October 2008

Blogs31 Oct 2008 02:40 pm

It’s an amazing closeup of a bee in a cactus flower.

Borrowed from Framed and Shot Copyright © 2008 (Gording / Schjerverud)

Photography31 Oct 2008 10:08 am

Yesterday’s butterfly was a nice straight-on shot of the back of the wings.

Here we see that the underside of the wings has even more aggresive patterning. Nice.

I like the butterfly patterning juxtaposed with the Euphorbia milii’s inflorescence patterning. Nice bracts.

Quotes31 Oct 2008 09:29 am


You’ll just have to click this link to find out more, if you’re not afraid….

(I’d be afraid, very afraid, if I were you.)

Whippets31 Oct 2008 07:38 am

The National Geographic gets in the holiday spirit with their photo of the day.


Mummy Hand, Magdalena de Cao, El Brujo, Peru, 2004
Photograph by Ira Block

A close-up shows the desiccated hand of a remarkably preserved woman from Peru’s ancient Moche culture. The discovery of her elaborately wrapped remains at a ceremonial site called El Brujo puzzled archaeologists, who were surprised by what appeared to be a female ruler among the male-dominated Moche.

© 1996-2008 National Geographic Society

Blogs30 Oct 2008 03:35 pm

cactus and bottle photo by pelrohde.

their harmony and the rain outside prompted me to take these pictures. i will experiment with the cactus more later on, i decided.

News30 Oct 2008 02:33 pm

Donna from Leechburg, PA won a “Coolest Homemade Birthday Cakes” award, or something, for this cactus cake.


Photography30 Oct 2008 08:08 am

Butterfly on a Euphorbia milii with a Coleonema pulchellum in the background.

Nice patterning.

Misc30 Oct 2008 07:35 am

Well now, that’s nifty.

I don’t know who took the photo. It was sitting on the desktop of the computer.

[Update: Lawn and Photo credit: San Marcos Growers.]

Seems like a good drought-tolerant meadow solution.

Misc29 Oct 2008 02:37 pm

Well, it turns out that you can leave your succulents outdoors this winter after all! Let DIY tell you how.

Led by the russet-colored (Sedum) ‘Autumn Joy,’ the many varieties of drought-tolerant sedum are wonderful choices in the fall garden, providing blooms from pink to red with green, bronze, or variegated foliage. Instead of cutting them back after frost, many gardeners leave these tough succulents standing for winter interest.

Hardy to zone 3, depending on variety.

Misc29 Oct 2008 12:34 pm

From greenwaredesign at Etsy comes this nice dish of succulents.

It’s a handcrafted bowl for only $40. Very nice.

I wonder what that backdrop to the photo is?

Quotes29 Oct 2008 11:39 am

“I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” Barack Obama

Questions29 Oct 2008 10:32 am

What to do when a barrel cactus topples over? Let’s ask the Arizona Republic, shall we?

Q: We have a very tall barrel cactus (fishhook?) that is about 4 feet tall and 18 inches in diameter. It also has 3 large “bulbs” on the top, each of which is about 10 inches in diameter. Unfortunately, it recently toppled over, and it looks like the cause was old age . . . . Can we save some of the beautiful piece of flora?

– Paul Cechovic,
Cherry Hill, N.J.

A: Yes, you can save pieces of your barrel cactus. Those bulbs are stems that grow from the mother plant. They naturally fall from the plant, root themselves and start a new plant.

They are known as offsets or pups. Cut off the pups and let them air dry for a week in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. The cuts need to heal, or callus, before replanting.

Transplant into a pot containing a well-draining soil made for cactuses. You can mix your own by using equal parts potting soil, pumice and sand or decomposed granite. Water and allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.

Now you know.

News29 Oct 2008 08:31 am

Apparently they tell you to bring the succulents indoors when it starts to get cold in the UK.

It’s better to leave succulents and pelargoniums out as late in the season as possible, but once frost is forecast in your area, get them indoors or under glass.

That’s good advice if you care to take it in the UK.

My advice if you live in the UK is to wear a scarf. Wool, preferably. I prefer stripes myself. Striped scarfs in the UK are a good idea.

I wonder what it means to put your succulents under glass in the UK?

How-to&Questions28 Oct 2008 02:09 pm

From Athens, Georgia they get questions about growing cactus from cuttings.

I have some cactus growing in my yard and I would like to propagate it so I can have it in other parts of my yard. When would be the best time to do this and how?

