Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Cactus at Horticulture Magazine

Meg Lynch, Editor of Horticulture Magazine, blogs about her mother's "Christmas" cactus blooming for Thanksgiving. Which is why I prefer to call them "Holiday" cactus. They bloom during the Fall/Winter when the days are getting shorter. She says:
Short days (and long nights) trigger their flowering. My mother keeps hers in a room not frequented at night. It is dark there from sundown to sunup, and they reliably set buds and bloom in late fall. This year they were just in time for pumpkin pie.
Couldn't ask for a better centerpiece for the table. That's her mother's plant above.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Caught the Agave Bug Yet?

Carl Schoenfeld of Yucca Do Nursery has an excellent article in the latest issue of the online edition of Horticulture Magazine.
The hottest trend in container gardening has its roots in a group of plants that for over 7,000 years delineated the agricultural and cultural progression of Mexico. Throughout its history, the genus Agave supplied food, drink, and materials for building and weaving, and held religious significance. Metl was its name to the Aztecs in the valley of Mexico. It was mescal to the other Mesoamericans. The Spanish conquistadors called it maquey; Europeans called it American aloe. Finally, the Americans dubbed it century plant. It is only now that the ornamental attributes of these remarkable plants are getting the attention they deserve.

Hey, we've had the Agave bug for years. They've been grown on back benches, in nooks and crannies of our home and in various sections of our yard for a long time. They just didn't sell very well for us. But now it seems everyone wants an Agave to plant out here in Portland! And several are able to grow here and in other regions thought by most to be very un-Agave type country.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Haworthia Specialties

Haworthia truncata var. tennus GM268 (The "hairy" truncata)

For those who are interested, we've just posted our new Haworthia Specialities page. This will be a constantly changing and updated list of seed grown haworthias with collection data. Some of these will be plants not offered elsewhere or rarely offered and most are from the collection of David Martin at We are extremely pleased to be able to offer these outstanding plants. Feel free to give us feedback about this new addition.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

(Not Just) Another Haworthia

Haworthia cooperi (aff.) cymbiformis ex. MBB6914 from Spekboomberg

This is a closeup of a beautiful plant from seed which generally is not in cultivation. It's solitary, not clumping, and therefore quite rare in collections.

Lithops at the Plant Peddler

Delivered some Lithops to the Plant Peddler (3022 E. Burnside) yesterday. The owner, Ken Blackburn, lost his wife last month and she was a major part of the business. But he continues on and is worth a visit by all you plant addicts.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Returning from the Hilton

We delivered 20 desert dish garden centerpieces to the Hilton for a Regence Blue Shield conference, and that was what I was going to post about. But on our way home we passed the intersection of Interstate and Greeley, the site of the fatal bicycle/truck accident a couple of weeks ago. As we approached the intersection we saw the fire truck and ambulance and as we passed slowly by, were confronted by what appeared to be another injured cyclist on a stretcher.

We don't know the details. All we know is that we need to do better. We're proud of our city's reputation of being bicycle friendly, but if we are, we need to spend some money on safer intersections and stronger enforcement.

Update: The cyclist will be ok, but was thrown over the hood of the car. Updates are available at

Monday, November 5, 2007

Bicycle City

Cyclists have long revered Portland for its bicycle-friendly culture and infrastructure, including the network of bike lanes that the city began planning in the early 1970s. Now, riders are helping the city build a cycling economy.

So writes William Yardley in The New York Times today. Portland's reputation as a bike friendly city continues to grow. All of which plays into what appears to me to be the amazing success of The Little Red Bike Cafe down the street from us. Ali and Evan are doing a fantastic job and are a great addition to our community.

...and Ali even likes succulents like Agaves....

Friday, November 2, 2007

Frost Arrives

Woke up this morning to our first real frost with a low of 32 F. Brr. But everything that needs to be is in the heated greenhouse and the rest is in the cold house which can be heated if it really gets cold. So far everything's fine. And it's going to be nice and sunny again. I'm all for that! More later.