June 2011

Berkeley Gardens30 Jun 2011 05:21 pm


Photography30 Jun 2011 07:18 am

Parodia rutilans ssp. roseiflora

There are some short-lived pink flowers from this plant and then these amazing rose and gold colored flowers you see here. It’s a variable flower. Also, I made up the name myself. There was a plant previously named Notocactus roseiflora (or roseiflorus) with these flowers but it was renamed Parodia rutilans but there’s already a Parodia rutilans with standard Parodia yellow flowers. So I combined the names to create this one. Yay for me!

The flowers really are those colors.

News29 Jun 2011 03:03 pm

Photos from yesterday’s record late June rains, from Berkeleyside.

If it isn’t climate change, then it must be collateral damage from alien laser wars.

(In case you were wondering the previous record was .21″ 60 years ago and we got .79″ yesterday. Courtesy of weather underground.)

News29 Jun 2011 10:31 am

The Oakland Tribune wrote a whole article about someone’s Agave getting ready to bloom and didn’t include any photos. Although really, they get some of the facts wrong and they didn’t call us, the local experts, and most mystifying of all is why would they print this at all? I mean, it’s not like there aren’t hundreds of Agave blooms every summer throughout the Oakland and Berkeley hills, shooting up 40 feet tall. Just look up in the hills in mid summer and you can’t miss them.

FREMONT — At first glance, it appears that Susie and Jim Richardson have grown the world’s largest asparagus.

But the 25-foot-tall stalk that sprang up on their Niles district property last month is actually a type of cactus that goes out with a very big bang.

Commonly known as the century plant, the agave americana lives a modest existence for decades as a relatively small succulent until its final months, when it shoots up a mighty stalk that blooms like a tree in spring. Then it dies.

Errors? It’s not a cactus. Genus is always capitalized. And Agave americana is a relatively small succulent???? Hah! They get 12 feet across! They should have called us. I give good quotes over the phone to reporters.

Carnivorous Plants&Questions29 Jun 2011 08:25 am

hi there!

i picked up a Sarracenia purpurea while i was there a few weeks ago, and was wondering if you guys had more information about the plant [subspecies/origin]?

thanks for your time!



The plant is from the east coast, and is quite cold hardy even surviving up into Canada. As far as we know, the plants we sell are not a subspecies; we get them from a grower back East.

The pitchers create a digestive enzyme in the base that digests the prey, and the neck of the pitchers are lined with hairs that keep the flies and such from climbing back out. Over time the digestive juices are replaced in older pitchers by bacteria and protozoa that digest the prey and make the nutrients available to the plants.


Here is an awesome botanical illustration from a long long time ago.

Oldest known picture of Sarracenia purpurea, from Clusius’ “Rariorum plantarum historia”, cf. 18, 1601

And in habitat in North Carolina.

1985. Horse Cove bog, near Highlands, Macon County, North Carolina, United States
Sturgis McKeever, Georgia Southern University

Photography&Plants29 Jun 2011 07:08 am

Parodia ottonis has been a reliable bloomer for us over the years. Hardy yellow flowers on a small globular base.

Found throughout South America, it is generally solitary when young and when it starts to branch it can become a nice clump. The purplish color comes in winter and can stick around through the summer if given enough sun. If you prefer the green color you can give it some afternoon shade and that should green it up nicely.

These used to be called Notocactus but the DNA research is in and…. Parodia! Anderson supports the Parodia designation, but many cactus nurseries are still using Notocactus, so I guess the final jury is still out on this terrible question.

California Native Plants28 Jun 2011 10:34 am

Here, have some flowers.

OK, so those flowers aren’t exactly “pretty” but they are called Baja Fairy Duster.

Calliandra californica will get 6 ft. x 6 ft. in an open, vase-shaped shrub. The red puffball flowersare pollinated by hummingbirds and butterflies too. But not today. They’re all hiding from the rain.

