Cactus Blog Archives

Cactus Blog Writers

Peter Lipson
Hap Hollibaugh

Super Bowl Stadium Followup


Peter Eisenman claims his U of Phoenix Stadium design was inspired by a barrel cactus. The locals don’t agree. From the <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1821&amp;entry_id=1643" title="http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/107404" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/107404′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">East Valley Tribune</a>.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">The stadium looks like a vegetable steamer. We’re not sure why. We weren’t at that meeting. At the time, the Cardinals’ architect said the design was an homage to the barrel cactus. (Which makes sense, because many Cardinals games FEEL like you’re sticking your head in a barrel cactus.) But he was not local, and may have been frightened by kitchen appliances at an early age. Just take Loop 101 west, and pretend you’re a giant broccoli floret looking for a sauna.</span><br /></div><br />Hah!<br /><br />

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Link of the Day


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1820&amp;entry_id=1642" title="http://christieatthecape.blogspot.com/2008/01/shipwrecks-and-carrion-flowers.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://christieatthecape.blogspot.com/2008/01/shipwrecks-and-carrion-flowers.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Christie at the Cape</a> moved to South Africa and now has a growing succulent collection, including a lovely little Stapelia grandiflora about to bloom, with pictures.<br /><br /><br />

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Sports World Cactus News


Golf course designer <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1819&amp;entry_id=1641" title="http://kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?S=7790107&nav=HMO6" onmouseover="window.status=’http://kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?S=7790107&nav=HMO6′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Jack Nicklaus</a> likes the cactus.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">&quot;I spend a lot of time at all of my courses,&quot; Nicklaus told News 4….<br />
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&quot;The… Saguaro cactus population is fantastic here,&quot; (Nicklaus said,) &quot;along with the other vegetation.&quot;</span><br /></div><br />I wonder what else he likes? Does he like margaritas? Does he read People to keep up on the latest Britney news? Does he have a shoe fetish, with closets filled with hundreds of spiked golf shoes of all colors?<br /><br />

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Prickly Pear Pads


Nopales comes to the Gulf Coast of Florida, apparently, and this seems to be big news in <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1818&amp;entry_id=1640" title="http://www.sun-herald.com/Newsstory.cfm?pubdate=013008&story=tp2np3.htm&folder=NewsArchive2" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.sun-herald.com/Newsstory.cfm?pubdate=013008&story=tp2np3.htm&folder=NewsArchive2′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Charlotte Harbor, Florida</a>.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">North Port has a new produce store….<br />
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&quot;Our prices are very reasonable as oppose to some of the local grocery stores,&quot; Clarke said….<br />
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&quot;We sell these and bananas the most,&quot; Clarke said….<br />
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Clarke said the oddest item they sell is <span style="font-weight: bold;">fresh cactus</span> which is frequently used in Latin foods.</span><br /></div><br />Well, it’s all for the good, I’m sure. You never know what a local newspaper is going to write about. For instance, I once read an article that was all about how a termite infestation in a 150 year old house on Cape Cod was going to force them to close down the museum part of the house for a couple weeks while they fumigated.<br /><br />

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Comics


Jeff Smith has a new comic out and for inspiration he went to the desert and communed with the cactus. Publisher’s Weekly has the interview:

JS: Part of the story takes place in the southwest, in the desert. I said [to myself], I’m just going to go there and spend some time and empty my head out. Nature abhors a vacuum. So all the crap that was in your head just goes out. I was able to just listen and think and put my story together. And since part of RASL’s tale takes place there in the desert—for a reason that becomes clear in the story—I was able to be there and just immerse myself in the moment and let my mind wander until I came up with all the stuff I needed for the story and get really fired up.

PWCW: That’s awesome. Did you get all the cactus burrs out?

JS: I have two splinters, spurs, whatever you want to call them, that I can’t get out. They’re really killing me. They are wicked. Some of those cactus stickers are amazing, aren’t they?

Ouch.

