A Cactus Blooms in Ohio

There’s something about having unexpected plants in our garden that tickles me. I like having things tucked in and flourishing that seem totally at odds with our region. I like surprises. I like a little dissonance. These tough hardy cactus plants more than fit the bill:

030One of our first purchases the first time we attended our town’s garden club plant sale, I  must admit that I don’t know much about this plant. I don’t know what it is beyond being a cactus. I don’t know the scientific name of the variety. I don’t even know a regional name for it.

I only know that the lady who had donated them to the sale insisted that they were easy to grow and hardy in our region. She advised us to just sort of throw it down on the dirt in a likely spot (a likely spot being a sunny one) and promised that the cactus would take care of the rest. My husband and I were intrigued. It sounded…ridiculous. She sort of came across like the garden club version of the flim-flam guy with the magic beans in Jack and the Beanstalk. Even though we believed that the first winter would absolutely kill it, for $0.25 we figured we’d humor her.

And, much like the bean guy in the fairy-tale, she turned out to be telling the truth. Growing this cactus took absolutely no skill or effort on our part. We dropped the original in the dirt in a sunny spot. Full stop.

It did the rest. This cactus has multiplied and spread a fair amount in the last 5 years or so. It graces us with glorious, desert-style blooms every summer. The bees LOVE it. And I love having an unexpected bit of Death Valley in our garden. $0.25 well spent. Sorry for doubting you, Cactus Lady!

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