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I haven’t done much gardening this season, mostly weeding but still much remains to do. It’s been too hot and I have a lot of work to do. Excuses, excuses, I know, but I did spend a week dog sitting my son’s family’s new Corgi pup in June. While there I got to revisit my cactus named ‘Killer,’ a barrel cactus.

I was given the baby cactus in 1981 when we moved from our condo in Lansing to our first family house. He was about 2″ in diameter. Last summer I finally couldn’t haul Killer in and out of the house for his summer sojourn. He weighed in at least forty pounds in his container. He was too heavy for me to carry and his spines are very sharp and long. So, as requested and promised, I let my son take Killer to his home in Traverse City. My granddaughter looks after him in the winter.

Killer in 2019

I thought Chris’s request amazing as Killer received his name for the injury my son suffered years ago. Killer was, as usual, summering on our front porch in Harvester, Missouri. One day Chris and a neighbor boy were exchanging quips and barbs when his opponent got too smart. Chris jumped over Killer to go after his friend, but he was barefoot. Killer, of course, did not take direct action, but Chris in his hurry didn’t jump high enough to miss the Killer’s needles. His actions stuck one or two barbs between his toes. They went deep in. I ended up taking Chris to the emergency room to have them removed. He nearly broke my hand squeezing it as the doctor inserted a pain-relief needle between his toes. I don’t know what lesson he learned from the accident, but it must have been a good one because he treasures Killer.


I’ve been so busy working in the vegetable garden, prepping food for storage and pulling weeks I’ve ignored many of my houseplants summering outdoors. Last week I moved most of them to the covered porch, spraying and cleaning them to get ready to come indoors. I moved all the cactus onto the ledge so they could still get sun. There was nothing special about them, except they had grown.

Today I’m out looking around, and this caught my eye.

blooming cactus

Blooming cactus

I don’t remember seeing buds on the little bloomer, but look at that gorgeous flower! Wow! It’s quite large, bigger than a silver dollar. I’ve had the cactus fifteen years from a small quarter sized whipper snapper. The pot is about 14″ in diameter to give you a perspective on the size.
What a happy surprise!

I’m not sure of the cactus species. I have it written down somewhere, and won a blue ribbon on a dish garden fourteen years ago. I’m too excited to look it up.



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