Rare cacti saved from dying out - by being bred in the district

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rare and exotic cacti facing extinction around the world are being bred and preserved by expert gardener Craig Barber.

Species which originate from countries including Mexico, Somalia, Madagascar and Thailand can be found in the 48-foot greenhouse at Mr Barber’s business William’s Cactus.

Set up four years ago, the company in South Elmsall is named after Mr Barber’s son and was inspired by his father Henry, also a keen gardener.

Mr Barber, 43, said Hawaiian Brighamia Insignis - palm cacti which grow on the cliff’s of the Central Pacific archipelago - were among rare examples being rescued from dying out.

He said: “There are just a couple of cliffs where they grow and the cliffs are falling into the sea.

“Some plants are dying out because of the destruction of habitats.

“Some can be preserved by taking cuttings, others by grafting.

“There are a range of different techniques.

“I have plants from all around the world.

“Some of them are nearly extinct in the wild. Breeding programmes in this country help to save the plants.”

Williams Cactus, on Brookside Terrace, has won awards since being set up in December 2013, most recently a Silver Gilt Award at the Harrogate Flower Show for a display of cacti and succulents.

Mr Barber, 43, is preparing to enter the Royal Horticultural Society Chatsworth Flower Show in June.

And he has been asked to appear on Gardener’s World Live in the 50th year of the BBC show.

Mr Barber said: “It’s a big show and they are doing a special programme around the event.

Mr Barber will also take part in the British Cactus and Succulent Society (BCSS) show at Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens next month.

The BCSS gives out grants for research into the biology, propagation or cultivation of cacti.