There was time in my life when I could easily answer the question whether I knew what a cactus was. Certainly, I thought I knew. Who doesn’t know it?
But as soon as I got deeply interested in these decorative and peculiarly remarkable from the biological point of view plants, I realized at once that I knew nothing about them. Absolutely nothing. None of my friends was a cactus specialist. All of them stood at the same level of knowledge, or ignorance, I’d rather say. Therefore, I turned to special literature for help. Fortunately, there were a lot of books about cactuses, especially in German and English, and I began to read them with the highest hopes. I never doubted that learned and skilled authors would surely teach me everything I needed. However, strange as it may seem, my idea of cacti that was vague from the very beginning became more and more intricate and complicated with each new book that I read. Apparently, there was hardly a question connected with the culture and classification of cactuses about which two different authors had the same opinion. Some considered heather soil to be the most suitable for cactuses, others, on the contrary, warned the reader against using it; if one author claimed, that cactuses can be raised only in small clay pots, another spoke for advantages of group planting in wooden boxes; some supposed that inoculation is the best choice for those who grow cacti at home, while others told the reader “keep your hands off inoculation”.
Enough to get “a little bit” frustrated. If my interest to cacti was not so great at that time, I would simply have refused from the idea of having my own cactus collection in my room.
Since then much time has passed. I have several hundreds of cacti. I learned to grow and take care of them. But I still remember how desperately I looked for those brief and fluent lines about events, tests and attempts that led this or that cactus specialist to his or her persuasions. It always seemed to me, that if the author could tell in detail about the ways how he had come to the final decision, his readers could make better use of his experience by comparing circumstances and conditions with their own and estimating how suitable this or that tip would be for their cactus collections.
Depending on different conditions the same method may be useful and harmful. In other words, I would like to know not only what the cactus specialist prefers and recommends, but also what makes him do it. After all no advice has value if it is given in isolation from a concrete situation. As the same method can be either useful or harmful depending on different conditions.
That is why I came up with the thought to arrange a website, that wouldn’t just give ready-made tips, rules and recipes, but that would be like a diary, a journal of a cactus lover. My task is to take your hand and guide you through the way traversed. I hope to save you from disappointment and frustration by telling you about my own mistakes and blunders. I want to show you the shortest path to the wonderful cactus world. The world inhabited by these beautiful, enduring, miraculous and contradictory plants.