- Author: Georgia Luiz
Lately, it seems I've been searching for hard to find cacti and succulents. This can become an interesting rabbit hole, leading to all kinds of eccentric people with passions for obscure species. Passions strong enough to get them to travel thousands of miles and go on expeditions for seeds in the wilds clear across the planet. This is what they do, it is how they roll, and once you get them started, just get comfy, because you'll be there a while. One of these meandering conversations led to the purchase of peyote seeds. No, not that kind. Lophophora williamsii, the infamous hallucinogenic is not legal for sale, which is fine by me, because I don't think I could bear to harvest it. These little cacti (Lophophora diffusa) are so cute. They look like green bellybuttons. And they are easily grown from seed. They popped up in 3 days. 5 out of 6 germinated. So if you're interested in an easy small indoor cacti any species of peyote cacti available for retail is a surprisingly easy choice.
- Author: Trisha Rose
Aeonium canarense of the Crassulaceae family of succulents grows well in our Solano County zone 9 (USDA zone) environment. This variety and others such as Aeonium urbicum originated in the Canary Islands. To tell you the truth, I am only sort of sure the variety I have in my garden is the "canarense" version. From time to time I think it's time to get my plants labelled, I find this shore much easier said than done. Usually there appears a comment somewhere in my search that doesn't quite agree with my specimens. The mother plants do form "dinner plate" sized rosettes and many pups grow from the main and only stem. My plants do closely match the internet site photos well, but the "canarense" variety is supposed to have hairs covering the leaves according to Annie's website (Annie's Annuals). I can "stretch" a description of my leaves to say there is a very fine velvet texture but not something I would call hairs. The other similar variety, "urbicum" grows much taller, the photos show specimen about 3 to 4 feet tall, mine grow more in a massive clump which could reach 3 feet across pretty easily. So for now, I am going to continue to enjoy my "Giant Velvet Rose" dinner plate sized succulents, pluck off the pups, and populate my garden with these bundles of joy and worry about labels later.
- Author: Georgia Luiz
Echeverias are some of my favorite succulents. I think I may be a collector. Their forms affect me in such a positive way. I do wish though, that more varieties were available in the U.S. I made the mistake of randomly searching on line for breath-taking specimens, only to find out later that they're only available in the U.K. or Australia. And they will not ship to me. Oddly enough though, in my random travels to the local big box stores, I find one or two of these hard to find plants for far cheaper. Wow that feels good. It's so strange that in such a fru-fru potentially high end collector's market, I get better results with random scavenging. Maybe I'll make my own hybrids.
- Author: Betsy Lunde
Today was quite interesting! I’m trying to do something (anything) in the back yard and the crows continue to caw: nothing like having your yard used as flight training school. Somewhere in the high grass near the shed is a “baby” crow who is not too sure about how these feathery things work. The term “baby” is not too descriptive – he/she is larger than the size a dove but young nevertheless!
I almost stepped on junior(ess?) yesterday while checking out the progress or lack of it I’m making in the side yard. (After 2 weeks previously of hacking and whacking at the rambler roses there, I’ve relocated a large raised bed with nothing in it. Well, almost nothing – “Bobbie James” decided to toss a runner in there and now it sits – denuded, but lethal all the same. Can’t dig it up – did I mention that I’ve been hung up at home for 2
months with a badly sprained knee (a knee, you say, surely you mean an ankle); nah, a knee and without 2 decently working knees, one simply doesn’t dig – trust me, brace and all—it doesn’t work! So I do what any other dedicated gardener does: I just stood there and glowered at it! The bush didn’t take the hint – it wants to bloom. Giving it another very short haircut, and it looks soo much better already.
But I did find a project: making 13 boxes for the upcoming Succulent Box planting class. Bruce, the woodworker, cut all the pieces of wood to size and I put them together! Ok, so I put them together with a lot of stand-by assistance in the form of advice. Bruce sat in the garage cum workshop (garage, yes right – couldn’t get a car in there with a shoehorn or wax from a candle.
I have found out more about 45 degree angles and how not to cut them than I care to know. When I get back to work and the State Parks Department goes into the box-making business, I’ll be in charge! But, I’ll graciously decline the job. Seriously,
I can now understand why these things are expensive – they are time consuming. But that not all I did...
For a long time now, I’ve wanted to catalogue my books so that I can not only find one when I need it, but also to crack down on duplicates. You know, when you find 2 or 3 of one book but not the one you thought you had and desperately need now!
The whole process only took 4 days – emptying shelves, entering, and replacing. Another time consuming job, but one that’s done and over. I have only 12 duplicate copies of
volumes now to get rid of. I’ll be sending Jennifer a list in case somebody needs additional books for their gardening libraries. It was actually rather nice to go through the books and see which were my mother’s first and which she bought for me.
Well, I’ll quit for now. My this and that ideas are coming to the fore and I need to write myself a note for future ventures outside. I sure hope the crow learns to fly in a hurry so that I can go out to the back without the constant cawing and dive bombing from mom and dad. Heck, I’ll teach him/her how to fly myself!
- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
Gardeners are always finding new ways to spice up the garden. After visiting the San Francisco Garden Show, held in San Mateo, I saw a lot of new ideas about how to reuse materials in the garden. Succulents seemed to play a big part of the reuse. At the Sunset venue, I saw this great table made from a recycled wooden pallet. It had this trough in the middle of the table that was planted with succulents. Très chic! Of course there is the ever-popular Succulent Gardens booth with their colorful varieties of succulents. If you visit this booth, you have to sharpen your elbows and dive in. Many of the people are fanatics about getting just the right succulent for their home. Among the other booths, I saw the use of succulents in grapevine wreaths, but what caught my eye was this cute 6”x6” redwood frame of succulents. I am sure many of you have seen the walls of succulents, and if you haven’t, they are something to behold. But this small frame really appealed to me, so I thought I would purchase the kit and try it making it at home. I purchased mine from Succulent Gardens http://sgplants.com/ . They have several sizes of frames to choose from. The kit came in the mail with the frame, consisting of recycled old growth redwood, a landscape fabric mesh, and a concrete board backing. Other items in the kit were the cactus/succulent mix, and of course, the succulents. On their website, they have a video of how to plant the frame with the soil and succulents. It’s worth a look.
I worked on my frame yesterday afternoon. I sat at the kitchen table and separated out the succulents by type. I then cleaned off the old leaves from each of the succulents. I then put the soil into the frame and packed it in. Once that was finished, I carefully placed the succulents onto the face of the frame. I also incorporated a few succulents I had at home just to make it more interesting. Since none of the succulents have roots at this point, I could arrange and rearrange the plants to my liking. What is going to be hard is the long wait until the succulents’ root-that will take about 6-12 weeks. After that, I can water the frame and hang it up. I will keep you posted on the frames progress.