Cactus garden celebrates 50th anniversary

Palomar Cactus and Succulent Garden gate located at the southeast corner of the campus on April 23, 2012. Deb Hellman/Telescope

Palomar celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Cactus and Succulent Garden on April 28.

“To me, it’s a celebration of all the hard work of our gardeners and volunteers, and it’s a great opportunity to get public support,” said Palomar Groundskeeper Antonio Rangel.

The garden is located across the parking lot from the softball field on Mission Road and is home of cacti that are up to 60 years old.

“We have just about every native California cactus in the garden— about 3,000 varieties in the ground and an additional 500 in pots,” said Garden Manager Dick Henderson.

Palomar Garden Manager Richard Henderson volunteers at the Palomar Cactus and Succulent Garden on April 23, 2012. Henderson has been a volunteer for 14-years and tends to the garden everyday year round. Deb Hellman/Telescope

The majority of plants were donated by the school district, and according to Rangel, there is little money left for maintenance, which is why the need for volunteers is imperative.

“Palomar’s landscape looks the way it does thanks to our volunteers”, Rangel said.

Rangel also used this event as a platform to talk about drought tolerant plants.

“The drought tolerant aspect is huge right now, and it should be the primary concept to consider when planning landscapes, especially in southern California,” Rangel said.

He claims that people can achieve a tropical plant environment without using a large amount of water.

“People don’t know that they can use drought tolerant alternatives,” Rangel said. “It’s an unfortunate reality and we’ll be discussing it during the tours.”

Henderson is a volunteer who’s been running the garden for 14 years. He is also a member of the Cactus and Succulent Society who aid the seven full-time grounds staff in maintaining Palomar’s 190 acres of plant life.

“We are looking for people to join our society and volunteer,” said Henderson.

Author: Emma Maliszewski

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