Monday, July 13, 2009

Jerry Barad's 53rd Open House

Jerry Barad discusses salvaging plantlets from a favorite variegated Agave potatorum, which was in the process of dying after it flowered.

For more than half a century, Jerry and Bea Barad have been hosting an annual open house at their spectacular private collection of cacti and succulents in New Jersey. This year, the Massachusetts and Connecticut cactus clubs decided to work together to charter a bus down to Jerry's place for the big event.

Dr. Barad made a living as a gynecologist before his retirement, but in his free time he is also a serious student of succulent plants who has traveled extensively in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and the Canary Islands, and published his findings in national and international journals. His area of specialization is stapeliads (succulents in the Apocynaceae, or milkweed family), but he grows pretty much everything. Outside of stapeliads, his collections of Haworthia and Echeveria are especially impressive.

Stapeliad festival.

Stapelia vetula, which has dropped some of its milkweed-like seeds to the left of the flower.

Jerry has two greenhouses. The smaller one is devoted mainly to the Crassulaceae: Echeveria, Crassula, and other members of the stonecrop family. The larger, older greenhouse is divided into halves, with a warm section given over to stapeliads, pachypodiums and other more tropical plants, and a cooler section with cacti, Haworthia, mesembs and more.

Variegated Haworthia truncata. Nothing that a little 2, 4-D wouldn't clear up. I'm not a fan of variegates, but actually, that is impressive.

Outside of the greenhouse, the grounds are like a miniature botanical garden/zoo, with hardy cactus and succulent rockeries, koi pond, bamboo grove, orchards, sheep pasture, a giant vegetable garden and carefully tended borders with annuals and dozens of large Brugmansia (Angel's Trumpet) plants that are planted out every spring, then dug out and stored in a cool garage all winter. It must be an enormous job to take care of it all, but Jerry does have hired help.

The view from the house. The greenhouses are behind the clump of bamboo (Phyllostachys aureosulcata?) at left.

The trip went smoothly, and I think everyone had a great day photographing plants, meeting fellow enthusiasts from all over the region, and just lounging by the pool. I'll be looking forward to visiting the Barads again some time!

Connecticut visitors Martha B., Bill B. and Ken M. between the koi pond and the swimming pool.

Echeveria and other Mexican Crassulaceae in the smaller greenhouse.

Impatiens mirabilis, a semi-succulent lithophyte (plant that grows on rocks) from tropical Southeast Asia.

Euphorbia piscidermis, a remarkable example of evolutionary convergence with the unrelated cactus genus Pelecyphora.

Me next to a giant Adenia (A. fruticosa?), which apparently grew from a piece of stem that Jerry left by the post many decades ago.


Julie said...

Wow, wow, wow, is all I can say! What a gorgeous place Dr. Barad and his wife have! How great you were been able to attend. I cannot get over that variegated truncata! That thing is stunning!

How can you say you are not a fan of variegated succulents, generally??? I have a common ol' Gasteria gracilus variegata that I adore! You can see it HERE! I know you will love it, Matt!!! LOL!

Thanks for showing the tour of his beautiful grounds and succulent plants...what fun!!!

Matt said...

It was great trip-- the Barads have an amazing place!

To each his/her own with regard to variegated plants, but they usually look sort of sickly to me. Not your Gasteria, of course!

Julie said...


Have a wonderful rest of the week!!!

Carl Frederick said...

Those Impatiens mirabilis - wow, I guess if you have a tropical house maybe they're easy, otherwise forget it! They're unique fat things, aren't they?