|Photo 1. The Lophocereus schottii monstrose is my personal plant, it is about 18 years old.|
Let us introduce Keith and Lorraine Thomas, California, USA, who like cultivars, crested and monstrose forms and propagate and spread them actively. When I saw the photos of their plants I was so amazed that even saw them in a dream. It is just a wonder. For the beginning Lorraine sent me about 70 photos of their wonderful plants. Unfortunately there are few photos with the general view of her cacti nursery. I hope she will send some more for the next issue. I have never seen so many such forms of plants gathered in one place.
I'm sure you will estimate her collection at its true worth. We can not place all the photos in this issue of the magazine. We can only enumerate some of the names: Ariocarpus retusus monstrose, Astrophytum asterias 'Super Kabuto', Cephalocereus senilis crest, Echinocactus grusonii var., Mammillaria bocasana monstrose, Gymnocalycium baldianum crest, Gymnocalycium mihanovichii nishiki, Gymnocalycium mihonavitchii crest, Notocactus horstii variegate, Mammillaria rhodantha var., Ferocactus var., Gymnocalycium saglione var., Ferocacatus var., Mammillaria sp var., crest, monstrosa, Echinocactus sp. var., Monvilea crests, Notocactus horstii var., Myrtillocactus geometricans crests, Cephalocereus senilis crest, Pilocereus var., Cleistocactus baumii crest, Borzicactus aurispina cres and many others.
|Photo 2, 3. There are several pictures of Monvilea crests. The one taken outside has been let grow straight stems. It is best to remove these from cresting plants so the strength will go to the crest.|
All the information concerning the prices and terms of delivery of plants and books you can find on her personal site home.inreach.com/klcactus . Pay attention at low prices. All the photos by Lorraine are her copyright.
|Photo 4. Cereus alicroportanus monstrose growing in the yard. It is 9 years in the ground.||Photo 5. Cereus dayamii monstrose. Each cutting will form a different looking speci-men.|
About our plants and how we came to have the business and hobby.
In 1970 Keith and I met and married. We both have 2 children from other marriages.
I had a small mound in the back yard and every once in awhile I would buy a Cactus for it. When Keith and I married, we waited for 6 months to go on our honeymoon. Of course we headed for the South West in the U.S.A. We went to Arizona, then to New Mexico and then into Texas. Each State had its own unique species of plants. We couldn't get enough of them to see. We were running up and down those mountains taking pictures and having so much fun. Each clump of Echinocereus was larger than the other and we were miles into the desert.
|Photo 6. Cereus crest. I call it humongous. It has grown very large and is about 15 years old.|
When we got to Texas, we stopped in a little town by the name of Marfa. There we met an old man who worked on airplanes and was married to a young Mexican woman. They had 13 children and it was like stair steps to see them all lined up along side each other. The youngest was 2 and the oldest was around 17 years old.
This old man's name was Ralph Spencer. He led us to his back yard and it had very large mounds of piled up cactus. It was so incredible to see so many plants in one place. He told us that if we wanted to start a business that all we would need is $45.00 for 3 months to pay for advertising in a magazine called Flower and Garden. When we started to get orders from our ads, we would send him money for the plants and then fill the orders we started to get. From the money coming in we also kept up the advertising of $45.00 per month. Later on we advertised in more magazines and local newspapers.
|Photo 7. Cereus monstrose 'Ming Thing' Probably from a cereus peruvianus.||Photo 8. Cereus monstrose grafted. I do not know the species name.|
The plants we bought from him were 10 different varieties of Cactus and we advertised 10 plants for $7.95 postage paid. This went on for about 2 or 3 years and we got tired of seeing the same kind of plants so we saved up $100.00 and headed to Southern California U.S.A.. We went to some wholesalers nurseries and one of them was the famed Harry Johnson's Paramount Nursery in Fallbrook California. We also visited a Nursery called Cactus Jack's and from him we bought 2 seedling flats of Mammillaria that his sons had started for some money.
|Photo 9. No comments.|
We raised those plants and added a couple of collections to our advertising. Orders kept coming in and then we made more trips and bought more plants.
In 1977, I quit my outside job and started a retail walk in nursery on our property. We got the local newspapers and the television network in our area and they came and did some television spots (for free) on our plants and the nursery. That really helped us get started full time.
|Photo 10, 11. Keith and Lorraine Thomas live here.|
The business helped to raise our children and keep us going and of course it was nice to be our own boss. We worked hard to make it and finally did get all the debts paid off. We were in that one location from 1973 to 1992. We are now in this spot of Heaven for 9 years now.
I guess that we will be doing cactus until the day we die. It is so nice to be able to have so many wonderful plants at hand to enjoy.
I am going to attach some pictures of our view from our home, enjoy them. I also have some wonderful sunset pictures if you ever want to see them.
|Photo 12. These are they.|
Could you tell us in detail about your collection?
Our collection of cactus is usually mixed in with all the other plants. I consider all of them my collection until someone wants to buy one or two. Sometimes I will sell my favorites but not all the time. We have enjoyed the different forms of plants and have tended to go to some extremes in our likes.
My favorite succulents are the Haworthia plants. They are so diverse and each one is so different in marking from the others. My favorite cacti are all of the variegated, monstrose and crests. I can spot a variegated plant a long distance away and will head for it.Keith has always favored the Euphorbia plants, he loves all of the new Trichocereus hybrids and also the Echinopsis. Enclosed is a picture of us.
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