Arizona Cactus Ranch is a homestead in South Australia situated between Windsor and Wild Horse Plains. The Cactus Ranch garden is a lost icon to South Australia. It was a popular free tourist attraction on the road to Port Wakefield from the 1950’s and disappeared in the 1980’s.

A Quote from The Advertiser when replying to a question from a reader:                           “The garden was started by Mr. Joe Lowey in 1952 as a hobby. Mr. Lowey who died recently had always wanted to be a landscaper and built up the garden entirely by himself after he had worked on a farm at Windsor. He first thought of the idea of a cactus garden in America, where he lived for some years. As Mr. Lowey left no will, the garden is now in the hands of the State Government’s trustees.”

A Quote from  nowandthen {Mallala} website tells more of the story:                                           Mr. Joe Lowey came to Windsor with his parents and brother in 1929. He purchased section 492 Hundred of Dublin in 1935. Joe Lowey constructed the garden and rockery on his section in 1951 on the property abutting Highway One about 5 kilometres north of Windsor. The stone for the rockery was collected from the ruins of the Hollams cottage on Secomb Road near Windsor and other items collected from around the district were incorporated in the displays. The rockery covered about 3 acres of land and Mr. Lowey had 50 to 60 varieties of Cacti – all watered only by natural rainfall. The rockery was visited by people from all around the world and the visitors’ book confirms this to be correct. Mr. Joe Lowey died and the property was eventually sold. Following the church service to commemorate the centenary of the Windsor Institute on Sunday 12th August 1984, a plaque on the site of the Cactus Garden was dedicated by Rev. Kelvin Benn in memory of Mr. Joe Lowey.”

The garden was closed to the public when Port Wakefield Road became a dual carriageway. It has since fallen into a state of disrepair. Few people speeding past on their way to Port Wakefield would even notice the roadside remains from this once popular place.

While the reality no longer matches the memories of visitors from years ago, the lost Cactus Ranch remains a powerful attraction for nostalgia lovers and Adelaidians who travel North. Recently, when driving with friends to the Flinders Ranges, we visited this surreal place. It was an awesome garden to visit back in its hey-day and it was good to revisit and remember.

Something of its former glory shows through and is preserved in the photos I share.




3 thoughts on “CACTI CREATIVITY

  1. Well I don’t really like the prickliness of cacti but the flowers can be gorgeous! I saw a speeded up film of cacti flowers opening up the other day and the variety is stunning!


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