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May 17, 2010
Best in show!

Best in show!

The Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center played host to the 2010 Green Faire this past weekend and we were there Saturday. I bought plants (see next post) and it was a well-attended (parking was scarce), although I had the feeling that I missed out by not being there on the first day of the sale (the usual: sigh!). A main attraction for me was the 35th annual Gates Cactus and Succulent Society’s judged show and I couldn’t wait to see what marvels were in the competition … and there were plenty! So many in fact, that I really couldn’t take them all in in one visit … we had to take a break, go to lunch, then come back to have a really good look. Note: I was hoping there would be a winner’s list that included names of all the winning plants, but the society won’t be posting that until early June on their website. Since I’m loathe to misidentify something, or misspell someone’s name, I present this gallery of entries, along with mercifully brief commentary. Enjoy the show!

The branched and the beautiful

There were lots of succulent varieties that resembled small, gorgeous trees, including the winner of Best in Show (opening picture, and above, right). Some sported pretty blooms, along with a variety of interesting and sometimes complicated foliage. These plants looked like they’d come from tiny, enchanted forests somewhere far from the heat of the Inland Empire, where they’d been growing for the centuries required to produce such gnarled, ancient-looking trunks. They were really lovely

See me, feel me

There were numerous cactus and succulent examples that begged to be touched. Warily, carefully — maybe with kevlar garden gloves, but still. Cacti puffed and pulsed, looked tufted and buttoned, and in some cases, snaked out of their pots. Some sported pretty blossoms and my fave was a pudgy gray example with what looked like little red bits of pickled ginger jutting out of its top. As in the top-most picture, participants went out of their ways to choose pots that complemented their unique specimens, and they too, added to the overall look of each entry.

Weird is good

My fave part of plant show competitions is the chance to see some really weird stuff … nothing that you’d see at Home Depot or your local nursery. I’m talking about cactus with spines that stretch and undulate, tillandsias that look like a bunch of free-floating sea anemones and crested succulents that seem like mutant bit players in John Carpenter’s remake of ‘The Thing’. A gasteria that seemed to be made of pointy loose ribbons was alarmingly rigid, and another plant that looked like a shrub that had shriveled and died was very much alive and amazingly complex. I can’t get enough of this kind of living, bizarre, eye candy.

Craftily succulent

An interesting category in the judging was the Craft division and these two examples caught my eye. The top one seems more flower arrangement than craft, but there was something so “off” about it, I loved it immediately. And, requiring more study, because it was so small, was this charming little succulent garden made from paper. Painstakingly created by someone who obviously worked from living examples of each plant, it was the unsurprising winner in the category. The Green Faire was a great event, I just wish the day wasn’t so warm (and that I’d brought more than one check; I hadn’t taken into account that each vendor would need separate payment, and they didn’t take cards. I’ll know next year).

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Donita Smith permalink
    May 17, 2010 10:50 pm

    Wow! I stumbled upon your blog while goofing off at work. Your style is right up my alley. My house was built in 1954, one of the Sungold neighborhoods in Riverside. It’s a dear thing with lots of issues I can’t afford to fix right now. I’ve amassed a pretty decent collection of midcentury modern furniture. Having that cool stuff helps me feel better about living in a place with such sad landscaping. Someday I hope to make it Palm Springs fabulous. One step at a time. After two years I’m still moving in! I’ll be looking forward to reading more posts.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      May 18, 2010 2:56 am

      Welcome, Donita and thanks for such a great comment. I’m interested in learning more about the Sungold neighborhoods you mentioned — let’s talk!

  2. May 18, 2010 2:02 am

    OMG! What a feast for the eyes!!! I think I see a Pachypodium Saundersii…one of my dream plants! That Gasteria is beautiful…I noticed it right off! What a lovely display of perfection! I know you enjoyed it even more after your leasurely lunch!!! WOW!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      May 18, 2010 2:55 am

      Hi, Julie… the show definitely reinforced my love for succulents and cacti: they’re just too diversely beautiful not to!

  3. Megan permalink
    May 18, 2010 5:18 am

    Love the cacti and succulents!

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