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Keeping up our record of ‘fashionably lateness’ we arrived some 10 minutes after the agreed time at the house of John Bleck, to admire his collection (S1243). This reflects his great all round knowledge of plants found in nature and horticulture – the diversity was fantastic compared to my 99% cactus collection. And his knowledge about each plant appeared as detailed as any specialist collector might have about their limited range of plants. John provided yet another example of the great hospitality that we were enjoying. Lots more invitations had been received for visits to private collections, gardens and nurseries, but there are only 24 hours in the day, even in California, and only 14 more days before we meet Alain for our Mexico adventure and we had more places to go and plants to see in nature before then.

S1244 is west of the small the town of Lompock. We had been told to look for Dudleyas near the railway station and sure enough, some 5 miles before we got there, we spotted them along the side of the road.

S1245 was the actual Amtrak Station, called Surf Beach, California. No surfers today – perhaps due to the inclement weather, strong winds and the ‘White Shark In Line Up’ notice on the notice board. Glottyphyllum sp. had been used to stabilise the sand dunes and seems to make a reasonable job of it. John Bleck had told us that studies had confirmed the South African origin of this yellow flowered plant and its pink and purple cultivars that escaped into nature here and in the other countries that we had visited in South America during this trip. It is a real threat to local endemic flora as it is tough as old boots and glad to squeeze endemic flora out of their natural niche habitats. The same is true for Eucalyptus that we have seen in nature in every country that we have visited since 1 November 2008.

We were invited back for another night at Terry & Rob Skillin’s and had another great evening with excellent food, wine and chat.

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