March 2012

Travel31 Mar 2012 02:14 pm

Dina Arevalo | Valley Morning Star

Vibrant spots of color amid the brush-lined paths of Hugh Ramsey Nature Park in Harlingen — seen Monday, March 19, 2012 — herald the arrival of spring. The spots are mostly lemon yellow against the verdant backdrop, but in hidden corners the rare prickly pear cactus displays bright red blossoms with fiery hints of orange and pink seemingly set ablaze in the glow of afternoon sunlight.

Those are some gorgeous colors there in that there cactus bloom prickly pear flower. I’m impressed and I see a lot of prickly pear cactus flower bloom inflorescences. I wonder where this Harlingen, Texas is? Let’s us all go and visit since it’s cold and rainy here and it’s partly sunny and 90 right now in Harlingen, Texas. Although they do have the chance of thunderstorms tonight, so let’s not stay too long.

Yucca getting ready to bloom in Harlingen, Texas.

Aloe blooms at sunset in Harlingen, Texas.

Flooding in Harlingen, Texas.

And my favorite from the City of Harlingen’s own website:

Harlingen Thicket
Amenities: 40-acre tract of native brush in the city center, restrooms, parking, and extensive trails.

That’s a mighty fine stand of cactus.

Blogs&How-to31 Mar 2012 01:12 pm

Life on the Balcony‘s Fern Richardson has a book out, Small Space Container Gardening. And judging from this video she really does have just a small space to garden. So small that she’s planting herbs underneath succulents. Interesting!

Where can you get the book? We carry it. Not that you have to come all the way down to our store on a rainy day to buy a book, but you could.

Stories31 Mar 2012 10:06 am

I get a lot of spam comments on this blog. Spam! Usually it’s pretty obvious and the spam filter catches it. Sometimes it makes no sense at all like this little bit of spam comment:

Way to go on that 5k! That takes a huge amount of discipline even when youre feeling great, and you did after being sick all night! Awesome! That raw restaurant actually looks pretty good! What a fun night!

It got through the automatic filter, so I guess that was the point of it. It didn’t get by me though, so none of you were subjected to it in the comments. Only here on the main part of the blog.

Photography30 Mar 2012 02:32 pm


I used 4 filters from 2 separate photo apps to create this lovely composition.

Whippets30 Mar 2012 10:34 am



California Native Plants30 Mar 2012 09:04 am

Our first 4″ Achillea is in bloom for spring, and the cultivar is….



I always recommend mixing in some yarrow with native grasses. They disappear into a meadow look with their rich green foliage, easy to forget they’re there and then, boom… they bloom, and these very brightly colored sprays of small blooms pop up right above everything else. Nice!

Photography&Plants30 Mar 2012 07:10 am

Mammillaria elongata

These are grown in many different cultivars, and we have a number of those cultivars, but we don’t label them as such. It’s a philosophical difference with those who do label all those cultivars. But we have 3 cultivars out right now if you look carefully, not that you need to. On top of that there are also two subspecies, although I’ve never seen any of these plants with the subspecies labels in the trade, so they may not be available.

It’s also often called the Ladyfinger Cactus, however that common name is also used for an Echinocereus we carry, so I won’t use that common name here for this Mammillaria.

As you can probably guess, it’s from Mexico. The cylindrical stems can get over an inch in diameter, but tend to get sometimes even 4″ in length. The fruit is pink. You can figure out the flower color by looking at the picture. But of course they also vary towards a more pinkish color too.

These are reliably hardy down to 25F, but are often grown in much colder locations if kept dry.

Misc29 Mar 2012 04:54 pm


This photo has nothing to do with this blog, but at least there’s bamboo in the background.

News&Travel29 Mar 2012 11:08 am

It’s probably a seasonal business.

Mason City-area residents who are fans of Stillwater Greenhouse soon will no longer have to drive to Orchard.

JEFF HEINZ/The Globe Gazette.
Daniel Zimmerman of Stillwater Gardens, Orchard, says that succulent plants are popular this year. Zimmerman was at the Gardening Seminar at North Iowa Area Community College on Thursday.

The greenhouse is opening a satellite location… “It will be a portable greenhouse, like the grocery store does,” said Stillwater Greenhouse owner Daniel Zimmerman.

Daniel does look excited in the photo.

Misc29 Mar 2012 06:46 am

Here we see that our Epiphyllums are not yet in bloom.

But boy are they close. That’s a lot of buds just about to burst open. A lot of the buds have dropped already, as is the nature of Epi’s in my experience.

Too bad it’s such a crappy cell phone picture. I promise I’ll get a good quality photo when the flowers open.

News28 Mar 2012 03:30 pm

The Midwest Cactus & Succulent Society Show & Sale is happening Saturday and Sunday. “This is a very popular weekend,” says cactus society Vice President Bill Hendricks.

