She likes to use fresh basil, so I had to take her to one of the local garden centres, Naturplant, to buy a plant. And a very nice plant it was, too (actually, she bought two).
While we were at the garden centre, we also took a look at the cacti. They usually have a good selection of small cacti and now was no exception. This time, however, they clearly had recently had a delivery of larger cacti. Elise called me over to see on, a beautiful Echinocactus grusonii.
Well, we hadn't intended to buy a cactus, but this was an excellent specimen and the price was also right, so it didn't take us long to decide to purchase it.
The Echinocactus grusonii has a diameter of just about 55 cm. and a circumference of about 170 cm., so it's quite a size. The person who delivered it estimated it to weigh at least 40 Kg. I estimate it to be between thirty and forty years old.
Popular names for Echinocactus grusonii include Golden Barrel Cactus, Golden Ball, or, my favourite, Mother-in-Law's Cushion.
If you'd like to learn more about the care of Echinocactus grusonii, the best site I've found is this one.
A while ago we visited Cactus d'Algar, a wonderful botanical garden at Callosa d'en Sarrià (inland from Benidorm, close to the Fuentes del Algar) devoted to cacti. There we saw this huge field of Echinocactus grusonii:
Elise will have to buy a lot more basil for us to reach that stage!