Friday, December 28, 2012

Astrophytum ornatum fa. mirbelii

No longer accepted by most as a separate variety, it nevertheless is one of the most beautiful forms of A. ornatum, with its heavy white flecking and yellow spines. It can take a fair amount of cold (-10C) if dry during the dormant winter season. The form name is often misspelled as mirabellii, but it derives from the very old description Echinocactus mirbelii (Astrophytum ornatum v. mirbelii) LEMAIRE, CH. (1838).

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

My apologies for not posting much this month. There were just too many things which got in the way. But nothing is going to get in the way of celebrating Christmas. Our granddaughter who lives in  California, will be with us, flying in tomorrow. I'll be leading the Christmas Eve service at Woodlawn United Methodist tomorrow night and then the family will be together for Christmas. On the 30th, I'll be leading worship with a baptism and receiving a couple of new members, preaching on new beginnings. ...and I'm retired!

I send to all of you the very best of Christmas. If you are a praying person, please include the all too many victims of gun violence around the world and pray for politicians and ordinary people willing to take risks for peace with justice. Peace to you all!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hatiora salicornioides

A great hanging basket cactus, Hatiora salicornioides, AKA "Drunkard's Dream", is easy to grow and flowers dependably. A jungle cactus, it needs more water than desert cacti, but nevertheless likes good drainage.

The horrible events which unfolded at Clackamas Town Center here in Oregon yesterday (about 19 miles from us, across metropolitan Portland) have caught the attention of some of the news media. It's hard to understand these kinds of things, but our prayers are with the families of the dead and with the 15 year old girl recovering from gunshot wounds at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital. A friend of ours works at Barnes and Noble and helped get some of the customers to safety. The police did a commendable job (they were on the scene in less than two minutes) and many people stepped forward to help people get to safety.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Oregon Cactus & Succulent Society Holiday Party

A local announcement: The December meeting of the OCSS is the Holiday Party being held this coming Saturday, December 15 at 2 pm. Location? -  7875 Blinkhorn Way, Gladstone, OR. Directions are a little complicated: Take I-5 south toward Salem. At exit 288, take the ramp right for I-205 toward Oregon City/West Linn. At exit 11, take the ramp right toward DMV/Gladstone and turn right onto 82nd Dr. Go about 1/2 mile, passing Ruhl's Honey, a spa place and a furniture consignment shop. Take a left on Strawberry Lane, which crosses back over the freeway. Strawberry is a small street and is hard to see. There is a turn lane and look for a low wall built by "The Wall" company on the NW corner where you turn. Take the left onto SE strawberry Ln. Go about 1/2 mile. Watch for "yellow, curve in the road, speed sign" which tells you to be on the lookout for SE Stanhelma Dr. and turn left. (If you pass a small park on the right or if you reach Webster, you have missed the turn to Stanhelma.) Go up the hill, bearing right. Turn right onto Blinkhorn Way. Destination is on the right side, a low, brown house, paver driveway, and a Pacific Northwest salmon on the door. Questions? Call 503-655-7038 or 503-913-7123. The society will provide baked ham and non-alcoholic drinks (if you wish to bring wine, that's OK). The rest of the meal is potluck. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Haworthia lockwoodii EKT972

Grown from seed from the Flomskraal Dam area in South Africa, we only have a limited number of these. We've been nursing them back to health following an accident in which most of the plants were damaged.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Aloe 'Pink Blush'

'Pink Blush' is understandably one of the most popular of the Kelly Griffin hybrids. Quite easy to grow and get to flourish, it just keeps getting more and more impressive as it ages.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Imposter among the Rhipsalis stems

Hanging down among all the Rhipsalis branches are a couple of stray "Twiggy"s (Cynanchum marnierianum). Hanging baskets aren't our "thing", but they take over the "first impressions" in the greenhouses at this time of year.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I'm still here...

