Saturday, August 31, 2013

Reclaiming my winter-hardy cactus bed - day 2

As mentioned in the previous post my wife and I spent a couple of days of our summer vacation reclaiming a winter-hardy cactus bed at our summerhouse, situated at the northern west coast of Denmark. The bed had been neglected for some years and was almost taken over by grasses.

Winter-hardy cactus bed - half of which is still overgrown by grasses
Winter-hardy cactus bed - half of which is still overgrown by grasses

At the beginning of the second day we were still missing half of the bed. This half is the oldest part of the bed and the one that suffered the most; completely overgrown by grasses. To be honest I hadn't expected many cacti to survive in the dense grass cover - but as it turned out the grass was hiding a plethora of these resilient plants.

Recovering winter-hardy Opuntia cacti from the dense grass cover
Recovering winter-hardy Opuntia cacti from the dense grass cover

Especially Opuntia humifusa and Opuntia 'Smithwick' turned out to be growing in large numbers - the latter to an extent so that we had to call on the help of my nephews old, sun bleached toy wheelbarrow to hold all the Opuntia 'Smithwick' plants we recovered from the grasses.

Reclaimed winter-hardy cactus bed
Reclaimed winter-hardy cactus bed

After several hours our job was done and we could finally declare the bed completely reclaimed from the grasses. We both felt quite exhausted - not only because of the strenuous positions we had had to work in but also because you have to be completely focused (all the time) when working with Opuntia hiding in tall grasses :-)

Overview of the newly reclaimed part of the Opuntia cactus bed
Overview of the newly reclaimed part of the Opuntia cactus bed

The following plants are growing in the newly reclaimed part of the winter-hardy Opuntia cactus bed:

Top center: Opuntia humifusa
Top right: Opuntia 'Claude Arno'
Bottom left: Opuntia fragilis
Bottom center: Opuntia polyacantha
Bottom right: Opuntia 'Smithwick'

The plants at the top left are Opuntia trichophora v. nova (Roswell, New Mexico) growing in the part of the bed that was reclaimed the day before.

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