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We Get Questions


Q: Hello,<br />
We’ve exchanged vm regarding the aloe plant I received for Christmas that simply isn’t doing well. I have watered it only once since receiving it and as you can see from the photos, the entire base of the plant seems moldy and rotten. The plant appears to be doing well from the perspective of the upper leaves. Is there anything that could be done on your end as pruning the bottom leaves seems odd and difficult given the nature of thick leaves, etc?<br />
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Best regards,<br />
Sandra<br /><br /><img width="324" hspace="5" height="432" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/IMG_1557.JPG" /><br /><br />A: Sandra,<br />
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Overall the Aloe looks fine. All succulents will lose bottom leaves, especially in the winter, and that is what is happening here. However, since the bottom leaves are so big and thick it just seems bad when they turn black and die off, but it is normal. We recommend cutting them out; you can cut the leaf edge as close in to the stock as possible and then gently pull and usually the leaf will come right off. If you are unsure how to do this, or still would like us to take a look at it, we can do that. Just bring the plant on by and we’ll take a look for you.<br />
<br />
Peter<br />
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Followup Question after the break… <br /><br /><br />
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<br /><a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/archives/1638-guid.html#extended">Continue reading "We Get Questions"</a>

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Mealy Bugs


The <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1817&amp;entry_id=1637" title="http://www.southernillinoisan.com/articles/2008/01/25/lifestyles/at_home/23065949.txt" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.southernillinoisan.com/articles/2008/01/25/lifestyles/at_home/23065949.txt’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">University of Illinois</a> has a good resource for mealy bug infestations in your home.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Small plants with light infestations may be successfully treated by dabbing each mealybug with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol….<br />
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Spraying infested plants with an insecticide is also effective. Treat the plants every 10 to 14 days for two to three months….<br />
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Plants that grow in loose soil, such as cacti and other succulents, should also be checked for soil mealybugs on the roots and underground stems. Treat root infestations every two weeks for two months….<br />
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An insecticidal soap will also help control mealybugs.</span><br /></div><br />Insecticidal soap is good. For a general purpose insecticide that is safe for cacti and succulents we prefer 100% Neem Oil.<br /><br />

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Berkeley Agaves


<img width="432" hspace="5" height="344" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/grant07.jpg" /><br /><br />Grant Street<br />Agave attenuata and Agave parryi under a large Yucca plus a Dudleya clump too.<br /><br />

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Link of the Day


It’s a big day for the nursery getting noticed (<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1815&amp;entry_id=1635" title="/archives/1632-Cactus-Jungle-in-the-News.html" onmouseover="window.status=’/archives/1632-Cactus-Jungle-in-the-News.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">see below</a>). Today’s link of the day is to <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1816&amp;entry_id=1635" title="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/sf/plants-flowers/cactus-jungle-042047" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/sf/plants-flowers/cactus-jungle-042047′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Apartment Therapy</a>, with a review of Cactus Jungle!<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">We’re particularly partial to their fantastic collection of houseplants, but lately we’ve been tempted to try out our new skills on some of the larger cacti.</span><br /></div><br />Well that’s a self-serving quote for me to pull from their review.<br /><br />

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Pelargonium ferulaceum


Pelargonium ferulaceum
Caudex forming succulent. Grows well outdoor in the Bay Area, in the ground with improved drainage, as a shrub. Lovely little flowers. Prefers light shade, and some protection from frost. We grow it up against the north side of the house, and will cover with frost blanket if it gets below 30.

Can be pruned to look like a bonsai, or actually grown in a pot as a bonsai.Those leaves are so green and lush, it hurts my eyes, but I just can’t look away.

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Cactus Jungle in the News


Peter Hartlaub at the <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1814&amp;entry_id=1632" title="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/05/DD3GUNSK6.DTL&hw=hartlaub&sn=001&sc=1000" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/05/DD3GUNSK6.DTL&hw=hartlaub&sn=001&sc=1000′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">San Francisco Chronicle</a> has an article in today’s paper about what local goods you can spend your soon-to-be-approved-by-congress tax rebate on. And we made the cut!<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Not only is it unnecessary to use this money to pay down debt, it’s practically un-American. The government wants you to spend it on stuff…<br />
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&quot;To be useful, a fiscal stimulus package should be… structured so that its effects on aggregate spending are felt as much as possible within the next twelve months or so,&quot; Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress… Translation for those who don’t speak Bernanke-ese: Spend that money… Just make sure it goes back into the economy….<br />
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<span style="font-weight: bold;">Cactus: Do you have any idea how many cacti you can buy for $1,200? Actually, that will buy you only half a cactus if you get one of the biggest ones at Cactus Jungle. But you can also get 340 really small ones at this awesome Berkeley cactus and bamboo retailer.</span></span><br /></div><br />Woohoo! And there’s a photo too!<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><br /><img width="272" hspace="5" height="420" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/dd_pop30004rad.jpg" /><span style="font-style: italic;"><br /><br /></span></div>

