Catch Me With The Cacti
I've never seen so many vibey cactus in one place! When I visited the wonderful community garden in North London that I've been paired with for the @hot_poets project, I was fascinatingly drawn to the Cactus house. It had a very mystical feel about it.
Elkie, the gardener who cultivates this space, is so ancient to future thinking. In part of the cactus house, they have an experimental area to see how cacti , a desert plant, can survive in the outdoors in the deep nether regions of the UK, as far as Scotland. Also, leaving cuttings from some cactus plants in a tray, he is observing how they would survive without water but taking in the moisture of the damp London air.
Moss grew, and on obvious symbiotic relationship began to flourish between moss and the cacti. Two years later, both are doing well and thriving, the moss drinking when thirsty from the root of the cactus and the cactus receiving protection against frost from the coverage by the moss of their shallow rooting during the winter months. This is a true lesson on how nature will collaborate to survive.
Indigenous to Mexico 🇲🇽, Elkie told me much about the future of local agricultural growing of food without much water, as climate change begins to impact the global north. The cactus has a millennia old cultural history that centers the ancient Mexican city of Tenochtitlan pre colonial interference, and as a national symbol of Mexico, it is steeped in mythic and Earth bound history. I'll never be able to look at a cactus without much respect again.
As more than a grower of cacti, Elkie is also a musician who is the keeper of this myth and often invite musicians to come to the space to perform, and imbibe from the reciprocal energy that emanates from the plants. Follow can here some of their music here.
The community garden itself is a welcoming and impressive space with so much growing, seed saving and intergenerational traditional and cultural growing education is an essential purpose for its existence. The passion and enthusiasm for natural living for people of colour - it is a black owned garden - is uplifting 💚🌱💫
More about this community garden soon!