This is the story of two friends of mine that happen to be plants.
On my last visit to the desert branch of the Clisby Empire, I realized that my mother and cousins Linda and Carol had done quite a bit to fix up the old place while I had contributed nothing. So, off we went to the "Dig your own!" cactus store, where I purchased a very young Joshua Tree and a Beavertail Cactus.
We picked special spots, gathered colorful rocks, found a shovel and set about making new homes for the two plants. "The Beav" (pictured above right) went in the front yard, surrounded by gorgeous hunks of jasper, gympsum and sandstone. Meanwhile, young "Josh" was placed in the back, near the old fountain and not far from the shuffleboard court that keeps getting cracked from the earthquakes.
We made the best possible beds for them that we could and I even said a few words of blessing, which inspired some eye-rolling among my family members. Still, I hoped for the best. Y'see, when my Grandpa Wilbur - a North Dakota farmer - first laid eyes on the California desert, he went bonkers for it. The bizarre cactii, the funky birds and the lunar landscape really touched him. This is also how I feel and while many of his beloved cactii have died (swear to god, he'd take pictures of them and frame them), I like the idea of adding new stuff to keep his garden going.
Cousin Linda (picture with Josh, above) was kind enough to water them when she stopped in on her monthly drive from Mesa, AZ to Long Beach, CA. She was doing a great job but had to inform me over Thanksgiving that Josh didn't make it.
After some research, she discovered that Joshua Trees are very finicky about facing the same direction in which they were originally planted. One woman told her, "When you bought it, the pot should've had an 'N' on it to tell you which way to face it North." Hmmm, um, no - nobody told us that.
I guess I'll give it another try on my next desert visit. Let's hope The Beav continues to thrive.