Joshua Tree

Greetings from the Mojave Desert!

Last June, Davin and I drove 1000 miles through the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. One of the highlights of that trip was a few days in the Joshua Tree area. We found ourselves captivated by the otherworldly landscape and vowed that one day we would go back in the winter or springtime and spend more

Cactus and Succulents

Hello Summer, My Old Friend: A Tour of My Cactus and Succulent Table

It’s not a particularly good photo, just a quick snap of some houseplants sitting on a table on my back patio. There’s bits of grit on the table that had been earthed by the squirrels, water rings on the metal table, and volunteer geraniums underneath the bay laurel tree — little messes that I might

Opuntia polyacantha

In Bloom: Plains Pricklypear

This Plains Pricklypear (Opuntia polyacantha) was a new addition to the garden, planted just this spring so I was surprised when a flower appeared. All of my other opuntias took at least one full season to put out flowers. And what a stunning dusty peachy-pink colour it is! One of the small consequences of “going

cactus garden by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Learning from Nature: Observations on Cold Hardy Cacti

Throughout my gardening life there have been many plants that I tried to grow with middling success, until I observed them growing in the wild. Sarracenia (pitcher plants), venus fly trap (Dioneae muscipula), episcia, and ginger are just a few that come to mind. Seeing them in their natural habitat helped me understand something about

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

I’ll Follow the Sun

Winter 2013. It’s not really a hardship compared to the thirtysomething odd winters of my lifetime past. No, my problems with this winter are entirely mental. And it’s not depression. I simply want out. I am full of energy and ready to start but winter laughs at my impatience. “You will wait until I am

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Herbaria (January 16, 2013): The All Hardy Cacti Edition

As previously mentioned, I decided to stop posting weekly from my ongoing Herbaria project. However, I am still assembling the boxes and taking the photos each week and hope to make this into something bigger once the full year is up in May. Until then they will make an appearance now and again rather than

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

My Year in Gardening: 2012

Happy New Year! I wrote my first year-end wrap-up post in 2010 and continued with it in 2011. As I sit here at my desk the end of 2012 [note that I began compiling this post just before the New Year], the garden buried underneath a blanket of snow, I feel compelled to continue the

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

A Succulent Oasis in My Office

We shuffled all of the remaining houseplants inside last Friday just before the hard frost returned. And so began the arduous process of stuffing potted plants into windows and underneath lights in preparation for a long winter indoors. This year I decided to go for an all succulent mix in my office window, which wasn’t

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Herbaria (June 22, 2012)

The highlights of this week are my breadbox poppies, which are treating me every day to a new colour and form, and the cold hardy opuntia that have made me so very, very happy to have chanced into the good fortune of exceptionally well-draining soil that is on the sandy side. This garden is an

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Cold Hardy Opuntia (Winter)

At least a decade has passed since I first discovered and started growing cold hardy opuntia and yet it still comes as a surprise that they exist, like some mythical unicorn come to life. And there are so many of them! Some have thick paddles like the big opuntia that produce edible pears in southern

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Colorado on the Way to Nebraska

Yesterday we drove to Nebraska to see some fields. That was not a difficult task to achieve and is in keeping with what I expected. But what has surprised me on this trip is just how dry it is here. Take this picture, shot in Colorado on the way back from Nebraska. This is High

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