– Lauren M., Watkinsville

I am guessing that you have some sort of prickly pear cactus in your yard. The best time to propagate this cactus would be in the spring when the plant is actively growing. Your cactus is probably going semi dormant with cold weather approaching. In the spring, use a sharp knife and cut off whole individual pads at the node (where the pads meet). Place these cuttings in a dry, shady area for one to two days to allow the cut to heal or scab over. Once, the cut has healed, place the cut end in shallow soil or sand for rooting. Make sure the soil does not stay too wet or the cactus will rot. It could take several weeks to a couple months to establish a healthy root system. Once the pad has rooted, dig it up and move to the desired sunny area in your yard and enjoy.

Misc28 Oct 2008 12:04 pm

If you’re in the UK you can buy this cactus seed grow kit.

I love the packaging. very nicely done. And at £12.75 it’s a bargain. However, the instructions and growing media they have in the pack is nothing we would recommend for growing cactus from seeds. Maybe England is so very different from California.

Then again, they do say:

This is a novelty gift and must be regarded as such.

Someday we’re going to put together a seed box kit too.

News28 Oct 2008 10:56 am

Tommy Engeman of Bethany Beach has created 18 published stamps and 60 state stamps that started coming into circulation this summer. (Scott Nathan photo)…

“They have to be right … or what’s the point of doing it. If it’s a cactus, it has to be the correct cactus,” said Engeman.

Now that’s a quality stamp.

How-to28 Oct 2008 08:55 am

It’s getting a bit late in the year to be planting cactus in the ground. So what now? What can you do? Why you can plant them in indoor containers, that’s what you can do.

Container cactus gardens allow homeowners… to have the pleasure of a small piece of the desert up close…

Several key elements are required to create a successful succulent or cacti container….

(D)esign is probably the most important element in creating a beautiful container.

Oh that is so true. For instance, if you choose a cheap red container from Ikea and a cheap plastic cactus from Home Depot and some cheap plastic rocks from Walmart, well then you have come up with a bad design scheme and should not be let anywhere near a container.

Blogs27 Oct 2008 04:17 pm

The Texas Highways Blog reminisces about West Texas and the cactus.

Common wisdom says if you’re not originally from West Texas, you usually have to live there for a while to appreciate its attractions, but then you’re hooked for life. Having lived in Lubbock after growing up in southeast Texas, I can attest to that fact. In my case, it took almost a year, but I eventually came to treasure the flatlands and canyonlands that at first seemed so foreign to me….

We spent the rest of the day just visiting and touring Alice’s expansive cactus/rock garden, which now takes up at least a third of the yard. Not only does she know each plant by name, she can tell you where each rock came from—Austin, Kyle, Coleman, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada…the list goes on and on. She knows because she handpicked each one and placed it herself. (Bill lent a hand with the larger ones.) Besides rocks, cacti, succulents, grasses, and other low-maintenance plants, the garden features bleached skulls from hapless cows, deer, coyotes, and javelinas donated by friends; several large pots; weathered tree trunks; and a dolmen (a bench made with two or more upright stones capped by a horizontal stone). Alice invites viewers: The cactus garden is just east of the Muleshoe Country Club.

That’s a nice story. You could click the link to read the rest of it, although I did copy a lot of it here. But there’s more for you too, if you click through.

News27 Oct 2008 11:24 am

They might have become the biggest battleground state in the election, but in Pennsylvania it’s always the right time to plant succulents.

There are no rules anymore….

“We all make it up as we go along,” says the owner of Flower Child in Center City.

That’s a relief…

She also likes four-inch pots of succulents in a shallow wooden bowl filled with pebbles….

“It looks like the succulents are emerging from the rocks,” she says.

I understand she also likes the begonias, as do we all.

News27 Oct 2008 08:24 am

Because it’s the start of the Christmas Cactus season in Chicago, according to the Sun-Times.

Now’s the perfect time to buy a Christmas cactus, a plant that looks plain at first but blooms at Christmas time if cared for properly….

Care must be taken not to underwater it, as a Christmas cactus is in origin a tropical plant, not a true cactus. Do not soak the soil after a dry period; only moisten the top few inches, since buds, flowers and even leaves can fall off if the roots are suddenly saturated.

Well! I’m shocked! They don’t know what they’re talking about in Chicago. The plant may be from the tropical jungles of brazil, but it is a true cactus. And you’d think they’d have a picture. But no, nothing.

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