Darren and I had, on many occasions in the past, discussed the possibility of relocating a majority of his cacti in order to free up more space in the backyard for our children to play. He had collected so many plants in the years we've lived here that they occupied a large portion of our yard, and we no longer felt safe just letting the children run around and play out there. (Especially Kristen, who, quicker than lightning, has already had a few run-ins with them.) So the cactus garden, too, underwent an exciting renovation and has now become a lovely little picnic nook!
We kept the large main "island" with many of our taller or bushier native plants, and moved many of the taller cacti to the border against both walls. (They meet in the corner of the desert garden.) All the plants from the center of the native area were relocated, to clear an area which will become a pumpkin patch, and then Darren painstakingly moved the many, many little cacti from below the big Mexican Elder and tucked them in wherever there was room among the other plants.
We pulled weeds, raked leaves and twigs, moved more rocks and gravel, and have finally created the neatest little picnic area beside his handsome cactus garden! And it will be so neat when that large center area is full of pumpkins. :) Here are a couple pictures I took recently at different times of day. The picnic table is completely shaded by late afternoon, perfect for dinners outside this summer! We hung a wind chime up within the branches of the tree, and there is the sweetest little nest we've been watching expectantly these past few days. I love our new picnic garden! Eventually I'd like to line the walkway with these beautiful outdoor Stations of the Cross, so we can have our own little winding "prayer path", through the desert garden, but those can come at a later date. I think what we have right now is perfectly lovely, and I can't wait to spend many happy evenings out there this summer!