Reader Photos27 Jun 2011 12:44 pm

Gail in Mill Valley sends along a recent photo of their succulent wall we planted for them a few months ago.

California Native Plants27 Jun 2011 08:57 am

Lewisia longipetalas are all still in crazy bloom. They are going for months. Who wants to bet they keep blooming into August?


Plants27 Jun 2011 06:56 am


Boophone disticha

Wikipedia says it’s used in South African traditional medicine by the Zulus to induce hallucinations for divinatory purposes, and also as a medicine to treat mental illness.

Hallucinations or mental illness. Hmmmm…. let me think about that choice for a bit.

It also gets very interesting red flowers. Check it out someday if you get the chance.

Berkeley Gardens25 Jun 2011 04:06 pm

Anigozanthos, 3 varieties.


Photography25 Jun 2011 01:40 pm

Echinopsis pachanoi


Photography25 Jun 2011 08:45 am

Rebutia mentosa

Misc24 Jun 2011 02:03 pm

Hi there,

I am hoping you can help me identify what is going wrong with my boyfriend’s cactus….

I accidentally knocked it over and it snapped half. My boyfriend really loved this cactus and it was quite a situation as he has owned it for 8 years. After reading online that I could plant the top I did so. I potted it into cactus/succulent mix dipping the broken end in rooting hormone and planted it about an inch and a half in the soil. This was over a month ago and Ive been watching the little guy and things aren’t looking good. Today it was tipped over in the pot and i could see the end. I picked up the little guy and it looks like it has been decomposing slowly. there was a hollow hole with just the external layer going up about 2 inches. I’ve replanted it again but I don’t know what to do! It would be really great if this little guy did not die. Do you have any recommendations? Attached is a pic so you know what kind Im talking about :) It used to be very tall and is now a nub.




Some types of cactus are harder to root from cuttings than others. This Cleistocactus is one of those that is harder to root. What you need to do is take it out of the soil, cut off the parts that are rotting so that you get all the way to clean tissue, and then spray with hydrogen peroxide to help the cut end heal. Let it heal for about 1 week. Dip in rooting hormone and then plant it dry into dry cactus soil. The plant will need bottom heat if it is to root, so you will need to get a source of heat below the pot. We use an under-tank heater. Wait 2 more weeks before watering.

Then hope it takes, but the truth is that these are difficult and even under the best of circumstances the percentages aren’t with you.


Whippets24 Jun 2011 10:19 am

Jaxx is visiting, which means we have three whippets here. And when I went to get a cup of coffee I noticed that all three dogs are staking out separate rooms for themselves.

I see Jaxx is in the dog bed in the living room.

Benjamin is in the guest bedroom, as if we had a whippet guest over, which we do.

And Jason has staked out Jaxx’ dog bed in the master bedroom.

Whippets for everyone!

Photography&Plants24 Jun 2011 07:29 am

Last time I blogged this plant I called it a Gymnocalycium, which it resembles, but I was wrong. It’s a Parodia. Parodia crassigibba to be precise. To be fair, though, all our Parodia crassigibbas had bloomed yellow in the past, and it wasn’t until I went searching for this exact shade of pink that I found out that this Parodia can bloom in yellow or pink! Remarkable. Also it can bloom in white or purple, according to Anderson.

Photography23 Jun 2011 02:21 pm

The first Plumeria blooms are open.


Nursery23 Jun 2011 11:03 am

Why we have no customers this morning! Who would try and get past all that?

Photography23 Jun 2011 08:53 am

A few more Echinopsis flowers. Always, a few more. They never seem to end around here.

Echinopsis marsoneri

And here are 2 more unnamed Echinopsises.

Such astonishing colors.

Nursery23 Jun 2011 07:42 am

Well I’m embarrassed. This plant has been mislabeled all along at the nursery.

We’ll be calling this Cotyledon orbiculata v. oblonga from now on.

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