Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Bog Blog

The rains have come; the dry summer season has ended.
The other day we had 1.1 inches of rain, the most for any day this year. And it looks like it's going to be a rather boggy week, with rain or showers expected every day.
It's when the weather becomes like this, and the terms "Oregon Mist" and "Liquid Sunshine" and "sun breaks" are used to describe our daily experience, that people start saying things like "and you grow cacti?"
Ah yes, even during the grayest days of midwinter.
Even more-so then than in the brightest days of summer.

Little Red Bike Cafe

We have a new cafe in our neighborhood. They've been open for about a month and had their "Grand Opening" event yesterday. It was a great event. And all I can say is that this is what American capitalism is really all about: people pursuing their dream and striving to make a decent living doing so. I don't think Ali and Evan have any expectations of becoming millionaires with this venture, but they will make a decent living and do something good for the community at the same time. (Click on the title for a link to their blog and prepare to salivate!) Our best wishes to them.

Justice Brandeis Quote

We can have a democracy or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of the few. We cannot have both.
Justice Louis Brandeis

Friday, September 28, 2007

Images from the Nursery

OK. I need a break. Time to get the camera out and share a few images from the nursery. Enjoy. (And remember, you comments - including questions and disagreements - are welcome. Just click on the comments link.)

Echeveria gibbiflora hybrid

Echeveria 'Black Knight'

Thursday, September 27, 2007

To insecticide or Not to insecticide, that is the question.

Actually, it's not much of a question at least, not with a large collection of plants such as we have. Growing so many different genera and species of plants in such a relatively small space isn't natural in and of itself. As a result, in our situation, it's pretty much a necessity to use insecticides in order to have a healthy population of plants.

It's not a job I enjoy, but somebody's got to do it. The key is what to use and how to use it effectively so as to not have to do it more often than necessary. And to do it safely. We use a systemic in order to have a longer term effect without having a long term residual presence on the plants or in the soil.

What are the primary beasties we're after? The usual culprits: Mealy bugs, scale (though we almost never encounter these), red spider mite and fungus gnats (an occasional nuisance). Good cultural practices (adequate air circulation and proper watering for example) can reduce the incidence of these pests, and botanical and certain household remedies will often be adequate with small collections. But we outgrew that point a long time ago!

Soooo, if you don't see or hear me for a while, I'm that guy with the mask and gloves and long sleeves and a big sprayer pack on his back.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Eisenhower quote:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Dwight Eisenhower, Farewell Address (January 17, 1961)

And speaking of cold hardy plants...

Our expertise over the years has not focused on cold-hardy succulents (other than semps and sedums). The exceptions have mostly been the result of accidents.

Take Echinocereus viridiflorus, the green-flowered hedgehog. For years we've grown plants whose parents grew in Northern Colorado, almost into Wyoming, at a fairly high elevation which gets exceedingly cold during the Winter. But it wasn't until last winter that we found out how well they can do, even in our wet-cool winter climate.

These plants are usually in an unheated greenhouse during the winter. Last winter we brought them in from an outside growing bed and placed them in a flat, ready to be potted up at our convenience. The pot was at the back of the unheated greenhouse next to an area open to the outside. We got busy and forgot about them. (It happens!)

Sometime early in the winter, something - we assume a cat - knocked them out onto the outside ground where the remained bare-root through the snow and rain. They survived quite well thank you.

But, please note! They did have excellent drainage!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Getting winterized

As I got up this morning it was in the 40's (F) outside. Brewed a cup of coffee, bundled up a bit, let Osita (our dog) have a run, fed "Lady Bug" (our miniature horse), and sat on the deck for a bit. And then we begin "bundling up" the greenhouses and "stuffing" the plants therein. Oh, for more room!

The question this year - as always - which plants do we dare leave out, with protection from the rain, and which ones dare we take the total risk with, letting them get both Oregon rain and cold temps.

If you live in the Portland area, you can help us out though. We're going to be selling plants at the Fall Home & Garden Show during the weekend of October 4, 5, 6 and 7 at the Portland Expo Center. Every plant you buy means more room in our greenhouses!!!



This is our first attempt at blogging, so here goes. Our purpose is to provide a forum for discussions regarding the cultivation of and information about succulent plants. It also allows us to share with you as soon as it occurs, new additions to our nursery catalog.

More later.