This blog is now sugar FREE, fat FREE, gluten FREE, all ORGANIC and all NATURAL!!

Friday, June 14, 2024




Ocean View

I am not a botanist, but I am sometimes observant and nature fascinates me.

Mrs. C and I along with occasional second and third generations of cranks and or other relatives and friend drop-ins are at our Jersey Shore rental.  The rental is a small apartment off the garage of Mrs. C’s Aunt Catherine’s home, a mere 50 yards from the beach.

This morning, I took my morning coffee to a bench overlooking the ocean.  

As beautiful and calming as an ocean view is, my eyes were drawn to the large dunes that were built after super storm Sandy many years ago.


The dunes protect ocean front homes from rising waters. Of course, this probably ultimately directs the rising water to the bay, making those homes vulnerable to rising waters destruction.  You cannot stop water; you only redirect it…anyway that is another rant.

When they built the dunes, they also planted special grass in neat rows for the roots to grow deep and hold in the sand, which after 12 years has been pretty successful.  What caught my interest was how the fauna of the dunes has changed.

The rows of grass have lost some of their neat farm-like row quality.  Much of the grass has expired or perhaps gone dormant, seemingly in the spots that may drain rain water the fastest.  In place of the grass, several other varieties of plants, bushes or grasses have filled in to also hold the sand.

Of particular interest to me was one small patch of cacti that has taken hold. 


Where the heck did cactus come from?  I’m pretty sure cactus in not indigenous to New Jersey…we have zero deserts in New Jersey.

The cactus was flowering, and I know I had seen these flowers somewhere before…hmm.

Got it!

Auntie Catherine has a pot of ornamental cactus on her back deck where I sometimes BBQ dinner.  One small pot of cacti.

Apparently, the wind has carried her cactus seeds, or a bird has feasted and them pooped a seed onto this one small spot on the dune and from there a crop of cacti has taken root and spread.

Much like animals or plants get transferred across the world’s oceans on ships, tides, or birds, so has Auntie C’s cactus moved to the dunes. 

Sometimes this transfer process we declare as invasive.  Without natural enemies these migrants can change the environment. 

But are they really invasive?  Do they destroy native plants and or animals or do they just change the environment. 

The environment will eventually adapt after maybe hundreds of years.  Hundreds of years to us humans is destructive.  To nature it just is.  The world adapts.  We are just visitors and while we like to think we can control nature, we really cannot.

We can and should do our best to not harm our environment, especially as nature’s adaptive ways might necessitate our species demise, but we are not as controlling of the forces of the environment as we like to think.

Anyway, I wonder how many people will glance at these Jersey dunes in the future and wonder, “Where the Hell did the cactus come from!”

I know.




  1. We do need to respect and take care of this Earth on which we live.

    You raise an interesting question about whether invasives really are that or is this simply what we perceive them to be. Much wiser heads than mine will have to take up this discussion.

  2. Auntie C, doing her part for [beach] diversity!

  3. The cactus will eventually fill any available space on the dunes and from there will spread even further over time.

  4. That is so cool! However, if someone walked there not being as observant as you because maybe looking at their phone, I imagine a few squeals will be heard! Ouch! Have a wonderful vacation with the family and enjoy that beautiful beach!

  5. Interesting how you noticed an out-of-place cactus and traced it back to Aunt Catherine's porch. Nature truly is fascinating. I'm glad you posted about it so now we know the secret, too.

  6. I just hope someone doesn’t step on the cactus in bare feet. Ouch. 🌵

    1. Along with the pain, there is a $50 fine for walking on the dune!

    2. i loved how you write dear Joe

      how nice you took your coffee on that bench and it led you write this lovely post
      so true that plantation helps sand to stay stable to avoid harm by the water but as you said we can only redirect it .
      nature has flawless wisdom that seeps into her veins smoothly we don't have power to manipulate it .all we can do is to add worst in our environment sadly
      thanks for posting