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Build a Skylight for your Cactus


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1812&amp;entry_id=1631" title="http://www.homebysunset.com/home_by_sunset/2008/01/get-more-than-s.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.homebysunset.com/home_by_sunset/2008/01/get-more-than-s.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Sunset Magazine</a> traveled to San Francisco to help a homeowner build a light well for a cactus, becuase you know, there’s never enough sun in the city and light wells will help your cactus to thrive. If you can afford the $7200, I say it is a wise investment for your cactus.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">It took $7,200 and about 10 full days to complete. Although the cost was high, the rewards are great….<br />
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A handmade bench serves as a… place to sit and admire the… cactus, and assorted succulents.</span><br /></div><br />I may have edited that one a bit much. But you’ll never know unless you click through the link.<br /><br />

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New Mexico Native Succulents


From the heart of the Chihuahuan Desert, comes the heartening sight of the ocotillo in bloom. The <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1811&amp;entry_id=1630" title="http://www.currentargus.com/ci_8059570" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.currentargus.com/ci_8059570′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Calrsbad Current-Argus</a> has the story.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Ocotillo produces clusters of bright red flowers in the spring, usually from March to June and even later depending on rainfall….<br />
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Hummingbirds, attracted to its nectar, pollinate Ocotillo. The birds feed on the flowers during their travels north from Old Mexico to the mountains of the Western US. </span><br /></div><br />Now what would that have to do with the heart-rending way the Giants’ crucial 32 yard catch was made with the ball held against a helmet against all odds to crush my hopes for a perfect football season? Well, the Red Sox won the World Series so all is still well in the world.<br /><br />

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Bakersfield California


A big Bakersfield development threatens an endangered cactus. From the <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1810&amp;entry_id=1629" title="http://www.bakersfield.com/102/story/343145.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.bakersfield.com/102/story/343145.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Bakersfield Californian</a>:<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">The Canyons, perhaps the single most controversial development in Bakersfield today…. would put about 1,300 homes on 890 acres atop the bluffs overlooking the Kern River in northeast Bakersfield….<br />
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In particular, they’ll look at the effects the development would have on the endangered cactus preserve downhill from the proposed development.<br />
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Right now, the Bakersfield cactus thrives because it gets rainwater from the whole area, but changes to the drainage patterns there could put them in jeopardy, she said.</span><br /></div><br />Court cases are pending as we speak. Any protests?<br /><br />

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Prickly Pears


They’ve been eating them in the Americas for centuries. From Humboldt County’s <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1809&amp;entry_id=1628" title="http://www.northcoastjournal.com/012408/food0124.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.northcoastjournal.com/012408/food0124.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">North Coast Journal </a>comes this long article about the eating habits of native americans.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Throughout North America, prior to the westward press of pioneers, native people exploited their environment ingeniously….<br />
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The Plains Indians, whose staple protein was bison, ate a starchy lily root called camas, from which they made bread, as well as tubers with flavors resembling sweet potato and salsify….<br />
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Even in the arid Southwest, mesquite beans, pine nuts, <span style="font-weight: bold;">nopales (from prickly pear cactus)</span> and banana yucca supplemented The Three Sisters, together with a wide variety of chiles.</span><br /></div><br />And good for you too.<br /><br />

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Super Bowl Blogging


Since I can’t be in Phoenix today, I’ve decided to watch the game on TV here in Berkeley.<br /><br />My predictions:<br />[Updated 2/4 6:00am: Oops.]<br /><br />

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Open


The nursewry ios back opdewn aftwre oiuur winter break, and iut’s a cold manmd<br /><br />OK, that didn’t work with my gloves on. What I was trying to say is that we’re open after our winter break and unfortunately it’s cold and rainy and kinda miserable out here, so come by and pay us a visit so we’re not so miserable. That was all.<br /><br />Oh yeah, and Go Pats!<br /><br />

