Cactus Blog Archives

Cactus Blog Writers

Peter Lipson
Hap Hollibaugh

California Native Manzanita


<img width="432" hspace="5" height="346" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/arctostaphylos_morroensis.jpg" /><br /><br />Arctostaphylos morroensis – from Southern California, it’s <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1865&amp;entry_id=1693" title="http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARMO2" onmouseover="window.status=’http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARMO2′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">listed</a> as a threatened species. It grows well in coastal areas throughout the state, and is fairly tall for a shrubby manzanita – up to 6′ tall. It will have red berries if these lovely lavender flowers get pollinated.<br /><br />

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Iowa Cactus


They sometimes grow cactus even in Iowa. Indoors, in a sunny window. But not too close to the glass, mind you. The <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1878&amp;entry_id=1708" title="http://www.qctimes.com/articles/2008/02/15/features/home_garden/doc47b5f4341ce73805608735.txt" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.qctimes.com/articles/2008/02/15/features/home_garden/doc47b5f4341ce73805608735.txt’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Quad-City Times</a> tells you what will work best in Iowa.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">(C)acti and succulents (aloe, jade) prefer direct light…. (S)outh-facing and west-facing windows have more direct light….<br />
<br />
In my home, for example, the cacti and succulents perform best. I have a tendency to under-water, so I have selected those that will tolerate — even thrive — with a bit of forgetfulness.</span><br /></div><br />I knew that. But did you know: <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1879&amp;entry_id=1708" title="http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/02/robot_unemployment_crisis_solv.php?utm_source=sbhomepage&utm_medium=link&utm_content=sublink" onmouseover="window.status=’http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/02/robot_unemployment_crisis_solv.php?utm_source=sbhomepage&utm_medium=link&utm_content=sublink’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Robot Unemployment Crisis Solved with Make-Work Program.</a> I didn’t think so. Now you do.<br /><br />

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They Get Questions


When in England, Ask Dan about your garden issues. <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1875&amp;entry_id=1705" title="http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/gardens/story/0,,2253409,00.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/gardens/story/0,,2253409,00.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">He’s at the Guardian</a>.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Q Hi Dan, Eight years ago somebody brought me a wonderful cactus that was about 6ft tall. It has stood in my hallway for the past eight years slowly getting taller! It is now at its maximum height for my hallway and I would like to get rid of it. I was wondering if there was a retirement home for cacti? It’s so big I can’t move it and I obviously don’t just want to destroy it as it is magnificent. I thought that some place might want to take it off my hands and wondered if that kind of thing went on. Any advice you could give me? Many thanks.<br />
Sarah</span><br /></div><br />That’s not a garden question. I was fooled into thinking he offered helpful advice to people who want to grow their plants in the harsh and unforgiving climate of England. Well, here’s his answer anyway.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">A Hi Sarah, Is there a local school that might take it off your hands? Failing that, you could try your parks department. There may well be greenhouse space for such a specimen. You could also try the British Cactus and Succulent Society (bcss.org.uk).</span><br /></div><br />My god, I had no idea. That’s no answer at all. Why not just tell her to place it on craigslist? I mean, they have that over there don’t they? I don’t know. Let me check. <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1876&amp;entry_id=1705" title="http://london.craigslist.co.uk/" onmouseover="window.status=’http://london.craigslist.co.uk/’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Yep, there it is</a>. Hey! I could answer UK questions too! I could be a garden advisor all over the world! Growing clematis in Indonesia? I’ll tell you what you need!<br /><br />

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We Get Questions


Q: I have a barrel cactus about 4" x 4". It has looked the same for what seems like years, how can I tell it’s alive?<br />
<br />
Björnvik <br />
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A: You can gently poke it with a pencil, and if it gives resistance, then it is alive.<br />
Or you could send us a clear closeup photo and we can take a look.<br />
<br />
Some barrels are miniatures and won’t get any bigger (like the gymnocalyciums) while others really do want to grow much bigger (like the ferocactuses)<br />
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If it is still alive and the right species and you want it to grow bigger, you should probably repot it into a 6"-8" terra cotta pot with fresh well-draining cactus soil (which we do sell) in Spring, and make sure it is getting at least 4 hours of direct afternoon sun. Water it every 3 weeks.<br />
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Good Luck,<br />
Peter<br /><br />

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My Favorite


<object width="425" height="350"><param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/G7Rb2uxAKeU" name="movie" /><embed width="425" height="350" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/G7Rb2uxAKeU" adblockframedobject="true" adblockframedobject2="true" adblockframename="adblock-frame-n7" /><br />
<br /><br /><a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1868&amp;entry_id=1697" title="https://www.cactusjungle.com/plant_pages/operculicarya_decaryi.htm" onmouseover="window.status=’https://www.cactusjungle.com/plant_pages/operculicarya_decaryi.htm’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Link</a><br /><br /></object>

