It's hard to ignore the spike in popularity of the prickly pear. They're blazoned across PJs and iPhone covers, clocking up significant airtime on the emoji scale and today superseding logos and slogans swathed across the front of my T-shirt.
Perhaps most notably they've become the newest artwork/furniture/pet to grace our homes – and in particular home offices. Just check out Julie Sarinana's (of Sincerely Jules) swoon-worthy setup which is, for want of a better expression, total blogger goals.
When we were at Newcastle University, Olly treated me to an orchid. It was because I was ill in bed and majorly gutted I wasn't well enough to make it to a Babyshambles gig we'd had in the diary for ages (stay with me here). I was delighted with my new floral friend, but within a week it was dead. With the help of my housemate Izzie, we came up with the idea of clipping a fake but surprisingly lifelike flower to the long bare stem and Olly was none the wiser until the guilt ate me up and I came clean a few months later. My point is, unlike other indoor plants, desert-dwelling cacti are hardy folk, meaning less experienced gardeners can enjoy them without the guilt of watching them wither to a unfortunate end.
Googling the meaning of the cactus throws up many (in some cases conflicting) views. The ones I'm going to work with are:
1) Protection from danger and threats
2) Reminding yourself to thrive in your environment instead of just surviving
3) Warmth and care
or you can go with the Japanese belief that:
4) Giving a cactus to someone symbolises your sexual attraction to them