December 2010

Environment31 Dec 2010 10:36 pm

Uromastyx princeps

Whippets31 Dec 2010 07:57 am

The vet gave Benjamin a cactus on his splint. And then we took a walk in Sonoma Valley Regional Park.


News31 Dec 2010 07:27 am

Cactus, Succulents, Perennials, Grasses… Whatever.

Let’s start with a succulent that did not make the list of Top Ten Succulents yesterday.

10. Agave deserti is just too small to have been a Top Ten Succulent, but it is a native here, so what the hell. It will grow into a beautiful plant.

9. Opuntia prolifera (Cylindropuntia prolifera more recently) is a lovely native cholla with nasty spines, and a wonderfully full shrubby growth pattern.

8. Festuca idahoensis “Siskiyou Blue” – this year was our most popular native grass. Congratulations! That gets you #8 on our list. (To be clear, this is not a popularity contest. See some of the equations I use.)

7. Achillea millefolium “Paprika” is a pink-flowered cultivar of a plant that is native to many states, including the entirety of California. Close enough for my book. It’s in the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae) if that helps.

6. Lupinus arboreus usually makes the list, since the flowers are so pretty. I have lots of lupine flower pictures. This is the only species this year I took flower pictures of that we carry. That’s a complicated sentence.

5. Here’s Malacothamnus palmeri coming in at the bottom of the top 5. Is that pretty enough for you? Hairy leaves = Deer-resistant.

4. The Dudleya attenuatas are growing nicely. It has a ridiculous common name, Tapertip Liveforever.

3. Asclepias speciosa, the Showy Milkweed, is from all over Northern California, including as close to us as Marin County. I’ve never seen one over there, but it’s possible.

2. Abutilon palmeri – I would put this native mallow species #1, but our customers don’t like this plant. I carry it and they refuse to buy it. So I tabulated the votes (mine) and came up with #2. Is that okay?

And coming in below number 2, at the bottom of the page, but at the top of our hearts and minds… (more…)

News30 Dec 2010 07:45 am

This category contains some of the rarest of plants, some of the most common of plants, and some others too. It must hold a lot in those ten spots! Cactus are prohibited from competing in this category.

And the envelopes please. Coming in at Number ten…

10. Haworthia limifolia – when these are solid with lots of spiraling leaves they look fantastic, practically the best, but too often they lose more leaves than is attractively best for them, so number 10 it is.

9. Crassula muscosa is one of the most popular plants in the nursery, and yet it has never before won a top ten award.

8. Dorstenia crispa ssp. lancifolia is the first rare plant to make this list, and it comes in at a solid 8.

7. Dudleya hassei is the first California Native to make the list, and those chalky fingers are the reason why.

6. Tillandsia caput-medusae x brachycaulos – Airplants were very big this year at the nursery, and so these epiphytic bromeliads get to occupy one place on the list and it’s number 6. Congratulations!

5. Agave lechuguilla is a great agave that would score higher but our plants are too small at this time. Maybe it will score a higher honor next year when we bring out the 5ga. plants. Nice teeth, awesome stripe – this is going to grow into your favorite agave.

4. Our favorite new echeveria cultivar at the nursery this year was a red tipped one. Echeveria “Violet Queen” is the echeveria for me.

3. Graptopetalum pentandrum turned out to be a slightly difficult plant, but chalky, purple, and flattened is better than nothing.

2. Aeonium “Garnet” is the most amazing of the new Aeoniums we had for you this year. In fact, it’s better than the new ones we have ready for you for 2011. But be forewarned, we are growing a new hybrid that will be ready in 2012 that will blow your socks off.

And the Number One Succulent for all of 2010, here and elsewhere, and throughout the Universe, is… (more…)

Misc29 Dec 2010 12:49 pm

Stunning is not the word.

Apparently this is rare, and worth a lot of money. Produced by Venini in the 1930s, they’re a current and respectable company producing very expensive art glass, and they do have a showroom in San Francisco.

In the meantime, you can oogle at this cactus glass.

News29 Dec 2010 08:50 am

The excitement is palpable. Let’s talk about it first, like we’re on a red carpet somewhere, OK? No? Oh. Alright, then lets dive right in.

10. Schlumbergera x orssichiana seems like a good place to start, also known as the Christmas Cactus.

9. Opuntia vioacea is always the most popular of the prickly pears, because it’s purple and the flowers are yellow.

8. Carnegiea gigantea is the well known Saguaro, very popular this year for some reason. Very spiny when young.

7. Echinocereus pectinatus v. rubispinus is always a fun cactus what with the red spines flattened out so that you can hug the cactus and not get pricked. But yet it was not very popular at all this year compared to previous years, hence the number 7 on this list. Hah!

6. Weberbauerocereus winterianus – god I love this little furry guy that actually grows into a giant tree cactus.

5. Cereus peruvianus babies were my favorite cactus for terrariums this year. So cute!

4. Eriosyce occulta is a perennial favorite around my house. Black barrels are so cute.

3. Astrophytum asterias is a lovely little plant that everyone wants a piece of. Button Spines!

2. Echinocereus viridiflorus ssp. chloranthus We only had a few of these small plants ready this year, but they are a stunning addition to the Hedgehog Cactus family.

And Number 1… (more…)

Questions28 Dec 2010 01:54 pm

I have an aeonium that I bought there a couple years ago. In
the last week the center of the main flower has protruded out like a
nose. Prior to this the leaves laid flat.

