Spike in the winter gardens

Spike the Cactus is back!

One of Duthie Park’s most popular characters is returning from a very long two-year holiday – Spike the Talking Cactus will be back chatting to people in the Winter Gardens this afternoon.

They found themself in some ‘prickarious’ situations on their travels – which included seeing Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, the Taj Mahal, and of course the Mojave Desert in the US to see other barrel cacti – and decided to come back to Aberdeen after he found the snowy weather in the South Pole too cold.

They are now ready to get back to his job of entertaining visitors to the Arid House in the Winter Gardens – Spike’s voice changes depends on his mood, sometimes sounds male and sometimes sounds female.

Aberdeen City Council operational delivery convener Councillor Miranda Radley said: “Spike was allowed a special extended annual leave during Covid-19 and, being a barrel cactus, they weren’t affected by the virus so was free to travel around the world.

“It looks like they had a great time seeing all these places, however, it is fantastic they decided to come back home to the Winter Gardens to be enjoyed by everyone, young and old.”

Aberdeen City Council operational delivery vice convener Councillor Ian Yuill said: “Spike has been a great favourite in the Winter Gardens with residents and visitors alike for many years and he took a well-deserved holiday in the last two years.

“I’m sure they will be welcomed back by everyone and will be a popular attraction again.”

Spike arrived in the Winter Gardens in 1980 and at some point represented Aberdeen City Council at the Glasgow Flower show. They have 1,666 spikes and a competition was held several years ago for people to guess how many spikes - a young girl came within two spikes and she has a tree in the park with a commemorative plaque. Spike has also assisted in several marriage proposals over the years.

Spike was removed from the Winter Gardens in 1998, rumoured due to their cheeky demeaner, but was reinstated in 2011 after a successful local campaign to bring them back.

The Winter Gardens are within the family-friendly Duthie Park which is within easy walking, cycling and bus journey reach of the city centre, and has the biggest range of facilities of all the city’s parks including water features, playparks, café, Japanese Garden, and Winter Gardens.

A call was also made today for more male and female volunteers to help bring Spike to life – they are known for being pretty fly for a cacti so people taking part need to be chatty and enjoy interacting with people and particularly children. Weekends are most needed, and anyone interested should speak with staff at the Winter Gardens.

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