Quote of the Month

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.

~Mirabel Osler

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Casarabonela Cacti & Succulent Botanical Gardens - Club Visit 9 September

Here are some lovely photos sent to me by Linda Payne of the club visit to on 9 September. Thank you Linda.
I have numbered the close up photos of cactuses in case anyone wants to email me their cactus names, and then I can add them to each caption for the benefit of others. Contact me on sunley.judith@btinternet.com.

I have heard the lunch was delicious and that the new owners have much improved the gardens and it is well worth a visit.

I have integrated the additional reports and photos into this report do that we have all of the information in one place.

If you missed  the visit (as I did) here's where to find out more information about the gardens.
Casarbonela Cacti and Succulent Botantical gardens

Jane Kirk has sent us a report and various photos which are included in the report below. Thanks Jane.

And I have also added some photos sent in my Bernard, thanks Bernard.

And Greg Starr has also written a report. I have combined them all in the report below:

Greg reports that twenty four members met at the tourist office in Competa for a prompt 9.00 start. At 9.15 the coach arrived, (hoorah) and everyone boarded. We were warned by Cindy, not sing any songs with rude lyrics, so no songs were sung at all. Jane comments that the coach had one of the best drivers she'd ever seen on a coach!

Down the Sayalonga road and out onto the motorway and over to Malaga taking the road going North to Cartama and beyond. After about an hour and a half we arrived at the Cactus Garden on the outskirts of the white village of Casarabonela. We were welcomed by Mariano and Tania, the young couple who now run the office and restaurant. Four other members had arrived independantly, which made the total numbers attending up to twenty eight. After a much needed cup of coffee we were ready to have a guided tour around the garden and greenhouse. Our tour guide was Mariano and his remarkable knowledge of the plants and their history impressed us all. His command of English was also perfect, but delivered with a strange accent. He explained that he learned to speak English while working with some Scottish ex-pats, and consequently speaks with a Scottish lilt. Strange but charming.

Stopping at various points along the way to give information and to answer a number of questions, we continued through the greenhouse viewing the 800 or so different varieties of cactus from all parts of the world. A very impressive collection. We completed the tour at the plant sales area, where some members bought from a range of plants that were available.

Next up was a tapas lunch provided by our hosts with a drink included in the price. Everyone enjoyed the five or six different dishes, washed down by a drink, in the shaded restaurant area. Cindy then asked our hosts to draw the raffle ticket, for the prize of a €20 voucher to spend at the garden. This was won by Bernard.

Greg gave a vote of thanks to our hosts for a wonderful tour and a lovely lunch, and also, a big thank you to Cindy for organising this very successful day.

On the way home, the Garden Centre had organised a detour to a local garden for us to see some of the cactus plants seen at the Centre, in a garden setting. The coach was unable to drive right to the house, which meant the members had to walk some distance to the garden. A heart felt appreciation to Gill Jordon, who had travelled independantly to Casarabonela, for giving those unable to walk the distance, a lift in her car, from and back to the coach. The garden, known as The Grass Garden, had been visited by the club some three or four years ago. So was nice to see it again.

Back to the coach and on to Competa, arriving at around 5.00, completing a long but satisfying day. Many thanks to Cindy for organising the day, and to all members attending for making it such a success.
Greg Starr

Jane adds that attendees were greeted by the new pond/lake (new as it wasn't there when AGC went 2 years ago). The water was full of a large variety of huge very healthy fish. 


The pond was "policed" by two peacocks who strutted around the area and are "Up for Sale" Understandably after Jane had to warn people "Not to tread in the Peacock Poo" ...
The next photos show the exterior of the house and the sign for the garden there. Lots of grass and delightfully wild. Years of hard work for the owners.

Our guide was superhuman in his ability to rattle them off left, right & centre!
Each area of the huge greenhouse represented an area of the world and contained the cacti & succulents that were to be found there.
We saw the oldest plant in the greenhouse - a 70plus year old Stone Plant. Tiny! In one small bed - probably no bigger than 1X2 meters- there were hundreds of these lovely, little stone plants.  Great for flat dwellers not just because they are small but because one must make sure very little rain ever falls on them.
Artwork was found throughout the  Cactus gardens and we subsequently visited the home of the artist.
One cactus with a "Bat Patch" at the side (above) - is on the migration path for a South African bat- On its way north it can lad on the soft patch where it finds food and pollinates the tiny flowers. Having bred further north the bat returns by way of the cactus and reaps another harvest - this time with the baby bats!

All in all - a lovely, lovely day. We'd visit a third time!

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Photo 5 ( from Bernard)

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Photo 10

Photo 12 (from Bernard)

Photo 13 (from Bernard)


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Group photo


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