Want to Know More about these Lovelies?

Saturday, October 28 is the 12th Annual Desert Garden Community Day, a free day of lectures, workshops and activities.

One of this year’s speakers is Tom Jesch of Waterwise Botanicals and his cactus talk will focus on these lovely colorful opuntia hybrids.


Come for Tom’s talk and stay for the day!! “Flowering Cactus for the desert and intermountain landscape – So Pretty, it hurts!” is one of our first talks. Here’s more detail on the talk.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“The introduction of our brand new line of incredible flowering Opuntias, entirely unique to Waterwise Botanicals, and perfectly suited to the Coachella Valley landscape scene.  To date there are some, and occasional, efforts at bringing Prickly Pear and Paddle cactus into the landscape setting, both residential and commercial.  However, the varieties available usually get too big, and rarely have very much going on in the way of color.  The Waterwise Botanicals line presents a kaleidoscope of flower colors, early enough in the spring season to enchant the snowbirds, and so large and  abundant, that you can barely see the paddles underneath!  Then, later in the summer, many of the varieties display red fruits that look like New Mexico artisan chili peppers.  Finally, going back into the winter season, many of them develop beautiful colorations in the paddles-  of wines, burgundies, and violets.  All said, we combine low growing cushions of the iconic prickly pear for the sculptural element, along with a flower display that looks like the Coachella Valley version of the “rose parade!”

 The presentation includes slides, living samples, stories, exaggerations and humor! Includes care, culture and maintenance tips as well.”

Tom & Alligator photo

Tom Jesch grew up near beautiful Lake Tahoe and Reno in Nevada. He spent a lot of his youth hiking and camping with his brothers in the local mountains and canyons, where he developed his love and respect for nature and the outdoors. These experiences along with and an out-of-control cactus collection grown on the basement windowsill of his childhood home have resulted in a lifetime passion for horticulture. With over 40 years of experience in the nursery business and passion for plants that is infectious, Tom has introduced dozens of new plant varieties to the trade and named new cultivars that cannot be readily acquired anywhere other than his nursery.

Come learn to beautify your garden while conserving water and supporting local wildlife. Join desert landscape and gardening enthusiasts at UCR Palm Desert from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28 for a day of free workshops, talks, demonstrations and exhibits. Doors open at 8:30 am with classes running to 1:30 pm followed by Desert Horticultural Scholarship Presentation and a free screening of Hometown Habitat following by a Q & A with the director.

More details at deserthorticulturalsociety.org

See you there!!

––Tracy Merrigan, Vice President, Desert Horticultural Society of the Coachella Valley and UC CoopExt Master Gardener

Top photo ©Tracy Merrigan 2017, other photos courtesy Tom Jesch, Waterwise Botanicals.


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