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French Cactus Link of the Day


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1873&amp;entry_id=1703" title="http://lifeslittleadventures.typepad.com/lifes_little_adventures/2008/02/ze-france.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://lifeslittleadventures.typepad.com/lifes_little_adventures/2008/02/ze-france.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Life’s Little Adventures</a> travels to the French Riviera and visits Louis XIV’s cactus gardens.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Tropical Gardens (Jardin Exotique). Suspended some 1,400 feet above the blue Mediterranean, the garden offers a breathtaking panorama over the tiled rooftops, the sea, and much of the Riviera. Established in 1949 around the ruins of a 14th-century castle that was destroyed in 1706 on orders from Louis XIV, the gardens are filled with many varieties of cacti and succulents, mostly from the Americas.</span><br /></div><br />Alright, so it’s more recent than Louis XIV. I just like to type roman numerals.<br /><br />

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The Sad Tale of the Monkey and the Cactus


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1869&amp;entry_id=1698" title="http://www.bearskinrug.co.uk/_articles/2006/09/12/mojo_and_cactus/" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.bearskinrug.co.uk/_articles/2006/09/12/mojo_and_cactus/’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Mojo and Cactus go at it at Bearskinrug</a>. <br /><br />Strip after the break…<br /><br /><br /><a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/archives/1698-guid.html#extended">Continue reading "The Sad Tale of the Monkey and the Cactus"</a>

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Sunday Cactus Blogging


A cactus was growing quite tall<br />Until Bob in a car did come call<br />He chopped it quite fast<br />It fell with a blast<br />Causing Bob to be pinned to the wall.<br /><br />

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Closeup Bloom


<img width="329" hspace="5" height="432" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/aloe_ferox_bloom_closeup.jpg" /><br /><br />Aloe ferox<br /><br />

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Costa Blancas News Roundup


From the <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1867&amp;entry_id=1696" title="http://www.roundtownnews.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14019&Itemid=31" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.roundtownnews.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14019&Itemid=31′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Round Town News</a> of Costa Blancas comes this news.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><img width="300" hspace="5" height="225" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/building436.jpg" /><br style="font-style: italic;" /><span style="font-style: italic;">The Hairy Cactus was previously a haven for sun worshippers.</span><br /></div><br />I like non sequiturs. <br /><br />

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Link of the Day


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1866&amp;entry_id=1695" title="http://crumb.cc/toast/2008/02/succulent-family-portrait/" onmouseover="window.status=’http://crumb.cc/toast/2008/02/succulent-family-portrait/’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">toast crumb</a> has a Succulent Family Portait. There are 6 little succulents, including cactus, in a nice little grouping. A pleasant portrait of a featured family. <br /><br /><br />

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Blooms


<img width="303" hspace="5" height="432" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/aloe_ferox_bloom.jpg" /><br /><br />Aloe ferox<br />I’ll post a closeup tomorrow<br /><br />

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Friday Whippet Blogging


<img width="432" hspace="5" height="325" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/whippets/Benjamin_idaho.jpg" /><br /><br />Benjamin visiting the grandparents in Idaho last month.<br />Photo by Aunt Rachel<br /><br />

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Home Tours


The <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1862&amp;entry_id=1688" title="http://www.modernphoenix.net/hometour/index.htm" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.modernphoenix.net/hometour/index.htm’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Phoenix Home Tour</a> this April 5 + 6, there’s going to be a focus on the landscape and cacti as part of the modern life of the city.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Charlie Ray, Designer, The Green Room<br />
Cacti and Succulents as Living Sculpture<br />
In addition to leading the indoors out, a principle tenet of Modernsim is bringing the outdoors in. Learn how to create living modern sculpture out of low-maintenance cacti and succulents in this hands-on workshop. Plant selection, dramatic staging, top dressing, potting, aesthetics, and maintenance will be discussed.</span><br /></div><br />There’s also some Frank Lloyd Wright discussion over at Taliesen West, plus pretty pictures too. It looks like Brady Bunch Suburbia.<br /><br /><img width="432" hspace="5" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/earll3.jpg" /><br /><br />I see agaves.<br /><br />via Julie at <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1863&amp;entry_id=1688" title="http://asucculentlife.blogspot.com/2008/02/modern-phoenix.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://asucculentlife.blogspot.com/2008/02/modern-phoenix.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">A Succulent Life</a><br />