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They Get Questions


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1808&amp;entry_id=1625" title="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/23/AR2008012301113.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/23/AR2008012301113.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">The Wasington Post</a> gets a question from someone looking for a common succulent in the DC area.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Q. I am trying to find an indoor succulent known as donkey or burro tail. This is a delicate plant that doesn’t hold up well to shipping. Do you know of any local source?<br />
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A. Burro tail ( Sedum morganianum) is a fairly common succulent that can often be found in garden center cacti and succulent sections. If your favorite garden center doesn’t have the plant in stock, the staff should be able to get one for you.<br />
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The fleshy leaves of this light-loving succulent are prone to break off, but shipping has improved in recent years and many mail order firms do such a good job of packing that plants withstand a lot of jostling with no injuries.<br />
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There is also a selection of this plant called Burrito that does not shatter in shipping.<br />
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It is available from Highland Succulents ( http://www.highlandsucculents.com). If you mail-order it, you will most likely get an unrooted cutting.<br />
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Burro tail is easy to root: Simply remove the leaves from the lower portion of the stem and stick it in cactus soil. Keep it just barely moist, and it will root in a few weeks. Rooting and growth will be best in spring, when more light is available; you can also grow the plant under a high-intensity discharge lamp. </span><br /></div><br />So that’s where it is – not in the area at all. You know, we carry it and can ship it too (and they would be rooted!) <br /><br />You know, these are strange question to be asking one of the premier national political newspapers in the middle of a campaign season. I think a better and more timely question would have been where to find nopales on the menu of a fancy mexican restaurant in DC. Because they’re delicious.<br /><br />

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Friday Whippet Blogging


<img width="432" hspace="5" height="324" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/whippets/zephyr.jpg" /><br /><br />Benjamin meets Zephyr at the park, with Jax in the back.<br /><br />

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New Camera


I got a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50.<br /><br /><img width="432" hspace="5" height="351" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/haworthia_bolusii.jpg" /><br /><br />Haworthia bolusii<br /><br />

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Thursday Bottle Blogging


I got a new camera, and before trying it out in macro mode on plants, I took a picture of a bottle.<br /><br /><img width="432" hspace="5" height="324" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/bottle.jpg" /><br /><br />I hope you like it. The original photo is a humongous file, since it’s a 10mp camera. Here, let me zoom in….<br /><br /><img width="432" hspace="5" height="404" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/bottle2.jpg" /><br /><br />Oy, that’s close up. You can really see the dust collecting on it. Where’s my dust rag? Let me get that…<br /><br />

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They Get Questions


The <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1807&amp;entry_id=1619" title="http://www.lvrj.com/home_and_garden/14177812.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.lvrj.com/home_and_garden/14177812.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Las Vegas Review Journal</a> takes a question about cactus.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Q: In my neighborhood is a house with three large saguaro cacti. They are at least 30 feet tall and very big around. One of the huge ones is splitting. What should be done?<br />
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A: Splitting of saguaro cactus is most likely due to frequent overwatering. These cacti have ridges and furrows running vertically along with their trunks and stems so that they can expand and contract like an accordion.<br />
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When water is available, saguaro cactus stems expand with stored water. When water is no longer available from the roots, stored water in the trunk and limbs is used for survival, ultimately causing the trunks and stems to contract.<br />
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Applying water frequently never gives the trunk and stems a chance to contract. As it grows, the already-expanded trunk splits.<br />
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Water these plants less often. They are shallow rooted, so water them deeply and apply it quite a distance away from the trunk. This will help keep the trunk sturdy and prevent it from possibly falling over. Watering this large cactus close to the trunk could be dangerous.<br />
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Another possibility is bacterial necrosis, but the split would be foul smelling with ooze coming from it and flies attracted to it.<br />
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There is nothing you can do about a split saguaro. It should heal on its own if you follow good irrigation practices.</span><br /></div><br />

