Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Steve and Claudia Casebolt's Paradise Part One: The Plants

I met Steve and Claudia when the Cascade Cactus and Succulent Society came to visit my garden. They're delightful people with whom I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon last month.  Steve is a retired science teacher who began his career in pacific northwest but then took what was to be a one-year job in the Boston area.  Twenty years later, Steve and Claudia returned to the home they'd bought all those years ago bringing with them Steve's collection of cacti and succulents for which he built a greenhouse.  Today, we'll look inside the greenhouse at some of that bicoastal, swoon-worthy collection; tomorrow, we'll venture outside of the greenhouse into the garden.

Table after table of wonder.

Look at all of that great work space!  

Haworthia truncata 'Lime Green' was new to me.  Aren't those patterns incredible?   Steve was very kind and gave me an offset of one of his.

Ceropegia bloom hanging over a cactus. 

Steve grows many plants from seed and also makes his own pots.  Is there anything he can't do?


This had the most interesting tongue-like texture. 


Here Steve is separating  plants to pot and give to me.  Plant people are so generous!  Steve was also generous with his knowledge.  The potting mixture he uses for these beauties is equal parts of pumice, soil, and Turface,  (a soil conditioner. It is a calcine clay product used to improve drainage, reduce compaction, and hold moisture,)

The tray in the foreground is one that Steve had prepared to take to a talk he was giving.  Can you tell which ones are cacti and which are not?  Click here for a bit of help.

Aloe ferox

Tune in tomorrow to see the beautiful setting in which this collection resides.

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

" Sorrow and scarlet leaf,
 Sad thoughts and sunny weather.
  Ah me, this glory and this grief
  Agree not well together!"

  -  Thomas Parsons, 1880, A Song For September

"The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel- 
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush, 
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed ham,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze. " 

- John Updike, September


  1. Amazing collection, amazing guy. You must have had a really grat time visiting with him. I can't imagine moving this collection across town, let alone cross country. Also lovely poems. Gray and hazy and a little break in the rain here.

  2. What a cool greenhouse chock full of treasures! I recognized at least one Euphorbia in the tray because it's one I have.

  3. Steve's collection is as extensive and well done as any I've seen down here in Texas. It seems to follow that the most interesting gardens and collections have equally interesting gardeners behind them. The pots caught my eye right off too since they were so nicely done and just right for cacti.

  4. Lovely poems, thanks, Peter. Happy fall, y'all.

  5. Wow, that looks like a nursery not a personal collection, how fabulous!

  6. Fantastic, all of it, even the photos that have dribbles of drool on them. Love the stone babies.

  7. That was some greenhouse! It's sheer size is impressive, as are the pristine specimens.

  8. Goodness, what a huge collection. I have never much liked cacti, but recently at a succulent nursery, I found myself studying them and to my surprise, a couple found their prickly way into my basket.

  9. A very cool and vast collection. I'm amazed at how orderly everything is. One small cacti with bright orange blooms was particularly fetching. In fact, it looks quite similar to one of your newish additions. It must have been quite the visit!

  10. What an amazing collection, I'll bet you were in your element!

  11. A beautiful collection and beautifully cared for, though the greenhouse does not have the imaginative charm of the Outlaw version.

    The little Parsons poem is perfect for today, and this year. Very bad and very good all mixed together.

  12. I need to rip off his soil concoction and stop using potting soil out of the bag. What a flawless collection!


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.