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Birds, bees, butterflies, bunnies, buds

It’s mid-summer, and nature is thriving. Please send your photos to

Joy Albertson, North, thanks readers for naming her mystery mullein plant, now topping six feet.

Gary Barker’s mother bought a dime store cactus in Los Angeles about the time Kennedy was president. Planted in the family’s backyard, it grew two stories high in the Southern California climate. The flowers bloom from evening to the next morning to attract bats for pollination. Each summer, when the flowers would bloom at the home in LA, neighbors would gather around to watch them open at sunset. After Barker’s mother died in 1990, he took a cutting from the plant and brought it to his home in Cobbs Creek, where it lives in a pot outside in the summers and in the garage all winter. It has grown and grown, and last fall, his youngest child took a cutting from the cactus for company in the college dorm. The cactus is a Peruvian Apple Cactus (Cereus peruvianus) now about 60 years old.


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