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In the Gardens

Joanne Winer

August 15th, 2003

This giant saguaro did not look the greatest when it arrived; one of the arms had been broken almost through, and the entire center of the original trunk was missing. It was determined that the saguaro was well over 200 years old. The main trunk had at one time been struck by lightning, and the whole top of the cactus was sheared off and burned to about seven feet from the ground. Eventually, four arms started growing out of the sides of the burned area, and they are now higher than the original cactus probably was when it was burned. The broken arm was put into a very large splint and anchored to a nearby tree, and left to heal itself.

Although this saguaro was not the prettiest or healthiest cactus, and it was first thought to be ugly, once the history was figured out it has since been looked on as a survivor, and is beautiful in its own way.

It now has a place of honor in the Information area, and is home to many birds and other small kinds of wildlife.
It is living proof that the desert can be deadly and harsh, but the will to survive is strong. One can only wonder what stories it could tell!

The saguaros will range in size from about 6 feet up to 15 feet. They will be brought in by special trucks, and some of them will be planted in a corner to create a forest of saguaros.

Several holes have already been dug to receive the saguaros as they are brought in, and more will be added after the first group have been planted.
Digging up, moving, and planting these huge and heavy giants is a real challenge, and a lot of work. Thanks to the efforts of Pioneer Landscaping, BLM, and some volunteers, they will be a wonderful addition to Celia’s Rainbow Gardens.

Photo by Joanne Winer
This centuries-old saguaro was pretty beat up when it arrived at Celia’s Rainbow Gardens several years ago, but it’s recovering.