September 2011

Art30 Sep 2011 12:21 pm

Giraffe with Pelargonium ferulaceum, 2011

The African savannah is a harsh and foreboding place. Giant thick trees grow so tall even the giraffes can’t reach to the leaves. What will they eat? How will they survive? Look out! There’s a lion over there!

Whippets30 Sep 2011 10:02 am

Jason enjoys some late September heat.


Now that’s whippet blogging for you.

Misc30 Sep 2011 07:57 am

Carole sends along a link to this remarkable Cactus Coat Rack.

CACTUS by Guido Drocco, Franco Mello
Decorative piece in expanded polyurethane functioning as a coat-stand.
Surface treated with green Guflac paint.

Can I comment on this? I mean, it is my blog and all. But will you be offended? No? Oh, thank god. Because that is the ugliest 4,000 euro cactus coat rack I have ever seen. Oy.

Art29 Sep 2011 02:18 pm

The concept of this new art series of photographs is to present a contrast in scales to make you rethink your vision of the scale and meaning of succulents. For instance, I may say that a particular succulent is 6″ across, and you would believe me, now wouldn’t you. Admit it. But what if I showed you a picture of that same succulent, but with a giraffe in the picture. Now then what would you think? Why you’d first think that succulent was 12ft. across! And then if you looked closely enough you might question the full scale and scope of the giraffe in the picture. You might think it was properly photoshopped into the job, or you might think it’s a gigantic toy giraffe or you might even realize that it’s playful nature has been fully realized in this wonderful portrait.

My new Giraffe series starts on the blog… right…. now!

Giraffe with Portulacaria afra

Questions29 Sep 2011 09:27 am

People send us photos and questions, worried about their plants. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong at all. Good times!

I water- not soak it – about every 10 days or so. I live a few blocks from the beach so it’s not exposed to very hot conditions.
Thanks for trying to help!
Lee Ann

Lee Ann,

Your Agave attenuata is doing great. Succulents lose bottom leaves – that’s just the nature of the plant. When they are dry and easy to pull off, you can remove them.


Photography29 Sep 2011 07:06 am

Mestoklema tuberosum is a South African tree-like caudiciform mesemb. It has these swollen tuberous roots that are tightly bound together forming a nice thick caudex. The flowers are variable – our other specimen out has reddish flowers.

Environment28 Sep 2011 11:50 am

Green shoots actually start to appear in the Oregon Metropolis’ roofscape.

The City of Roses is being transformed into the City of Sedums as nearly 300 Portland rooftops are now blanketed in the drought-tolerant succulents.

And as rooftops in Oregon are going green, some of the businesses that design, build, and landscape ecoroofs are having an economic mini boom.

Don’t care for the economic benefits? Here’s another great benefit for your consideration.

In addition to stormwater management, urban heat island reduction and good looks, ecoroofs can provide habitat for various urban wildlife, particularly birds and insects. Soil and vegetation attract pollinators and other insects, which in turn attract birds. Multiple species have been documented feeding, resting and even nesting on Portland ecoroofs.


News28 Sep 2011 10:47 am

Now it’s true that this looks like an impressive and beautifully maintained collection of cactus. And at 97 Vera Norman is doing yeoman’s work keeping these alive and healthy. But what I like most about this is the fact that the Newark Advocate couldn’t resist a little cactus pun in the headline.

Newark woman’s cacti keep her sharp at 97



Photography28 Sep 2011 08:16 am

Urginea maritima has a spectacular 6ft. tall bloom stalk. That makes it hard to photograph. You can see the flowers, and you can see the caudiciform bulb at the base too.

Here’s another picture showing the whole extreme thing.

And from Wikipedia we have a lovely and informative botanical illustration.

Misc27 Sep 2011 02:40 pm

I found a catalog featuring PVC succulent wall hangings. I won’t be carrying these at the store but I took a photo of the catalog because I find this interesting. Sociologically speaking.


Nursery26 Sep 2011 03:18 pm

We’ve been talking about slugs at the nursery, and this is what came up.


Anyone who’s ever worked at a nursery knows what I’m talking about.

(We recommend industrial sized bags of sluggo.)

Blogs26 Sep 2011 02:11 pm

Xeriscape Ninjas came and visited the nursery recently and lived to blog about it.

Jason appears to have been well behaved while they were here.

Photos ensued. Go check it out already!

Misc26 Sep 2011 12:16 pm

Tori Amos’ latest is a song about Cactus.

I have no idea what this is about. Any practices about cactus would be about eating a cactus, not drinking a cactus. This is very mysterious.

Also, I don’t like the song, so there’s that.

Here’s some of the lyrics.

Let’s resynch my world
With a harmonic defiance I’ll face this

I’d like to induct you into
The drink of the cactus practice



Will you induct me into
The drink of the cactus practice?


Are you saying I’m

Reactive but I can work with a doll face

Photography26 Sep 2011 11:28 am

Hap took the photo last week for a customer. Has a certain artsy feel to it, a je ne c’est quoi. A pas-de-deux, aux trois.

Questions26 Sep 2011 10:08 am

Euphorbias are easy to grow and can take a lot of abuse but eventually the chickens come home to roost, and we get questions.


We have a large – 4-5 ft. – Euphorbia growing in a pot in our living room. Have had it about two years with no problems. Recently I noticed one of its arms is getting a black die-back at the very top. The die-back is dry to the touch and the plant flesh is slightly soft but dry. A few photos are attached. Any thoughts on what this might be and cures for it?

Possibly, I’m not watering enough. I give it about a gallon of water every 3 months or so. It gets about 5 hours of direct sunlight in Half Moon Bay

I welcome your advice and thanks!


It appears to be just one tip, the other branches look fine in the photo. I don’t know what has caused this particular problem. You might want to think if there’s anything different about that one branch – is it the only one getting direct sun? No sun? Is it touching a surface?

It’s possible it has caught an infection, but if the rot has stopped at just the tip it might be just cosmetic damage at this point. You can cut the branch off below the rot, at a slight angle away from the light source, making sure there is no evidence of rot in the branch below the cut. Whenever cutting Euphorbias wear protective clothing – long sleeves, gloves, eye protection – since the milky white sap is caustic. Spray with Hydrogen Peroxide to help the cut heal faster.

In general I would recommend watering every 3-4 weeks. These Euphorbias can handle being WAY underwatered, but only for so long before they start to show damage. Two years isn’t that long yet, but I would water more often. If you haven’t repotted it in 2 years you might also want to try that, into fast-draining cactus soil.
Good luck

Misc24 Sep 2011 11:10 am

Asclepias currasavica


Photography23 Sep 2011 02:26 pm

A late blooming Echinopsis chamaecereus.


News23 Sep 2011 01:56 pm

Tomorrow! Are you in Pennsylvania? Or nearby Delaware?

The (family-friendly Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Fall Garden Festival) will celebrate all aspects of the growing season from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard….

Local experts will conduct presentations on a variety of topics and include members of the Philadelphia Cactus & Succulent Society.

Where else can you see succulents in PA? There’s the Longwood Gardens, of course.

Whippets23 Sep 2011 09:18 am


Reader Photos23 Sep 2011 07:15 am

A late-blooming cactus all the way up in Alberta, Canada.

Echinopsis photo sent to us from Amy and Darrel.

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