Taken at the fantastic “Cactus Garden” in the countryside outside Santiago de Cuba. I am sad that I only had a few minutes to breeze through a guided tour (all in Spanish) of this beautiful garden. Every single used tin can in this photo holds a small cactus cutting — an example of true thriftiness and recycling at its finest.
I have seen tree ferns in greenhouses but this one truly was as big as a large tree! Photographed at “Jardin Gran Piedre” in the Sierra Maestra mountains outside Santiago de Cuba.
I have never seen a palm that I didn’t like…. Which may be because I have never seen a palm in a freezing cold climate.
Paddle cactus are some of my favourite plants. Hmmmm… Perhaps that phrase does not carry much weight anymore since I seem to say it quite a lot really. However, I love the way they develop and morph into fascinating, anthropomorphic shapes. Their flowers are beautiful and their fruit (cactus pear or “tuna” in Mexico) are delicious although a little bit seedy. I gorge myself on them every October when they come into season.
The best way to eat the fruit is to cut it in half and scoop out the insides. You can make it into a drink or sorbet too but that’s too much work. Just watch those teeny loose hairs (called ‘glochids’). The big spines are easy to see and avoid but no matter how careful and precise I am when handling the plant or fruit I always find myself with one or two microscopic hairs embedded into my hand or a finger. And they are relentless; aggravating and impossible to extract without a magnifying glass and a pair of precision tweezers.
While in Cuba, I picked a small fruit from another plant nearby, placing it in my room’s mini-fridge with the hope of tasting it later. I thought I had been careful but of course there was a hair and no pair of tweezers with which to extract it. I never did find a knife or utensil to cut the fruit open and it froze in the fridge anyways.
Found growing on the beach outside Santiago de Cuba. Sunburn relief is conveniently located within arm’s reach!