to cactus or not to cactus?

gifted prickly pear, variety unknown

A valid question for those of us in this perfectly dry, arid, desiccated climate… To invite a cactus into your yard is to invite pain but also a sense of fun. Here when someone starts growing prickly pear it is a declaration to the world that yes, we have turned a page on English borders in the desert and are ready to take on the heat. At least that is what a good friend told me while visiting with my new (entirely gifted)  dry garden: You are a girl of the West now Juliette! she exclaimed, a long way away from my native France…

more gifts!

When planted in a dry, sunny spot these hardy cacti seem to thrive here on the East Bench of Salt Lake. I have seen some growing  in Park City as well in the former garden of my in-laws.


A dear friend of mine tends to a mature xeriscape landscape, he has so many cacti growing that when he passed some to me this fall, the pieces were already branched. Instant effect in one afternoon. Although I dried the wounds a few day prior to planting and coated them with rooting powder, I simply shoved them with tongs in the ground and propped the ears a bit with small stones. I worry that the site is too shaded… only time will tell.


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