November 2008

Blogs30 Nov 2008 08:44 am

The Christian Science Monitor’s garden writer decided to stay indoor in winter and instead of visiting gardens has visited garden blogs, including our humble blog.

The Cactus Blog actually belongs to a California Nursery, Cactus Jungle, not an individual. Although its focus is San Francisco and Berkeley, its range is actually country- and worldwide.

Can you imagine a labyrinth created with succulent plants? I look forward to returning to learn more about that. Did you know that prickly pear cactus grows well in parts of Italy? I had to laugh out loud at the discussions of Canadians and cactus — cactus with eggs for breakfast, a “cactus cam” aimed at a houseplant — do you think that’s like watching grass grow?

It’s drolly entertaining and informative at the same time.

I may have to add that quote to the top of the blog.

Plus she visited blog friends Water When Dry and Plants Are the Strangest People, always a good thing  to do.

Environment&News28 Nov 2008 03:09 pm

The endangered cactus wren is now moving into urban environments, or rather the urban areas are moving into the wren’s habitat.

Urbanization turns large areas of wild land into cities and suburbs, and has a profound effect on native speicies, changing where they live and how they interact,” says Paige Warren, an urban ecologist…

“The cactus wren is usually associated with the desert, since it builds nests in the protection of cacti and other thorny plants,” Warren explains. “However, this native species was able to penetrate the urban ecosystem more successfull the phaniopepla, and has been seen nesting in satellite dishes and other man-made structures.”

Nice job, little wren.

National Parks&News28 Nov 2008 11:02 am

Permits now available from the Tonto National Forest.

Rafting permit applications for the Upper Salt River Canyon Wilderness are now available from the Tonto National Forest.

The Salt River… flows through oak and juniper woodlands down into striking Lower Sonoran desert vegetation with its giant multi-armed saguaro cactus as well as cactus of every description.

Several side canyons reveal oasis-like microhabitats.

Whippets28 Nov 2008 09:02 am

Benjamin sits quietly yesterday waiting for his turn at the Thanksgiving leftovers.

He kept looking at the giant turkey carcass in the kitchen thinking that would all be his. Hah!

Recipes27 Nov 2008 08:19 am

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers. And to the Canadians, Happy Fletcher Day.

Here we present a recipe that calls for both turkey and cactus. However, since it’s a frittata, it’s probably best as a morning after leftover breakfast kind of meal.

Cactus Frittata
Don’t limit yourself to serving this for breakfast and brunch, frittatas are great anytime of day or night!

Olive Oil
2 Leeks, white parts only, sliced
1 Bulb of Elephant Garlic
2 Ears of organic corn
3 Chipotle Peppers, chopped fine
4 Paddles of seared cactus, sliced into 4″ strips
1 Tomato, diced
1/2 Cup Goat Cheese
6 eggs

Turn your oven on to about 425 degrees….

You’ll have to click through for the rest of the instructions.

And if you were wondering why the recipe for what I am calling a “cactus and turkey recipe” doesn’t actually include any turkey in it at all…. Well… It’s a frittata so you can add any ingredient like turkey pretty easily now, couldn’t you, like you had to ask. Just throw in some leftover turkey and you’re golden!

Here, let me help.

1lb leftover roasted turkey, cut into small cubes


Photography26 Nov 2008 02:29 pm

Sedum spathulifolium

Questions26 Nov 2008 01:18 pm

You might remember me.. I’m the one who has some fairly rare seedlings and am doing my best to grow them indoors – here in Utah.

Here is how I normally mist these tiny seedlings (still the size of rice, but more round and now sprouting some spines). I take the green box which I bought from your store and keep it at arm’s length (fully extended). I then spray distilled water in the air and kind of move the container around to get a light even mist but nothing soaking. It worked well until tonight. Tonight, the container slipped out of my hands and landed on the ground – carpet. I did my best to find and carefully isolate the 20-30 seedlings that are still going. As you suggested the medium is simply coir and finely crushed carbon on top. Obviously, after the fall, I lost about 2/3’s of everything. Things were clean so I loaded the container full of coir/carbon. Next I carefully placed each seedling in the soil. I used a small allen key to make an indentation and simply put the seedling (roots first obviously – though I was amazed at how few roots existed) into this whole. Finally, I misted again in the same way.

So, my questions are:
1.What are the likely effects of this? I assume I will lose some of these seedlings. That saddens me, but if there is anything I can do, I will do it. That includes re-doing the whoe container with fresh coir and carbon.

2.The top layer is now predominately coir. This concerns me as I know the carbon protected things by providing a non-nutrional covering. If I don’t do the step above, should I even bother with the carbon now that I have seedlings and haven’t had mold since I allowed for fresh-air-exchange (via holes in the clear plastic lid).

I sat and held these seedlings on the drive from Berkeley to Utah. They really mean a lot to me. However, I know the over-correction is common in this sort of situation and generally has bad implications. So, I appeal to you and your love for Cacti. What would YOU do? The genus is Lophophora if that matters at all (not the notorious species, but another).

Thanks so much,

Our Reply is after the break… (more…)

Misc25 Nov 2008 02:04 pm

It’s Tokidoki’s Cactus Friend Carina!

She’s so cute and pettable. Why hasn’t anyone found any LOLcarina’s? It’s a crime.