Apparently they have blooming Epiphyllums for the show, or at least they would like you to think they do. Ours aren’t blooming yet, but they sure are close.

And where is this show?

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland.

Admission: Free with regular admission: $9.50; $3, children 3-12; free, children 2 and younger; $7.50, groups of 15 or more; $6, seniors in groups of 15 or more.

Information: or 216-721-1600.

Good to know.

Berkeley Gardens28 Mar 2012 01:32 pm

Our first marigolds of the year are called Bolaro.


Remember to always plant marigolds with your organic vegetable garden. They attract beneficial insects, and bloom all summer long.

Photography28 Mar 2012 08:24 am


Opuntia basilarus in bloom.

Nursery27 Mar 2012 01:45 pm

Succulents ready to be potted up.

Travel27 Mar 2012 12:34 pm

Climatron is the name of an indoor garden in Missouri, at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. Hey, my niece lives in St. Louis, maybe I should visit!

Looks climate controlled, somewhat tropical. I wonder if they have butterflies?

Anyway, they do have a Cactus Show and Sale at the Botanical Gardens in July. Check it out!

And most remarkably they have historic photos of the Cactus House right there at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Cactus House – North side looking east (1890s greenhouse).
Cactus House (1904-1914) (Missouri Botanical Garden)

Contributor Missouri Botanical Garden
Date of original 1890


This is a nice photo too.

Reader Photos&Science27 Mar 2012 09:54 am

Mr. Subjunctive from Plants are the Strangest People sends along a funny.

From Iowa.

This is growing on E Washington St. in Washington, IA; the photo was taken 26 March 2012. I’ve seen it on previous trips as well, and thought of y’all, but things hadn’t worked out to take a picture of it, and we don’t actually go to Washington that often.

I think the bloom is new since the last time I saw it. Both the color (black?!) and form (more like an aroid flower than a cactus flower, really) are noteworthy. I presume, based on the bloom, that this is a Discocactus of some sort? It’s a slow grower, but I suppose that’s to be expected for any Iowa cacti.

-Mr. Subjunctive

First you need to click the picture above to get a closer look at the details. And then, here’s a Discocactus in bloom, so we can judge the similarities and determine the species.

From the Catalog of Botanical Illustrations, Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institution

Plate Number: 1806
Publication: The Cactaceae Vol. 3 Pl 24, Fig 4
Client: Britton, N.L. and Rose, J.N. – Size: 11×14

Discocactus bahiensis (Cactaceae) – Type; Collection: Rose, J.N. 19783, Brazil, Bahia; flowering plant.
Artist: Eaton, Mary Emily – Date unknown – watercolor

No, definitely not a Discocactus.


Nursery26 Mar 2012 12:07 pm

Our pottery sale has been going on for 10 days now and here we have a new pot in stock before the sale is over. Yay!

These small German rose pots have been very difficult for us to get in. We ran out of these new pots a year ago, finally was able to get the order in last September, and they finally arrived today. I know this is not very exciting to most of you (any of you?) but it is to me. And there’s still a week left of the sale to get them at 30% off.

How-to26 Mar 2012 11:25 am

Cucumber Cactus Craft

We’re having some cowboy fun this week and pulled together a quick cactus craft after rounding up some cucumbers, toothpicks, and tissue paper.

Uh oh. That doesn’t sound promising.

Well, I guess this adorable kid can’t go wrong with a cucumber and a knife, so I won’t make any snarky comments. But you will have to click through to see the denouement of this craft experiment.

Questions26 Mar 2012 09:43 am

We often get asked questions about these giant blooming stalks. The news isn’t good.

I bought a small aeonium from you guys a long while back. It now is flowering and I just read that you said it would die after flowering. Should I cut the branch off below the flowering large branch now? thanks RoseAnn


Aeoniums are “almost” monocarpic, the rosette that blooms, certainly dies after flowering and the plant uses a lot of resources to “get frisky”. So I generally cut the bloom off when the first of the flowers open and use it as a cut flower, it actually can last over a month in bloom if you change the water regularly. You can let it bloom out on the plant as long as there are other rosettes on the plant, but it will struggle if it sets seed.

Take care,


Thanks Hap. Will the other rosettes on the plant die along with it?


Usually the other rosettes survive, but they seem to sulk for awhile before showing normal vigor again. I assume the flowering and seed making hormones suppress their metabolism and active growth. So they can look pretty ratty for a year afterwards.


And just for fun here’s one of our Aeonium “Cyclops” going through the whole bloom cycle thing. I think it’s time to cut cut cut it’s head off.

That’s a lot of little yellow flowers.

Misc25 Mar 2012 09:03 am

The Mountain Goats sing about Lithops, Absolute Lithops Effect.

Here are the lyrics. Hint: it’s a metaphor.

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