Flowering Cacti

Cactus flowers

The semi-arid landscape of Almeria, where water is a precious commodity, challenges gardeners. However, cacti and succulents, which require little watering, thrive here in the sunshine and it’s possible to create a really lovely garden with these and other drought tolerant plants.

Cactus planted in a hole in a volcanic rock with other mineral samples

Because cacti have very shallow roots, you can be creative when it comes to planting them out. Natural stones with holes in them – no shortage of these in the volcanic landscape of the Cabo de Gata- are ideal and set them off perfectly. Cacti need to be grouped together to make a feature, otherwise they look a bit lost. A rock garden shows them off to their best advantage.

This cactus came into flower this morning

Our local garden centre has a good selection of succulents and cacti and I buy the baby ones, which are not at all expensive. Larger specimens are available, but because cacti are slow-growing, they’re much dearer, naturally. I enjoy watching them grow and after about three years, when some varieties become quite large, I plant them out and replace the containers with new, baby ones.

These pink flowers only last a day

Cacti can produce the most spectacular flowers, such as these glorious, scented, pale pink ones (in the terracotta container) sprouting from disproportionately small cacti. Sadly, these last for only a few hours so I have to enjoy them while I can. Other flowers last for several days, closing up at night and opening again when the sun shines on them. I find that, if I feed my cacti regularly, they reward me with profuse flowering.

If you click on the photos they will enlarge

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About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live in the little coastal village of Las Negras in the heart of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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