Nursery&Photography25 Nov 2008 12:46 pm

I’m back from the sinus troubles, and feeling mostly OK now, and just in time for the family coming to stay over Thanksgiving.

Plus, it appears I’m having a photography exhibition at the store, really our 4th Art Exhibition of the year!

You know my photos from the website and the blog, now see them in person – enlarged and framed.

Or just take a break from Black Friday and come have some fine wines (Hap’s been picking out some nice ones), warm coffee and bread + cheeses too.

Peter Lipson Photography
November 28 – December 24, 2008

Opening Party
Friday, November 28, 2:00 pm to 5:00pm

Cactus Jungle Nursery and Garden
1509 4th Street, Berkeley 94710

Did I mention that you’re invited?

Questions&Reader Photos25 Nov 2008 08:25 am

Pretty, isn’t it?

And it comes with a question, too:

I was wondering if the plant you have in your (store) was Brighamia insignis or the cultivar Brighamia insignis ‘Kirsten’.

Thanks again

Our Brighamia insignis are seed grown, so are the true species, not a named cultivar – which I think is sort of odd thing to do when all of them in cultivation come from only 14 remaining wild plants…) However the two named cultivars I am aware of are all tissue culture clones and not grown from seed.


Reader Photos24 Nov 2008 04:53 pm

It’s still a bud, but look at those spectacular colors starting to come through. (Or as we like to say in the horticultural trade; Nice sepals)

Grant and Paula sent us this bud shot from this Epiphyllum plant.

Nice plant! Notice how deeply green the branches are. That’s because it’s protected behind a screen from too much sun. Of course, I have no idea if there is a roof over it or not, so I could be totally off base, but I like it anyway, so there.

Questions24 Nov 2008 09:22 am

I live in “Zone 13″ in Southern California and also recently purchased a “Golden Candelabra”. It’s approx. 3′ high and is beginning to show a light brown discoloration. My “Sunset Western Garden Book” provides no info on this plant. How do I best care for it where I live? Indoors, outdoors? Direct light/indirect light? Is terra-cotta really best or will any type of pot do? Do I fertilize it, if so how often?

Thanks for any info you can provide.

Assuming you have the Euphorbia “Ammak” you can grow this plant indoor or outdoor in Southern Cal. You can even plant it in the ground. It can take direct sun to light shade, however never move a plant out into direct light without hardening it off first or it can get a burn. Also, if you regularly get over 100 degrees in the summer, the plant would prefer some afternoon shade.

Terra cotta is best, because it breathes, and a fast-draining cactus and succulent mix is especially important. We recommend very little fertilizer for cactus and succulents, because slow growth makes for stronger plants, but any plant in a pot needs some added nutrients. We sell our own “cactus meal” mix of slow-release natural nutrients, and you can apply just once a year for slow healthy growth. For slightly faster growth, we recommend liquid kelp once a month through the growing season.

As for the light brown discoloration, if you’d like to send me an image I can take a look at it for you, but it’s hard to diagnose plants otherwise.

California Native Plants23 Nov 2008 12:31 pm

Recent flowers posted while in the midst of a pain-reliever-fueled haze have not been natives. What was I thinking?

Here is one of the most slender of the bush mallows. The pink is so tender as to be almost white.

Malacothamnus jonesii

I want to be a bee and caress those petals.

Photography22 Nov 2008 12:24 pm

Penstemon “Pike’s Peak”

I’m still feeling too dizzy to type much about this purple plant. Maybe if I drink some coffee I’ll feel more like perusing the purple plant properly, but until then, I think I’ll go take a nap. Pretty flower.

Photography21 Nov 2008 12:20 pm

A very appropriate name for a very pretty bright red flower.

Salvia greggii “Red”

Photography20 Nov 2008 12:17 pm

Posting will be slow through this weekend while I am recovering from sinus surgery. I’m a little dizzy, not that today should be different than any other day.

Anyway, have a butterfly plant:

Asclepias curassavica

Environment19 Nov 2008 02:05 pm

Queens has generally lagged behind Manhattan in high-profile, high-rise green development for a variety of reasons- from lack of developer interest to its comparatively low-density. However, the borough’s origins as a manufacturing base for the rest of New York have left behind numerous low-rise former warehouses and factories with flat roof profiles.

I had wondered when Queens would get into the green building act.

Project Name: Queens Botanical Garden Visitor and Administration Center
Year: 2007
Owner: Queens Botanical Garden
Location: Flushing, NY, USA
Building Type: Park
Greenroof Type: Extensive
Greenroof System: Single Source Provider
Roof Size: 8000 sq.ft.
Roof Slope: 8%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public

Finally, arborboy reviews the roof and provides some pictures too. (more…)

Misc19 Nov 2008 09:14 am

Hap built a succulent labyrinth up in Napa, above Lake Berryessa.

I’ll put together more pictures and info later, but here’s a nice photo of the plant layout on the freshly laid pattern to start.

Seth looks pretty busy out there.

Blogs18 Nov 2008 09:50 pm

Pencil and Leaf has a nice roundup of solanums, including some spiny pictures of porcupine tomatos and naranjillos.

Misc18 Nov 2008 01:03 pm

Golden Barrel Cactus: Enhancing The Desert Landscape Of Your Home

I like that. It doesn’t make me want to read the article that goes with it, but I enjoy the headline still.

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