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We Get Questions


It’s Aloe dichotoma time in Massachusetts:<br /><br />Q: Hi, my name is Marc and I live in Massachusetts. I have a Aloe dichotoma as a house plant and it looks good. I have to battle mealy bug once in a while but other than that it is a really easy plant. I do notice that the very tips of some of the leaves seems to dry out, turn brown all awhile the rest of the leave looks healthy. Do I have to be concerned? I am not sure if this is a disease. I water the plant about 2 x a week. It is in very well drained soil (sand and light compost mix)and I suspect the plant is somewhat or at the beginning stages of being root bound. So I do not think I am rotting t roots with too much water. How much light should this plant receive? Lastly, I know that when it is winter here it is summer in their native country (S. Africa). Do I need to do any additional care or timing of the care to coincide with the seasons of the southern hemisphere? Look forward to your response!<br />
Do you ship plants to the East Coast?<br />
Regards,<br />
Marc<br /><br />A: Marc,<br />
<br />
We water Aloe dichotama every two to three weeks in the summer and very little in the winter. They are heat loving dry desert plants. But if yours is growing and doing well I wouldn’t really suggest changing your routine. Ours are mostly outside year round so they take different care than indoor plants. While leaf tip browning is pretty common in Aloes, it is a sign of stress, but if it isn’t too bad don’t worry about it too much.<br />
<br />
If you are having mealy-bug problems make sure you monitor the roots as they will get in the soil where you can’t see them and suck all the life out of your plants. And leaf tip die off is a sign of stress. Aloe dichotoma is more or less dormant in winter, keep it nearly totally dry particularly if it is somewhere cool (at or around 40°F) while it is dormant. Since the nursery is in a winter rainfall area we grow our Aloe dichotoma in gravely soil and in rose pots (extra tall Terra Cotta) Tall pots drain fast because of the column weight of the water and with the taller sided have more air exposure for the clay to dry out.<br />
<br />
And yes we ship plants to the East Coast.<br />
<br />
Good luck,<br />
Hap<br /><br />

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Cactus and Winter Stress


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Cactus Art


St. Olaf College has some cactus art.<br /><br />There is only so much we can do when writing sentences like that last one. It is full of information, densely packed tight, and yet I have no idea what it could mean. Shall I read the article to find out what it means? Or pass over it and regain a few minutes of my life lost to the reading of that enigmatic sentence.<br /><br />Well, here it is if you should care to find out more, after the break…<br /><br /><br /><a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/archives/1684-guid.html#extended">Continue reading "Cactus Art"</a>

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California Aloe


<img width="324" hspace="5" height="432" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/oxford01.jpg" /><br /><br />Oxford Street<br />Aloe arborescens – these are in bloom all over town now.<br /><br />

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Fewer Peyote Plants in the Wild


Legal Texas peyote is disappearing faster than you can say, &quot;peccary.&quot; The <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1861&amp;entry_id=1682" title="http://www.dallasobserver.com/2008-02-14/news/texas-peyote-hunters-struggle-to-find-a-vanishing-holy-crop" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.dallasobserver.com/2008-02-14/news/texas-peyote-hunters-struggle-to-find-a-vanishing-holy-crop’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Dallas Observer</a> reports:<br /><br style="font-style: italic;" /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><img width="150" hspace="5" height="180" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/1896260.51.jpg" /><br style="font-style: italic;" /><span style="font-style: italic;">Harvesting peyote is legal for only three people, and all of them live in Texas…<br />
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Cactus spines and the occasional rattle snake are all in a day’s work for Mauro Morales, one of three legal peyote hunters in Texas….<br />
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&quot;I used to collect as much in a week as I now do in a month,&quot; he says. &quot;I don’t know what’s going to happen to the medicine.&quot;<br />
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Morales almost never utters the word &quot;peyote.&quot; For him, the small green-gray cactus is a sacrament with miraculous healing powers, hence his word for it: medicine. </span><br /></div><br />

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Canadian Cactus


All the way from <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1860&amp;entry_id=1681" title="http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/letters/story.html?id=c4778f3b-3609-438e-ad5a-a3167c553203" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/letters/story.html?id=c4778f3b-3609-438e-ad5a-a3167c553203′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Canada.com</a> comes this travel letter. I don’t know why.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">While we enjoyed Tecate beer on the patio, we looked out at… (t)he prickly vegetation in the desert… the land of the giant cactus. Some were unbelievable, reaching several storeys high.</span><br /></div><br />Sometimes I look out my window and see all the stuff my neighbor with OCD is storing in his small front fenced-in patio.<br /><br />

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Link of the Day


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1859&amp;entry_id=1680" title="http://fosteroutdoors.blogspot.com/2008/02/nature-no-pork-here.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://fosteroutdoors.blogspot.com/2008/02/nature-no-pork-here.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Jim Foster Outdoors</a> writes about the javelina, a pig-like peccary from Texas. Now, he does talk about hunting them, so you may not actually want to click through. But javelinas and cactus do go together like Martin and Lewis, or Belushi and Ackroyd, or McCain and Bush or another comedy team you can think up for yourself.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">The javelina lives in the brushy semi-desert where prickly pear cactus is a conspicuous part of the flora. They are commonly found in dense thickets of prickly pear, chaparral, scrub oak, or guajillo.</span><br /></div><br />

