August 2008

California Native Plants20 Aug 2008 10:34 am

Achillea “Heidi” is a burgundy yarrow, but the blooms, even on one plant, come in pinks, reds and whites too. Alongside the yellow and terra cotta yarrows at the nursery, and some other pink and burgundy ones too, they are a proliferation of colors. Very beautiful. I recommend them for along sidewalk strips because they can take some abuse and some traffic and come back with big bloom sprays throughout the year.

News20 Aug 2008 07:34 am

Really they are. According to the latest news from the midwest’s farm industry news source, Farm Gate, that is.

Global warming or not, you may have cactus growing on your Cornbelt farm, and it may become a sticky issue to deal with, literally and figuratively. The pricklypear cactus has become an invasive specie of sorts, making its way from the desert southwest to pastures and fencerows of the Midwest. And you may prefer to wrestle a grizzly bear than a pricklypear.

It’s probably true. They’ve become a real problem for cattle in Australia, and if they escape from the fencerows into the fields, and there’s a big drought, then the cows will feel the hurt.

Blogs19 Aug 2008 07:38 pm

Carnwrite went to the Chicago Botanic Gardens and cactus show and shared some photos. Nice melocactus, and the dioscorea is to die for.

Blogs19 Aug 2008 02:39 pm

Pastor Lars has some very nice blooming ferocactus. It’s been raining in Arizona this year. You could check it out, you know.

News19 Aug 2008 11:36 am

Slithering out after it was a blacktail rattlesnake, which settled into the limbs of a mesquite tree that shades a newly formed section of the Arizona Trail….

Although the rattler appeared to have moved on, ocotillos, prickly pear cactus, wildflowers and other plant life had perked up after the latest round of monsoon showers.

News19 Aug 2008 09:19 am

In New Mexico they’re thinking about drilling on a mesa that may harm the groundwater and kill off the local cactus.

The mesa is a scenic 1.2 million-acre expanse of yuccas, cholla cactus and knee-high gramma grass. Drilling opponents warn that groundwater could be contaminated by oil and gas production.

And then in Boston they’re giving away succulent cuttings.

I cut off the top 4 to 6 inches of young stems… Then you need to practice patience….

If the leaves are thick – as they are with succulents – I may… force the plant to expand its root structure to ensure survival.

Sure you do.

Next on our trip around the country it’s off to the Tucson desert where the farmers are hoping for some rain.

The monsoon season, which officially started June 15, has been wetter than normal from Douglas to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

I’m sure the cactus are happy. Where else should we go? Any place else on our map? No? OK, then.

Well, I forgot about Florida. Shall we see what’s going on in Florida? They’re feeling the drought there.

What exactly does the term ‘xeric’ mean? That’s a very good question…

(A) planting scheme grouping plants by water needs; uses modern water application techniques; minimizes open areas in the garden; improves the soil; and sharply limits high-water plants like turf.

Remarkably, many of our favorite plants do nicely with less water (like) Jatropha.

Well, that was a fun voyage around the country looking at drilling and watering and planting and cutting. Tomorrow I think we should all go to Western Ontario and visit the The Sherwood Fox Arboretum together. Shall we say 2pm? See you there.

Environment19 Aug 2008 07:18 am

How quickly can plants migrate? We heard this report on the radio, and they have a slide show to go with it.

Scientists say the state’s plants are at risk of collapse unless they migrate or are moved to refuges. According to a new study, two-thirds of California’s unique plants, some 2,300 species that grow nowhere else in the world, could be wiped out across much of their current geographic ranges by the end of the century because of rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns.

Marin will look Baja. Berkeley like Bakersfield. That’s the projection of climatologists for the end of this century.

I’d guess that California cactus and dudleyas and sedums are probably going to be able to increase their range. But Berkeley will look like Bakersfield??? Oy, the pain.

Blogs18 Aug 2008 05:33 pm

Nice Pictures

Recipes18 Aug 2008 03:35 pm

Hugh has a recipe for limeade that includes the latest succulent rage in sweeteners.

Quick Cactus Limeade

2 cups water
the juice of 6 Mexican or key limes
2 tablespoons agave nectar (or more or less to taste)

Stir it. Ice it. Drink it.

News18 Aug 2008 01:27 pm

A newspaper in North Carolina tries out new products so you don’t have to and asks a good question.

The marketing: Both products ask me if I “want skin she can’t wait to get her hands on!” The shower scrub claims it contains cactus milk that exfoliates your skin, leaving it smooth and energized so she’ll keep coming back. (What is cactus milk?)