Is this normal/healthy? Is this a growth spurt?

Thanks for your help, Michael

Your Aeonium is about to bloom. Congratulations! Anyway, the rosette will extend and turn into a large pyramidal shape covered with little yellow flowers. This can be very pretty, but it also takes so much energy from the plant it can kill the whole plant.

You can enjoy the giant pyramid bloom stock, and hope the rest of the plant survives, or you can go ahead and cut off the blooming rosette right now, which will save the plant, and leave you with a low shrubby plant for now.

Cut the stem for that one rosette off down low, and you can place the large cutting in a vase and enjoy the blooms that way. Spray the cut end on the plant with household hydrogen peroxide to help it heal, and it should branch from that point later in the winter.

News28 Dec 2010 09:28 am

Here’s the final 5 of the Top 10 Top-Ten lists started earlier. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

5. Number 5 is the most explosive news story of the year, the Top Ten Wikileaks Revelations, indeed.

4. Four is the loneliest number you could ever know. Four is the one where NASA sends plants into space, also known as NASA’s Top Ten Plants to Remove Formaldehyde, Benzene and Carbon Monoxide from Indoor Air. I guess that doesn’t have to be in space, it could be in your office cubicle too.

3. This must be the one where I convince you that it should really have been #1 if not for the miscounting of the ballots. Top Ten Environmental Stories of 2010 is too important to be #3, what with the oil spill and global warming and obesity too. Oy.

2. For gods sake we’re all the way to number 2! And I forgot to include the Top Ten Sake manufacturers! Squidoo had a Top Ten Toys under $10 for 2010, and that’s made it all the way to #2 on our list of the Top 10 Top-Ten lists. Sake will have to wait until next year. In case you were wondering, I want #5 on their list.

And the Number One Top Ten List for 2010 was…. (more…)

News27 Dec 2010 07:51 am

The store is closed for the week, for a winter break because it snowed on the east coast of course, so it must be time for our week long top ten list extravaganza.

First up we have our Top 10 Top-Ten Lists.

10. Coming in at the coveted #10, a list to warm the hearts of many of our readers this holiday season. Top Ten Christmas Songs from Hell. I warn you not to click through for your own sanity.

9. Nine is the second most coveted of the numbers before 3, so make sure to click through to the Top Ten State Fairs with Livestock from 2010. California is on that list, so you know it has to be good.

8. Eight days of Christmas indeed! Top Ten Hanukkah Songs not including Adam Sandler. It’s from Israel National Radio, and really, you should be listening while reading the rest of this post, because it’s Awesome! And did I mention there’s no Adam Sandler at all, although it was a close call?

7. Seven Dog Days of Winter = the cutest whippet ever. Top Ten Whippet Photos from 2010.

6. Top Ten Sixes? No! Top Ten New Shoes of 2010! Well, that was weird to find on a cactus blog.

That turned out to be more work than I expected, so the next 5, the Top Five, will have to wait a bit. Coming soon!

Nursery26 Dec 2010 08:53 am

We’re closed for the week, reopening on 1/3/11 at 9am.

Happy Holidays

Blogging will be light, but look out – it’s time for the years 10-best lists, and you know what that means…

Whippets25 Dec 2010 07:47 am


Berkeley Succulents24 Dec 2010 01:21 pm

Byron Street agave and echeveria.


Nursery24 Dec 2010 08:55 am

Ian wishes you a merry Christmas I’m sure.


Reader Photos24 Dec 2010 06:58 am

From our Czech reader Jaromír.

Recipes23 Dec 2010 03:18 pm

Did you watch that? What a ripoff – there’s no cactus in that martini. I don’t know what that crap is. Oh well, drink up and Happy Holidays.

Berkeley Succulents23 Dec 2010 10:54 am

Byron Street


Misc23 Dec 2010 08:58 am

leatherarts on Etsy likes cactus on their leather.

Belt Buckle

Dog Collar

I feel like I’ve become a christmas shop on this blog. Everything I abhor, I’ve become. Oh, the horror.

Misc23 Dec 2010 06:43 am

…for fun and profit! These you can actually find available for sale these days, even if they are 50s style classic plastic terrariums designed to kill all your plants within a year. They make a good way to get the plants started, but it’s not too long before they’ll need to be moved to real pots.

First up is this Dunecraft Cactus garden available on eBay.

It doesn’t look like real plants in the photo. I think they put graphics inside the plastic dome for the photo shoot.

This next one is also from Dunecraft, and is only $3! I think they must include seeds.

As we found out yesterday on this blog, everyone loves egg terrariums.

Nickelodeon sells cactus kits for kids (the ones above are clearly meant for adults, what with the 50s nostalgia styling).

Diego and Baby Jaguar at their desert garden. Awesome! Not really a terrarium, but who can resist.

Finally, this one is from Carolina Scientific and looks like it could really work. It’s meant for teachers to bring into the classroom.

Look at that vent in the top! Now that’s what I call a proper growing environment. We might have to carry those at the store. They also carry live geckos.

Happy Holidays!

Misc22 Dec 2010 02:26 pm

It must be the Holidays!

From HannahsCloset on Etsy, although she seems to be sold out at the moment.

Misc22 Dec 2010 11:38 am

It must be the Holidays!

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