January 2010

Reader Photos31 Jan 2010 11:49 am

ds adjusted

From Mary in Walnut Creek, we have a Cymbidium that bloomed last year, but not yet this year. Let’s all hope for the best.

Blogs30 Jan 2010 01:21 pm

From using twitter recently, I’ve been discovering all kinds of new garden blogs. In fact, I may have already linked to some of these, but anyway here are a few to check out.

Donegan Landscaping in Dublin (Ireland).

Our Little Acre is somewhere in rural Ohio, but that’s a good thing.

J Peterson Garden Design is one of many garden bloggers in Austin, in the heart of Texas.

Finally! A San Francisco blogger! My Back 40 (Feet).

Photography30 Jan 2010 10:59 am

Like I said, a bunch of these Aloe ferox are in bloom right now, and my Droid phone’s camera is getting a workout.


Misc30 Jan 2010 10:22 am

So I see the Aloe ferox is in full bloom. In fact we have 3 giant 24″ box A. feroxes in bloom. Quite the sight.


And a closeup too, for those of you who like to stick your nose right into the flowers.


Nursery30 Jan 2010 08:59 am

spring_bulbs2 spring_bulbs1

Blogs29 Jan 2010 01:35 pm

Far Out Flora has some very clear photos of tillandsias, even in bloom, and even quite beautiful. So many epiphytic bromeliads, so little time.

Whippets29 Jan 2010 01:11 pm

Whippets come in at #61 with the AKC! Yay!

via Whippet Snippets

News29 Jan 2010 10:16 am


These, and more cactus and succulent stamps, are available from René Geissler, Kingston Road, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, England.

I think these are quite beautiful. There are lots more on the site. Here’s another collection.


Whippets29 Jan 2010 08:47 am


Misc28 Jan 2010 07:39 pm

Jalapeno Cactus Cheese Dip

1 (8 ounce) container dairy sour cream
1/2 cup jalapeno or French onion sour cream dip
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheese
1/4 cup diced canned jalapenos, drain
2 tablespoons diced canned cactus
1-1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper


News28 Jan 2010 11:21 am

That’s one heck of a nonsense headline, and yet it is correct. Read on…


Abby Lowell / Juneau Empire
A trio of salmon fly patterns are tied on a “cactus hook” which was cut from a fish hook barrel cactus… a “cactus fly” that his father, Bob, tied about thirty years ago with barbs cut from the fish hook barrel cactus. The cactus is most commonly found in Arizona and northern Mexico.

Here’s another shot, with fisherman.


Questions28 Jan 2010 10:18 am

Thanks for doing the blog, really helpful. My Euphorbia Ammak Variegata has recently gotten some brown discoloration in certain patches (images attached). I’m in San Diego and the plant stays indoors. It’s just been repotted (1 month) into a new terracotta pot and is about 4 feet tall. I just noticed the discolouration and it seems to be in fairly discrete vertical patches. What have noticed is that the “damage” seems to be on the front and sides that don’t face the wall.

1 2

The plant still feels quite firm at the discolored regions (I first panicked that it was rot!). I have had the gas heater on lately due to the weather but I dont have the room too hot, could that be something?



The discoloration in the photo is worrisome… if it was outside i would say it is sunburn with a possible secondary infection… inside, unless it right near a window it is more likely to be just an infection (virus or fungus). I would say you should stop watering (Until March) and treat with a fungicide like Neem Oil ( a natural, effective product that is not chemical warfare in your home…). Use a 1 or 2% solution in water with a splash of liquid soap as an emulsifier (about 1tsp. to a quart of water) or buy ready to use. You should be able to find it locally at a garden center. Spray liberally and reapply once a week at three times. Hopefully that will take care of it. If it continues to spread or starts turning black you may have to do an amputation above the infection and re-root the unaffected top, but hopefully you can stop it before it gets that far.

Good luck and take care,


Photography27 Jan 2010 01:01 pm

Now that’s what I call a common name.