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North Carolina Cactus


Some people just have too many cactus, even if they live in Fayetteville, NC and write for the <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1858&amp;entry_id=1679" title="http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=285055" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=285055′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Fayetteville Observer</a>.<br /><br style="font-style: italic;" /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><img width="250" hspace="5" height="329" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/20se10209dsc-scaled.jpg" /><br style="font-style: italic;" /><span style="font-style: italic;">Photo by Roger Mercer<br />
This crested form of Lemairocereus thunbergii probably will never bloom, but the plant’s brown bristles and contorted growth make it delightfully decorative.<br />
<br />
I grew almost 4,000 cacti and more than 1,000 species of cacti and succulents. That was before I moved from a house with two greenhouses to a house with none.</span><br /></div><br />Good Grief.<br /><br />

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Drought Conditions


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1857&amp;entry_id=1678" title="http://www.diyclick.com/2008/02/how-to-have-beautiful-spring-garden.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.diyclick.com/2008/02/how-to-have-beautiful-spring-garden.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">DIY is featuring</a> some help in planting for drought conditions, and recommends native cacti and succulents. However they don’t say where they are native to. No matter, low-water plants of all types are good during drought. Except today, when it’s raining. And tomorrow, and the day after that, too. It looks like at least another week of rain here.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Many of our own native plants, water-storing cactus and succulents for example, have evolved over time to tolerate dry conditions… Often they display one or more adaptations, including deep taproots or shallow but wide-reaching root systems to maximize the chance of finding water, gray green waxy or hairy leaf coverings, or reduced leaf surface to cut down on water loss through transpiration.<br />
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Prudent gardeners select companion plants with similar water needs… The trick is to keep young plants watered during the first two to four weeks while they become established, and after that they will be fine.</span><br /></div><br />So that’s how you do it.<br /><br />

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Agave Fencerow


From the Smithsonian Institution, Department of Botany, Plant Image Collection<br /><br /><img width="432" hspace="5" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/rah01306.jpg" /><br /><br />Agave americana variegata (Agavaceae)<br />
Photo by R.A. Howard, Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution.<br /><br />

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It's Time for a Poll


<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src="http://s3.polldaddy.com/p/331181.js"></script><noscript> &lt;a href =&quot;http://www.polldaddy.com&quot; &gt;surveys&lt;/a&gt; – &lt;a href =&quot;http://www.polldaddy.com/p/331181/&quot; &gt;Take Our Poll&lt;/a&gt; </noscript><br /><br />

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Saguaro


Aunt Rachel sends us this photo of a wobbly-armed Saguaro on their travels in Arizona.<br /><br /><img width="432" hspace="5" height="325" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/AZ3006.jpg" /><br /><br />

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Agave Blooms


From the Smithsonian Institution, Department of Botany, Plant Image Collection.<br /><br /><img width="320" hspace="5" height="480" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/rah00072.jpg" /><br /><br />Agave schidigera (Agavaceae)<br />
Photo by R.A. Howard, Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution.<br /><br />

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Housing Market Tales of Woe


The market is so shot, they’re featuring cactus gardens to try to sell a house. <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1854&amp;entry_id=1672" title="http://www.coldwellbanker.com/servlet/PropertyListing?action=detail&ComColdwellbankerDataProperty_id=13036366&page=property" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.coldwellbanker.com/servlet/PropertyListing?action=detail&ComColdwellbankerDataProperty_id=13036366&page=property’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Coldwell Banker</a> has this listing in Ojai for $6.25m.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">A 1908 Myron Hunt Design. This is the historical winter home of Edward Drummond Libbey, the visionary philanthropist who transformed Ojai from a ramshackle western settlement into the modern architectural mecca it is today. A prosperous glass manufacturer, Libbey wintered in Ojai beginning in 1908. He is responsible for the original Wallace Neff clubhouse and the George C. Thomas, Jr. golf course of the Ojai Valley Inn and Country Club…. Myron Hunt, the renowned Los Angeles architect responsible for the Huntington Library, the Ambassador Hotel and many buildings at Caltech, Occidental College and Pomona College, designed the Libbey Estate in 1908…. Located on Foothill Road near downtown Ojai, the estate features three separate houses, an office, a recently built 60 foot tile pool <span style="font-weight: bold;">and extensive cactus and succulent gardens.</span> The property totals 3.7 acres</span><br /></div><br />Nice. A little pricey, but you’d get a lot for your money.<br /><br />

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