I'm a little lost on the first 8 rows of this pattern. It's a scarf supposed to look like a cactus in a pot. The cactus part is just puff stitches which I've practiced and seem to be ok with. The pot though I can't figure out the instructions:

Chain 12 : Well ok i can do this

R1: Turn ch 1 , sc into first 11ch 3 sc into 12th ch without turning continue going around the other side of the chain, sc into the next 10ch , 2sc into the last sl st into the first

So i think this is just going up one side of the chain and down the other, and some triple and double rings into specific chains? looking over rounds i may need some markers

Now working in the round and i'm totally lost
R2: ch1 hdc into sl st (ch 1 doesn't count as st) hdc into next 11, 2 hdc into next, hdc x12 ,2hdc sl st into first hdc (28)

I'm not sure how this is working in the round if it's starting with a 12 chain and just sc around the 12 chain then working in the round around that? I thought working in the round you usually crocheted into the first loop of the chain, which this doesn't talk about? or is that implied but "working in the round"
totally lost. Any pointers? I think the r3-8 are just variations on r2 so if i can get r1 and r2 solid i can get the pot done and to the easy part of the cactus. these 8 rows i've tried 3 times and just get an oval, which doesn't look anything like the picture.

here's the bane of my winter so far: