Spring bulbs. A sight for sore eyes. R.I.P Winter of 2012, welcome spring of 2013!
Narcissus ’Dutch Master’
I love these warm afternoons and long evenings. Spring is here!
Ok let’s break down to some serious plant geekage here. Not all will be able to appreciate this argument but for those who do. Kudos.
Are Sanguinaria & Jeffersonia related to each-other?
Last year having noticed two spring ephemerals emerge & flower at the same time I combined them into the same pot for further research. Watching these two pop up this spring it’s remarkable how similar they are in habit, growth and flowering. The nomenclature has them listed as different genus’s but are they actually the same?
Jeffersonia diphylla emerging March 10th
Let’s look at the facts. (care of wikipedia) for the proper breakdown of the family bloodline.
Admittedly once their leaves mature they’re distinctly different, but the new shoots & flowers are so similar I don’t know what to make of it. I’m not exactly a scientist but there has to be something to these distinct similarities. It’s like looking at brothers in a family portrait.
When you see the buds of these plants emerge be sure to pay attention as they last little more than a couple days. As if sitting there only by good grace, a single raindrop or brush of your hand and off come the petals, blinked and missed until next year.
What do you think?
After a long day of sleeping on windowsills, grooming and hunting mice; there is no better way to unwind than a little taste of Nepeta catarina. This strange plant in the mint family has the strangest effect on the feline persuasion. My friend collects the flower buds at the end of the season and this is where the best cat nip is derived. When cat’s sense the bruised leaves of this plant they begin to act erratic; often licking and rolling on the ground. Not all cat’s are affected but for those who are, they’re quite tuned to it’s presence. I once spotted a hanging basket at a dinner party and teared a small piece off between my fingers. Within 5 minutes, a small group of neighborhood cat’s were rambling about, acting totally intoxicated. A great party trick and always entertaining.
Give it a try sometimes; but in moderation of course. Friends don’t let friends drive home on the nip.
Just a quick note to all local orchid fans, the Central Vancouver Island Orchid Society is having their annual Show and Sale and it looks like it will be well worth a visit. Wow!
“Beautiful displays of different species and hybrid orchids by orchid clubs from the Nanaimo area, Victoria and Vancouver. Orchid sales, information and supplies will be on site, plus there will be a potting demo with Q & A on Sunday at 1:00 PM.
This is an annual event which is organized by the Central Vancouver Island Orchid Society, and presents many different species and hybrids on display. These are judged on Friday by American Orchid Society judges, so you can see which orchids are the best! There are orchids of many colors, sizes and fragrances to view. Members of the local club will be available to answer questions on growing orchids. Anyone interested in photography will enjoy the many choices in orchids for photos.”
Friday April 12th 2013 – 9:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday April 12th 2013 – 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Sunday April 12th 2013 – 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Cost: Free Event
Location: Nanaimo North Town Centre
4750 Rutherford Rd, Nanaimo
I love growing strange plants. The weirder the better.
When I first got my job at the nursery I started my garden with a modest 6pack of marigolds and a couple compost ready perennials. As I watched these seedlings flourish a spark flickered in my mind. The intricacy and beauty of nature was revealed to me; a slow unfolding miracle. I couldn’t look away. Years started to fly by, I became much more aware of the seasons and continued to watch things grow. I read books, surfed the web, trolled garden centers and nurseries; my appetite for new plants was insatiable. It was only a matter of time before I stumbled onto the large and impressive group of plants known as succulents. I started with sedums, moved into agaves and from there cacti, living rocks and caudiciforms.
A broad term in more ways than one, the word succulent describes all of these groups. It refers to the plants ability to store water through special water-storing tissues. Through these special adaptations the plants have developed some pretty interesting ways to survive. This of course adds to their mystery and bizarre aesthetic appeal. Over the years I have become quite fascinated with this group of plants and admire their rarity, strangeness and story. This is what has brought me to becoming the collector I am today.
Let’s take a poke about the collection, and see if we spot anything interesting.
