April 2010


Misc30 Apr 2010 01:57 pm

Planting a community vegetable garden on Octavia. A lot of people and hoards of kids showed up to help.

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News30 Apr 2010 11:11 am

From the Boulder, CO Daily Camera.

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Pediocactus simpsonii, Mountain Ball Cactus, Photo by Stephen Jones

We once saw more than 60 blooming in one spot near the Meyers Homestead Trail at Walker Ranch Open Space. The blossoms close on cloudy days, so go out in the middle of a sunny day to find them.

The globular cactus plants are especially abundant on dry, gravelly ridges where they receive the most intense light, but they also thrive on rocky soils in foothills canyons and have even been found on mountain passes.

Misc30 Apr 2010 10:54 am

How to give a cactus a shave, by Jonathan Lemon.

Whippets30 Apr 2010 09:07 am

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News30 Apr 2010 08:15 am

I’m sure you’ve been waiting for this update.

Success With Succulents. Master Gardener Laura Balaoro covers the basics of planting and caring for succulents. 10 a.m.-noon May 1. Metropolitan Adult Education Program’s Erikson Adult Center, 4849 Pearl Ave., San Jose. Free. 408-723-6450, www.metroed.net.

There, now isn’t that better?

News&Science29 Apr 2010 01:42 pm

Earlier today I blogged an article from India about using cactus mucilage as a flocculent to purify water, and commented that without further scientific confirmation, I was withholding judgment.

I see here that New Scientist has a preliminary article up about the flocculent properties of the cactus mucilage.

FORGET expensive machinery, the best way to purify water could be hiding in a cactus….

Householders in the developing world could boil a slice of cactus to release the mucilage and add it to water in need of purification, says (Norma Alcantar at the University of South Florida in Tampa), “The cactus’s prevalence, affordability and cultural acceptance make it an attractive natural material for water purification technologies.”

But Colin Horwitz of GreenOx Catalysts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, says many issues remain, including how much land and water is needed to grow cacti for widespread water purification, and how households will know all the bacteria have been removed.

And it turns out that all the scientific research is happening in Florida, not Arizona.

News29 Apr 2010 10:05 am

A prickly pear bloomed white, which they tell me is a rare occurence.

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Photo by Tom Shelton, Rancho Cruz (McMullen County) in Texas, not Arizona.

News29 Apr 2010 08:27 am

We’re traveling around the world collecting cactus stories that do not come from the Arizona newspapers, and here’s one from New York.

(T)here is one supporter of the women’s lacrosse team that has not missed a game in four years. He sits silently, patiently observing his favorite team in action, until the end of the game when it is then decided which member of the team he gets to hang out with for a whole week….

This unnamed Bombers’ supporter is a cactus. He’s a stuffed cactus, at that, and is awarded to a different player after each game the Blue and Gold play.

Yay! Who needs to read about wild cactus when we can read about stuffed cactus in upstate New York. Too bad there aren’t any pictures. let me google around for a bit and see what I can come up with.

Nope, nothing.

News29 Apr 2010 07:26 am

Since I’m no longer blogging stories from Arizona newspapers, I have to find farther flung stories about cactus. This one comes from India.

The prickly cactus… can actually be used as a water purifier, says a new study.

Opuntia ficus-indica’s… mucilage… acted as a flocculant. The agent had caused all the sediments to join together and settle at the bottom of the water…. (and) made the water 98% bacteria free.

Very interesting. Especially that word, “flocculant.” Nice!

I haven’t gone to the trouble of verifying that story, so I wouldn’t believe a word in it without further scientific confirmation, but it’s a happy fun cactus story!

Photography28 Apr 2010 12:59 pm

Now it’s just getting out of hand. These Echinocereus grandifloras in bloom! I can’t even count the number of giant flowers on that cactus. I give up!

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Environment28 Apr 2010 08:13 am

A simple gray bird on a towering saguaro with astonishing creamy blooms, from Living the Scientific Life.

