Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Helping themselves to a garden dinner of salads and fruits are Glendale residents, from left, Carma Watrous, Arnella Putzel and Annette Allison. (Courtesy photo / August 10, 2012)

The perfect respite from the summer heat was a garden dinner potluck on the spacious lawn of the Glendale home of Kathy and Kent Lee. On Thursday about 50 members of the second ward Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered in the early evening twilight for supping and socializing.

Through their Relief Society, members have spent countless hours hand-sewing colorful pillow cases for young patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Each patient takes their pillowcase home after their hospital stay.

Glendale residents on hand included Relief Society President Cary Corrigan, daughter-in-law Karen Corrigan, Myrna Hillquist, Lois Frost, Nanette Allison, Nancy Kochi, Carolyn Crane, Carma Watrous, Jerry Shanklin, Sharon Chadsey and June Alvord with daughter Lisa Salomon. Salomon works for the city’s Neighborhood Services.

More Glendale residents included Arnella Putzel, Angela Prieto, Rebecca Dahl, Heather Pond and Holly Gardiner, who was accompanied by one-year-old daughter Maggie Gardiner.

The Relief Society’s monthly Humanitarian Aid Days produce the pillowcases from fabric with cartoon characters donated by Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank.

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The eagerly anticipated 27th annual Cactus and Succulent Show was held over the weekend at the Los Angeles Arboretum. The show is a joint venture of the San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles and Long Beach Societies. The show was free with Arboretum admission of $8.

More than 1,000 visitors braved the heat to go home with their favorite cactus plant. Many came from far-flung San Gabriel Valley communities. On Sunday Alline Gee of North San Bernardino toted home two overflowing boxes of cacti and succulents. She will add them to her yard of more than 200 cactus plants and a smattering of palm trees. Gee appreciates her low-maintenance garden and plans to add more cactus.

Silver Lake resident Dorothea McArthur is a clinical psychologist whose says her patients find her sunlit back porch of succulent arrangements “soothing.” McArthur did her best to limit herself to two boxes of cacti and succulents that cost more than $100. She says her somewhat expensive hobby “keeps me out of mischief.”

Altadena resident Tom Glavich is one of three show chairmen and knows a thing or two about cacti and succulents. He says the biggest mistake people make in caring for their desert plants is not giving them enough water in the summer and forgetting to fertilize them. Too much shade is also a no-no. Another hint is to plant them in a clean container with a drain hole. Remove pests by using alcohol on a brush. Insecticidal soap is also effective.

Glavich pointed out a prize-winning Mammillaria Pettersonii that is part of a private collection. He estimates that the cactus, the blossoms of which are almost as big as a man's head, is worth $200 but is not for sale. Remarking about the distances cactus-lovers came for the show, Glavich said one man came from Arkansas.

The 19th Annual San Gabriel Valley Winter Cactus and Succulent Show and Sale will be held on Nov. 3rd and 4th, also at the Arboretum.

RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.