Rechsteineria leucotricha

We’ve trimmed back all the older leaves, and these caudiciforms are putting out new branches, leaves and buds like crazy. Here we see the touch of color in the buds that will soon be overtaking the plant with the large crown of tubular blooms. What’s not to like?

I’ve been taking these photos with my new Droid phone. Not as good as with the regular ole’ camera. I’ll try the camera too, and we can judge them side by side. Maybe tomorrow.

Reader Photos27 Jan 2010 11:55 am


Sumie sent along a photo of a terrarium we put together for her, on her desk. Thanks!

Misc27 Jan 2010 10:08 am

A customer brought in this Hoya kerii from IKEA.

I had to tell him it was dead.

He walked out with a new, and much bigger, healthy Hoya kerii.


Misc26 Jan 2010 04:01 pm

Our Bowiea volubilis parent is finally splitting and sending off pups, only 4 years after we sold the last crop. And our other parent plant by accident. That’s my story and don’t tell Hap otherwise, OK?

Blogs26 Jan 2010 01:48 pm

Snappy’s Garden Blog from Wakefield : Yorkshire : United Kingdom has an Echeveria imbricata that has survived the Yorkshire winter! Yay!

And there were some cormarants, spring bulbs, a sister’s birthday and a landlord threat. That’s a full blog post.

How-to26 Jan 2010 12:12 pm

Cactus in the desert can have wide spreading shallow roots. But what about in wetter areas like here, this winter?

Cactus Museum has this to say.

Roots: Cactus roots help to gather and preserve water in several ways. In some cacti, shallow, extensive root systems spread laterally away from the plant (e.g. some prickly pear roots spread 10 to 15 feet away). In brief showers which only wet a few inches of soil, the shallow roots help the plant maximize water intake from a large area.


Cactus roots also change characteristics as the water supply fluctuates. After a rainfall, existing dehydrated roots become more water conductive and new rain roots are formed to help soak up water. In times of drought, the rain roots shrivel and fall off and the existing roots dehydrate. The shrinkage of the existing roots creates an air gap that helps to prevent water in the roots from escaping back to the soil. A corky layer on the roots also helps to prevent water loss.

Now that may be true in the desert, but we have found in a densely planted garden where there is water down in the (fast-draining) soil (that you’ve added or amended in your garden), the roots can be deeper. Competition between adjacent plants will cause roots to try deeper than wider, and when they find water down there, which they won’t in the desert but they will in your garden, they’ll want to stay down there.

In fact, we notice that they will go down until they hit the water table in winter, and then they’ll rot off back up to the drier parts of the soil, which also tends to match up with the depth to which you amended your soil to make it faster draining.

This will then cause them to spend the early part of spring growing new roots before they start growing new branches. Every year this cycle repeats, and if you haven’t amended your soil deep enough, then eventually the cactus will fail.

The Lesson: make sure you have amended your soil to be fast draining deep enough that the roots will have plenty of depth to establish and survive the winters. For larger cactus, we recommend at least 2 feet of depth, and don’t crowd them too close to each other either. Give the roots room to grow above the winter water table.

Questions26 Jan 2010 11:29 am

Hi Hap,

Please find below photos of my Ferox we discussed yesterday. 2-3 leaves on the back side are covered with black/grayish stains. Are these something to be worried about?


Thanks for taking the time to respond.



It looks more like sunburn damage… than freeze damage. Is it on the side facing the house?


Hi Hap,

Actually, that Ferox was recently planted; the markings were on it when I bought it. I just positioned the plant so the bad leaves would not be visible from the front.



It is likely abrasion or sunburn from being turned after shipment, which can happen when the north side leaves get turned to face south, they just do not have much resistance to UV.


Nursery25 Jan 2010 03:06 pm

We’re hiring a full time propagation manager. Our craigslist ad is here.

We’ve never hired a manager before. We’re going to have to revise all our prepared questions. Any ideas what questions we should ask of a propagation manager?

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