Nearly 90 years ago, a German named Harold Blossfeld set sail on an expedition to South America. He travelled about 6000 kilometres over two years through Bolivia, Peru and Argentina looking for one thing: cacti.
In Australia, cactus hobbyist Ralph Field had invested in the voyage, paying £200 for his share of the guaranteed shipment of 1000 different varieties back to Melbourne.
The plants that made it across the ocean in the 1930s formed the bulk of what would become the Field Cactus Farm in Tennyson, in northern Victoria – one of the most significant cactus collections in the country.
From this month, Melburnians can see the stunning array of cacti and succulents in various shapes and sizes as part of the new arid garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens.