If you've visited the Farm Shop recently, you may have noticed that things have got a bit prickly. In a good way. We are now stocking a really good range of cacti, succulents and a few bulbs too. You can buy them as they are, or potted up in some lovely vintage jars, some of which are over 100 years old. Pretty cool eh?
Our spiky new friends look great all over your house, from the kitchen to the bathroom, hall, sitting room, you name it. And they also make great presents, particularly, we have found.
And here are 10 things we've learnt about cacti:
1. You hardly have to water them. That's an immediate win. In fact, the number 1 reason cactuses die is from over-watering.
2. They improve the air quality in your home, removing bacteria and reducing radiation.
3. There are 1500-1800 species of cacti in the world. Fact.
4. Cacti are real water reservoirs; their inner liquid is not pure, clear water but a thick viscous stuff, but perfectly drinkable, that saved many lives in the desert.
5. Cactus spines can be used for sutures, after they have been first sterilised on hot coal. And you'd need to be fairly desperate too.
6. They wear a pair of stick-on wobbly eyes well.
7. Recent figures suggest that almost 13 per cent of plants confiscated at Heathrow airport are cacti without the required permissions. There is now a protection treaty in place that prohibits the movement of endangered species.
8. Cacti all flower, and some of the flowers are truly spectacular. Have a look.
9. The wood of some cactus species is used for making walls, roofs and as reinforcement wood. It's strong stuff.
10. The roots of a Mexican cactus, peyotl (Lophophora williamsii), were chewed by Aztecs for its hallucinogenic properties, allowing the shamen to enter in trance. These properties of the cacti were also used by some Native Americans during the pre-Columbian era for anesthesia during operations.