Thursday, August 14, 2008

Padding Around Cactus King

I’d forgotten all about Cactus King until my friend Mr. Nelson asked me if I’d ever been to the nursery with a giant cactus statue visable from Interstate 45. Cactus King used to be in my neighborhood and I’d come and look at stuff I was too poor to buy (Of course I had no interest in the $1.99 cacti). Now it’s way on the north side of town.

You may think that in Texas, cacti would not merit a special trip to view. But Houston is verdant and juicy, and as long as we’re not bumped up any more USDA zones, cacti and agaves are uncommon.

When Mr. Nelson’s and my schedule finally matched up for a field trip, it was an appropriately scorching, bright day. I suppose it was the desert plant-equivalent of seeing Japanese maples in autumn by the full moon. We were the only fools out on the lot. We went into a greenhouse. Myriad cacti. When we went out again, the air actually felt cool. But look at what we saw while we were there! It was worth a little roasting.

Photographing was a pain in the ass literally. More than once I backed up into something spiky.

This is me next to an absurd Euphorbia. I’m holding a mystery plant I wanted to ask Lyn the proprietor about. I got a light scolding for having taken it off the ‘do not touch rare and unusual’ table. Lyn is also the sculptor. See and hear him in action:

On top of all this, the prices are good. Can there possibly be another nursery quite like Cactus King anywhere? Show me if there is.

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