When your collection get’s bigger than your ability to properly display them, it’s time to upgrade. This winter a friend and I designed and built this custom cactus shelf. It’s the difference between hoarding and a collection, it displays the plants in a way each one can be recognized and appreciated. The project as whole cost us less then $200.00, I’m pleased with the effect.
Last year I acquired a rather generous amount of old-growth cacti from fellow Victoria collector. She had been growing cacti most of her adult life but for reasons undisclosed had to drastically reduce the size of her collection. Over the course of 2012 many the car load of cactus came into my possession and this will be our season together. This mammilaria NOID was tagged being repotted in 2003, it features two columns each with a split double head. It’s unusual to say the least.
Another choice specimen I acquired from Linda was this Echinocereus poselgeri (formally known as Wilcoxia tuberosa).
Minute and delicate these cacti are known to have a mighty beautiful summer bloom. Time will tell.
On the left a couple oldgrowth echinopsis I managed to score during last year’s Victoria Garagellennium. On the right a 30 year old Euphorbia trigona I scooped up on craigslist. Seek and you shall find.
I enjoy collecting cactus antiquities. These echinopis are guessed to be well over 30 years old. What a strange story they tell. The fact that someone has cared for this cactus for it’s entire existence, make it’s extra special as the years compound. That means it’s been watered, not overwatering, repotting and brought indoors and out for 30-50 years successful. That’s a lot of effort and care. Remarkable that I get the opportunity to further it’s trip alongside humanity. I wonder who will take it off my hands when I’m done appreciating it.
I got this Clivia at The Victoria Horticulture Society a couple years ago. This is the first time it’s bloomed and they lasted more then 2 weeks. They’ve since faded, but more buds are on their way. I’m slowly growing fond of clivias. They’re pest free and dead easy to take care of. Plus they’ll survive in the shadiest part of your house and aren’t fussy about water either. Let them taste the outdoors in the summer and they’ll more than likely bloom for you in the autumn and early spring.
If they weren’t so expensive i’d have a lot more of these. Airplants are easy to grow and if you have never tried growing one before I suggest you give them a try. It’s as simple as finding a bright location and giving them an occasional soak. These plants naturally grow in the crooks of trees and can survive low nutrient situations. Soak them biweekly and they’ll thrive.
It’s handy to know that Euphorbia obesa are dioecious, that being there are both male and female individuals needed to set seed. At the last Cactus and Succulent Plant Auction I got a mating pair. In time I hope to get them into full production.
Mitrophyllum grande is one of my most favorite mesembs. I’m always scared I’m going to kill it, this one has survived the last two winters and seems healthy enough. They’re quite unusual to watch grow, splitting in the strangest ways.
A plant that’s hard not to love, Sinningia leucotricha. Not exactly a cactus relative being in the Gesneriaceae family, I suppose it’s it’s large underground tuber that appeals to the succulent geeks. This one is in the the realms of 10-12 years old. Each season around this time it produces new stems with flower buds and discards the old. Last year it only put out one stem, this year I get two. I’m hoping to pollinate the flowers and get some seed, more people need to grow this plant.
Davallia trichomanoides (Hare’s foot fern) is another oddball plant. As it spreads it grows taranchula-esk like rhizomes in which new fern fronds emerge. I’ve grown many of these and the trick to success is not to over-pot these little guys. They demand excellent drainage and should be considered more epiphyte then terrestrial.
Some people have a problem with growing plants under lights, but I think it’s a perfectly fine thing to do. I don’t have enough windows to grow all my plants windowsill adjacent and my greenhouse just isn’t consistently warm and dry enough. The only option, let there be light. Euphorbia esculenta has continued to grow throughout the winter.
For those who were wondering my Pseudolithos migiurtinus is still alive. I’ve heard they don’t like to be too dry, or too wet. My trick thus far has been biweekly water, but no more then a shot glass at a time. It’s healthy thus far with this treatment, but isn’t growing too quickly either.
I don’t think I’ve figured out stepelias yet. I know they like a little winter water as they start growing mid January but they also don’t like it too wet. Most of my varieties were grown from cuttings shipped in from the UK. None have flowered yet but I’m hoping this year is the one.
Get your hands dirty and get gardening. Spring is here!