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More from Oklahoma


They have cactus classes in Oklahoma, it turns out, so they can’t be all bad. The <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1806&amp;entry_id=1618" title="http://newsok.com/article/3196235" onmouseover="window.status=’http://newsok.com/article/3196235′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Oklahoman</a> has a story.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><img width="180" hspace="5" height="224" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/cactuswoman1.jpg" /><br /></div><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Joyce Hochtritt of Midwest City, a member of the Central Oklahoma Cactus and Succulent Society, tends to cactus plants. She began collecting cactuses when she was 8. By Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman</span><br /></div><br />

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Berkeley Aloe


<img width="287" hspace="5" height="432" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/arlington01.jpg" /><br /><br />Arlington Ave.<br />Aloe arborescens. It’s a good time of year for the winter-blooming aloes.<br /><br />

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Oklahoma Gardens


The <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1805&amp;entry_id=1617" title="http://newsok.com/article/3196242/1201138138" onmouseover="window.status=’http://newsok.com/article/3196242/1201138138′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Oklahoman</a> recommends a few cactus in your tabletop garden in the Sooner State. (That is Oklahoma, isn’t it? I think so, but who can know for sure. Maybe it’s the Buckeye State or the Wheelbarrow State.)<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Close your eyes and visualize an early spring, a trickling stream and fragrant, fresh blooms….<br />
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Create a cheerful early spring garden in your kitchen window with flowering bulbs…. Balance a paper-white narcissus, hyacinth or crocus on the rim of a glass or narrow vase with just the roots in water…. A few blossoms on a single stem of freesia will add fragrance and color indoors and should last for weeks in a cool setting.<br />
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The thought of growing a delicate orchid could cause a new gardener to opt for a cactus garden.</span><br /></div><br />Oh. So they’re not telling you to add cactus to your tabletop garden after all, those crazy Oklahomans.<br /><br />

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We Get Questions


Q: Can cactus be found growing in Oregon’s nature or are the conditions not right? Hopefully you could align me with some hikes but I’m still a bit doubtful it even exists.<br />
Thank You,<br />
Andrew<br /><br />A: Andrew,<br />
<br />
There are several species of Opuntia as well as other genus of Cacti (Pediocactus and others) that grow throughout Eastern Oregon. I have seen Opuntia fragilis as well as a much larger mystery prickly pear (Opuntia polyacantha?) while hiking in the hills south and well east of Salem… but that was about twenty years ago… so other than to tell you it was somewhere way up &quot;Thomas Creek&quot; if my memory is not confusing that hike with where the best rope swing and swimming hole is…<br />
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You should check with the Oregon Cactus &amp;Succulent Society:<br />
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Meets: Sacred Heart Villa, 3911 SE Milwaukee, Portland, Oregon. 7pm every 3rd Thursday (except December, June, July, and August when meetings, locations, and times will be announced.<br />
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They should be able to tell you where to hike to see some of the native cacti.<br />
Good Luck,<br />
Hap<br /><br />

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Link of the Day


A writer and/or photographer, <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1799&amp;entry_id=1607" title="http://itofoto.wordpress.com/2008/01/20/cactus-land-1/" onmouseover="window.status=’http://itofoto.wordpress.com/2008/01/20/cactus-land-1/’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">ItoFoto</a>, goes to a writing retreat and finds cactus all over the place. Photos follow. Agave, Aloe and more.<br /><br />

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We get Care Questions


Q: Hello. I bought a Macodes petula orchid from you about a year ago. I am having a hard time finding information about how to care for it online. It has not grown much and doesn’t usually have more than two leaves. Is this normal? I am watering once a week, and I keep it out of direct sun but in a somewhat lighted place. Can it get too cold near a window?<br />
Anyway, if you can give me any care instructions for it I would be extremely grateful! It is one of my favorite plants.<br />
Thank you!<br />
Tasha<br /><br />A: Tasha,<br />
These are a tricky plant. We find they often will have only 2 to 3 leaves, with old ones dying as new ones grow. Generally, they want bright indirect light only. Water once a week, letting it drain. And mist the leaves every 2-3 days. If it is near a window in winter, keep it at least 4&quot; from the glass.<br />
If it’s been a year, now would be a good time to fertilize with something like liquid kelp (actually 2-3 times per year would be good). You may also want to use a bloom food in March. And repotting into fresh orchid soil yearly is always a good idea.<br />
Peter<br /><br /><br />

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