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Image: Terry Sohl, 8 May 2008 [larger view]

Blogs26 Apr 2010 01:02 pm

Teri found a nest in the middle of a very spiny cactus. Photos ensued.

News26 Apr 2010 11:10 am

…and Green Walls too!

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By Debra Prinzing
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
You may have heard of living walls, but how about a living box? The exterior walls of the new wing of the Bricault family’s Venice home are clad in sedums and other succulents, which soften the contemporary architecture so it looks like a plush, verdant floating cube.

That’s friggin’ amazin’.

Misc26 Apr 2010 09:56 am

There’s a cactus boutique in Paris. Did you know? Boutique de Cactus is on rue de Turenne.

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Pretty plants. I’m sure it’s all tres chic.

Misc26 Apr 2010 07:06 am

If you haven’t got enough of the giant Echinocereus grandiflora hybrid flower pictures I posted last week, Paula Wirth’s flickr stream has a few more. It’s a very different take on these flowers.

I would post one of them directly, but I don’t know how to get in touch with Paula to ask for permission, so you’ll just have to click the link.

Misc24 Apr 2010 11:30 am

We’ve been contract growing flats of spinach for the Oakland Museum. Well, not really growing, more like contract germinating.

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Enlarge the photo to see all the little sprouts. Opening night at the museum is this Friday.

News24 Apr 2010 09:15 am

Rare cactus in Southern Texas.

Just below Falcon Dam is one of the most extraordinary sites in the Rio Grande Valley….

Biologists refer to this area as the Chihuahuan Thorn Forest, and it is also know as the Falcon Woodlands….

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One of the rarest is the spindly Wilcox cactus that produces showy pink blooms.

This delicate cactus grows several feet tall and entangles with other thorny shrubs for support of its long delicate stems.

It was tough to figure out what this cactus is, what with the poor photo quality taken straight from video, and the errors that I recently made mistaking an echinocereus for an opuntia, plus a recently discovered ongoing feud we’ve apparently had for the last 2 years with a peniocereus grower, has led me to be gun-shy.

Hah! Hardly. I figured this was probably a peniocereus. “Wilcox Cactus” doesn’t track with anything, but there used to be a genus called wilcoxia. Now that’s a ridiculous name for a cactus, so it’s a good thing they got rid of it, once and for all. And look here, most of the former wilcoxias have been moved to peniocereus! Bingo!

And yet, it’s not. There are a number of subtle clues that our peniocereus nemesis could probably share with us, I’m sure, but Anderson’s “The Cactus Family” is pretty convincing that this is Echinocereus poselgeri. Presto, signore.

News24 Apr 2010 07:44 am

We here at the Cactus Blog will be doing our part by boycotting all Arizona cactus stories.

Here’s a Chihuahuan Desert cactus for you instead.

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Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. gurneyi is a tightly clumping hedgehog cactus. This high altitude subspecies grows in the rocky outcrops of the southern New Mexico highlands.

Blogs23 Apr 2010 02:11 pm

From the Baltimore Sun’s Garden Variety Blog by Susan Reimer, we find out that Debra Lee Baldwin has been inspiring succulent lovers all over the country.

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Photo credit: Baltimore Sun/Susan Reimer

Try keeping container gardens alive on my deck during the heat of July and August and you will find yourself a convert to succulent container gardens, too.

That’s how I spent the weekend, assembling this collection of glazed pots and the very few varieties of succulents I could find in my quadrant of Maryland….

I have been enchanted by the idea of succulents in containers since I wrote about Debra Lee Baldwin’s new book, “Succulent Container Gardens.” These plants look soooo exotic.

Misc23 Apr 2010 12:06 pm

Todays edition of Unusual Succulents Containers, which comes to us from Connecticut,  is a Bicycle. That’s what’s so special about Connecticut.

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Heather Luizzi and Mark Fancher, of Shakespeare’s Garden at Burr Farm in Brookfield (CT), prepare an annual succulent container with a found object, an old bicycle, for a presentation to the New Milford Garden Club at the First Congregational Church in New Milford, on Tuesday, April 13, 2010. Photo: Michael Duffy / The News-Times

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