What is cactus milk? I should be able to handle that one for them. But no, I can’t maybe we could check wikipedia. Nope, nothing there. Google? Well, with this blog entry, I’m going to be the number one result on google for “cactus milk” by the end of the day. Just try it out. Anyway, Euphorbia abyssinica is sometimes called the Milk Tree, or even Milk Cactus, though it is not a cactus at all. 

Environment18 Aug 2008 11:24 am

In San Diego, they’re finishing up restoration efforts.

An environmental team is nearly finished with two major restoration projects of endangered plants at Otay Ranch in Chula Vista.

One is the Otay tarplant, which has branching stems, green leaves and small yellow petals.

The other is the maritime succulent scrub, an assemblage of plants and vegetation that consists of coast cholla cactus, barrel cactus, jojoba and other succulents.

That seems like a good thing. I’ve never heard of “maritime succulent scrub” as a way to refer to a collection of coastal cactus, and probably some dudleyas in there as well, maybe a sedum or two.

News18 Aug 2008 09:24 am

This Old House has rediscovered drought tolerant gardening now that the heat of summer is here.

Succulents Sempervivum

Succulents: Ideal Plants for SummerSempervivum tectorum (which along with the unrelated Echeveria x imbricata is commonly referred to as hens and chicks) is right at home in tight spots, such as a rock garden. Sempervivum ‘Carmen’ (shown) can also be nestled with smooth stones in a shallow, quick-draining garden.


How-to17 Aug 2008 12:07 pm

Misc16 Aug 2008 02:36 pm

I wonder if there is any connection to be found between these very exciting Beijing Olympics and the world of cactus? I wonder what comes up if I google olympics and cactus together? I wonder if there are any cactus in China, maybe next to the birdsnest? Maybe another venue is called the cactus spike?

Well, I don’t know what this “Air Jordan 6 Retro 2008 Olympics White Varsity Red Black Cactus” Nike sneaker has to do with either the Olympics or cactus, but you can buy it now. I’m sure it will make you faster.

Misc16 Aug 2008 07:35 am

You know when Philippe Starck uses a new theme in his designs that it’s hit the cultural moment. Here we have a Starckian cactus, Joe Cactus.

Very sleak, very moderne, practically the 1930s. Why, if I had to guess, I would think this was a juice squeezer, but no, it’s an ashtray. Très classy. Now all you cactus collectors out there can rest easy; you’re no longer a weird subculture, you’re a full-fledged trend.

Blogs15 Aug 2008 03:21 pm

Nice photos at the Succulent Dish. Three haworthias and a gasteria.

News15 Aug 2008 02:08 pm

Utah County man would like his peyote back.

That was fun.

News15 Aug 2008 01:07 pm

The Lakeland (FL ) Ledger has an article about monstrose cactus, but no pictures. How can that be?

Monstrose plants include cactus species that ordinarily display prominent ribs but sometimes grow atypically into non-ridged barrel, sphere or column-shaped specimens.

Much more dramatic, however, to the point of being radically disfigured, are cactus with misbehaving growing points that produce wavy or fan-shaped growth. Some of these distorted cactus are said to have a cristate, or crested, form.

Outstanding monstrose varieties are frequently found among Cereus cactuses such as C. peruvianus, jamacaru and hildmannianus. These wonderfully twisted plants shape themselves into eye-catching, living sculptures.

Equally awesome are monstrose varieties of Opuntia cactuses, including O. tunicata monstrosus and the striking O. vestita cristata.

Also densely festooned with spines are cristate kinds of Mammillaria cactuses, such as the white-spined M. lanata and the golden-spined M. elongata.

Yes, but where are the pictures?

News15 Aug 2008 09:28 am

Apparently there are native succulents along the Bayside Trail in San Diego, so the San Diego Tribune says. The trail itself is alongside the bay. I wonder what succulents they’ll find there?

Wildlife along the trail includes the California striped racer, the Western fence lizard, (and )the California whiptail.

Lizards are good. Any sign of the succulents yet?

In the background, visitors may hear a foghorn sounding at 10-second intervals.

That’s nice too. They seem to be near some WWI and WWII sites.

Near the lighthouse is one of the most attractive plants flowering this season: dudleya, known as “live-forever.” The gray-blue succulents have foot-long stems sprouting pink flowers. Another highlight is the tall and endangered Shaw’s agave.

There we are. That’s two. I wonder what Dudleya species they found?

Whippets15 Aug 2008 09:13 am

This is not a posed photo. I was lucky to have the camera nearby.

Benjamin and Jaxx and Hap.

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