Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Monday, February 01, 2010

Moving On To the Desert Dome

Living in Ontario, Canada I don't have a lot of experience with cacti other than the few I grow on my windowsill. My little cacti seedlings are coming along nicely and while they are about double in size they sure take a long time to grow! I can fully appreciate how long it takes for a cactus to get to any appreciable size. Mine are now 3 years old and aren't even big enough to transplant. I'll have to remember to post an update :)

Most think of the desert as a hot, dry area and it it but it is surprising how very cold the desert can get! We've been in the Mojave Desert several times. While the temperatures can be stifling hot as high as 134ºF in Death Valley during the day the low can be as low as 8ºF at night. The Desert Dome of the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) was really on the cold side not much warmer if any than outdoors when we went through. Coats were a must!

aloe veraAloe Vera

I took a lot of pictures in the desert dome. Despite the cold it was quite enjoyable. Understated yet rustic accents like a cattle sculls were scattered randomly throughout the dome. Once again the dome was set up with plants bordering the perimeter of the dome with a well planted central region containing a small pond and a meandering path with benches to sit and enjoy.

I immediately recognized the aloe vera plant in the lower left corner. Aloe vera is a must have plant in any home. It is low maintenance with healing benefits especially for kitchen cuts and burns. I love the natural looking landscape showing this wonderful plant in its natural environment.

golden barrel cactusGolden Barrel Cactus

The Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) is a Mexican native that is a protected species even though it is a popular cultivated species especially for houseplants but also in landscaping in suitable areas. This cactus lives to to be several hundred years old. The spines provide shade yet help catch rainfall directing it to the base of the plant. The accordion like folds expand and contract depending on the amount of rainfall the plant absorbs. One myth is the barrel cactus is a reservoir for fresh water but this is wrong even though moisture can be squeezed from the pulp.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


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