains moisture and will rot the cacti. Here, I mix our clay soil in with palm and succulent potting soil. Regular gardening soil can cause rot as well. Cacti love neglect and don't need all the nutrient rich soil to thrive. Make sure your pots drain and are not overwatered.....too much moisture and not enough sun can be factors in a cacti's demise. Hopefully that helps.


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