November 2009

Misc30 Nov 2009 08:48 am


This robot’s name is Volt. She likes to swim in the ocean, but only when it is warmer than 80 degrees in the water. She’s very sensitive to the currents, and always knows what phase the moon is in at any time.

Videos - Instructional30 Nov 2009 07:30 am

We’re big into terrariums these days. We have a terrarium at the store with geckos now!

New Caledonian Crested gecko babies. I know this isn’t the most in-focus video, but it’s still so darned cute. And look, back behind them, there’s a cryptanthus.

Misc29 Nov 2009 09:24 am

These sure look delicious. I’ve never seen them for sale around here.


I wonder if it actually contains any cactus in the candy?

Here’s another one.


Interesting. And it’s in the shape of a cactus.

Questions28 Nov 2009 08:06 am

It’s not often we get photos that are as clear and indicative as these today from Susan, who wants to know the species. And yet, even with the clearly round leaf, the marginal plantlets, and the bloom picture, the best we can do is narrow it down to one of two genuses (genii?). Maybe you can help identify the species?

Well, this started as one little stem and it’s grown. Then it was many stems falling out of the pot and rooting with long aerial roots in anything close by. Then it formed little buds and I waited and waited and thought for sure the flowers would be white. I was wrong. They’ve opened up into beautiful bell like flowers in a dark peachy color. Something came into the yard and broke a few of the stems. Never one to toss a stem, I layed the leaves down and suddenly I had more little plants coming up. From looking through your database of images, is this some sort of kalanchoe? The flower in the picture doesn’t really glow but a sliver of sunlight was hitting it just right so I snapped a photo. So? Whatcha’ think?

download download2

Thank you.
P.S. I’m in Culver City

Yes, it is a Kalanchoe, or a Bryophyllum, it’s hard to say exactly which species from the photos. I’ll post it on the blog, and see if anyone out there knows for sure.

News27 Nov 2009 01:39 pm

December 3 is a big day for the San Carlos branch of the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Native succulents. Find out which native Californian succulents are suitable for the garden and get tips on propagation. 7 p.m. San Carlos Library, 610 Elm St., San Carlos. Free.

Misc27 Nov 2009 10:35 am

The LA Times has a very detailed set of instructions for creating succulent centerpieces for your holiday table.


Center of attention
(Robert Lachman, Los Angeles Times)
Start with a large, shallow bowl. Add some offbeat elements — in this case, some small house plants — and fill in the rest with something decorative. Like smooth stones.

Too late for thanksgiving? Try Christmas instead.

Whippets27 Nov 2009 09:22 am


Jason gets visitors – Amica and Dani.

Photography27 Nov 2009 08:26 am


Agave americana v. marginata

New leaves on agaves are always the bestest evah. Those bright red tips, the classic shadowing, the unraveling of the leaves. You wish you could keep them looking like this forever, but it’s not to be. They grow up. Fortunately, they kp producing more new leaves, and more new red tips and more new shadows too.

Photography25 Nov 2009 09:05 am


Agave parryi v. parryi

We’ve been selling other subspecies of the Agave parryi for years, and let me tell you they are very popular. But now we have this one. And it is dangerous. Just look at those spiny edges, those red tips. I think it’s angry at me! I’m going to back away slowly. I better look behind me before backing up too much, you never know what you’re going to back into at the Jungle.

Questions25 Nov 2009 06:50 am

Opuntia have naturalized throughout southern Europe and the middle east for food, both the pads and the fruit.


We are looking for some prickly pear that has been bred for the edibility of the tunas (fruiting bodies) and the pads. Would you know where we might look?

Thank you,

Nazarene Israel

Do you mean in Israel? They’re everywhere. Here’s a website about it.

If you’re looking in Northern California, we have them.

You can also use any of the pads (full, not cut up) you find in a grocery store, and plant them in the ground and they will usually grow.


Blogs24 Nov 2009 02:13 pm

Infrared Cactus photo.

Nursery24 Nov 2009 01:15 pm

Our Lipson Robotics show continues.


Misc24 Nov 2009 08:34 am

I see the new Kaiser building in Oakland has opened after years of construction. They’ve got a nice bamboo screen out front, planted within a bamboo cage.


And somehow they got some gaura to look nice, too. We have a lot of trouble with this plant at the nursery. It has beautiful flowers, but can look rangey and scrabbly and just all around a crappy plant most of the time.


Gaura lindheimeri

These were cell phone photos, so not really up to my usual standards. I guess this is Tuesday Morning Lousy Photography Blogging. Yay!

Blogs23 Nov 2009 01:40 pm

A Desert Observer, in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, has a late blooming ferocactus, and it’s purple! Such a pretty flower. I wonder what special minerals she had to feed the plant to get that color?

Misc23 Nov 2009 12:30 pm

Dakorah Designs & Garden Lovelies has a cow planter with jade. I wonder if they’re selling it on their etsy site, or just showing it for fun?

112109 016

How-to23 Nov 2009 10:28 am has instructions in growing barrel cactus from seed. It seems very complicated. And you need lot’s of tools. I wonder if we do all of this when we grow them from seed?

Grow a Barrel Cactus from a Seed

Tools and Materials Needed:
(long list deleted in this excerpt. click through for full info.)

Step 1 – Collect Seeds
Step 2 – Remove the Seeds from the Pods
Step 3 – Soak the Seeds
Step 4 – Prepare the Potting Soil
Step 5 – Set the Seeds
Step 6 – Distribute the Seeds
Step 7 – Wait for Germination
Step 8 – Transfer to Pots
Step 9 – Final Positioning

Wow, that’s a lot to keep track of. I wonder how the plants do all that themselves in the wild?

Here’s a picture of a barrel cactus seed pods.

You can see the “seed pod,” also known as the fruit, in the back to the left behind the bloom. I was looking through all my ferocactus photos, and that’s the only one I can find with a fruit in the shot. I normally focus on the flowers or the spines.

National Parks&News22 Nov 2009 08:16 am

It’s eight months in federal prison for a man who stole saguaros from a national park in Tucson….


Tillman and McKee took two of the giant cacti from Saguaro National Park West in January 2007.

News21 Nov 2009 02:00 pm

The latest news from the Green Valley News and Sun is all about cactus.


(K)nitting artist Irene York,… (u)sing traditional knitting needles and stitches plus a variety of colorful and textured yarns,… knits cactus.

Her colorful home in Quail Creek is filled with a variety of live cactus outside and hand-knit cactus all abloom with vibrant flowers inside.


I wonder where the Green Valley Sun is? The paper claims to be in the Tucson area. Good to know.

Misc21 Nov 2009 09:20 am

The Christian Science Monitor has an article about wintering your succulents. Here’s a pretty photo and caption that went with the article.


Succulents – with their wide range of colors and textures – are perfect in containers. (Photo courtesy of Betty Earl.)

True enough, but what does that have to do with overwintering the plants?

National Parks21 Nov 2009 07:42 am

From the current issue of National Geographic,

A city of limestone towers rises in western Madagascar…. Unexplored passages shelter some of the island’s—and the world’s—strangest species, from the ghostly Decken’s sifaka, a lemur, to a host of reptiles, insects, and plants….


Photograph by Stephen Alvarez

Spiny, drought-tolerant Pachypodium plants… thrive in… Tsingy de Bemaraha national park and reserve in western Madagascar.

Next Page »