It's been a little hectic lately, but it should be getting back to somewhere approaching normal pretty soon. In the meanwhile, a photo from the past, Titanopsis calcaria. It's flowering now, but I just haven't had time to get out there lately when the light's right.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

To my friends in the U.S.:
I am aware that many other countries have harvest festivals of various kinds and at different times. Let this also be my best of wishes to all of you as well. I'll be celebrating with family tomorrow and get back to the blog in good time. In the meantime, enjoy your plants!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Echeveria 'Dick's Pink'

Of unknown origin, this cultivar can go through fairly extensive color changes throughout the year, sometimes becoming almost totally purple or red.

Echeveria 'Giant Blue Curls'

This is Echeveria 'Giant Blue Curls'.
As the name implies, this is a larger version of 'Blue Curls', becoming very impressive plants.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Haworthia splendens GM452

One of the very highly desirable forms of Haworthia splendens. We've been growing these on for several years now and will be releasing some more for sale soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

More Lithops flowers

Lynn-Marie was checking on the lithops today and couldn't resist some more flower pictures. So, naturally, we share them with you!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Echeveria 'Icycle'

Apparently misspelled intentionally (the English word is spelled "Icicle"), it's a cross of E. agavoides x E. leucotricha. A slow grower which sometimes produces offsets. One of our parent plants, this is used for propagation, but it's slow and therefore, it's mostly just for our enjoyment. But that's OK too!

Haworthia truncata 'Lime Green'

These cultivars really make a fantastic display when the begin to clump.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lapidaria margaretae

I actually had time to be in the greenhouses for a bit today; I had to get the heaters going as the weather is now getting a bit chilly. These plants have a growing habit which is very similar to Lithops, but it has more leaves at a time. The flowers are big and impressive, with upright stamens.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Echeveria 'Pappy's Rose'

This is one of those old timers, a hybrid by Dick Wright that's been around for a long time. But it's not readily available because they can be tricky to grow well. They're nice and dark right now but will lighten up some this Winter.

Lithops trays

OK. The election's over so I can concentrate on getting some photos for the blog - among other things! This shows a portion of our lithops growing area, now mostly under lights for the winter. Not much of a picture, but it's all I had tonight. I promise. I'll do better!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

If in U.S., VOTE!

If you live in the U.S., it's time to vote. Here in Oregon, where we vote by mail, you now need to take your ballot to a nearby ballot drop-off location.

Those of you who have followed me over the years, know that I'm a supporter of President Obama, and still am. This is my 12th Presidential election, and I believe it's as important as any in the past, or more so. My opposition to McCarthyism at a young age, my concern for international justice stemming from my time in Germany as a part of the American Field Service Exchange programs, my involvement with the American Civil Rights struggle (however meager, though adequate enough to bring about an editorial against my presence in Charleston, SC in 1964), my work with migrant labor through the Valley Migrant League in the 70s, and my ongoing concern for children through the Children's Defense Fund and Stand for Children -- all of these things continue to inform my political activism to this day.

Yes, I hope you will vote for President Obama's reelection. But, no matter what, it's important for you to vote. Don't let any scare tactics or voter ID law keep you from exercising your right to cast that ballot. Our democracy certainly has its flaws, but the ballot box is the only way that change is likely to happen.

There! I can now get off my soapbox and get back to the plants we all love. Tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lithops pseudotruncatella subsp. pseudotruncatella var. riehmerae

Another slight variation on Lithops pseudotruncatella.

Lithops marmorata

Lithops marmorata isn't flowering currently, but the plants themselves are worth a picture. These are a little crowded and are in need of transplanting, but that's for later.

We're into our Fall rains now, with an inch of rain expected again tomorrow. Our hearts go out to those on the Eastern seaboard of the United States as Sandy slams ashore. Hang in there folks!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lithops schwantesii and L. karasmontana 'lateritia'

I finally had some time to get some photos today, taking a break from all the rain (and fairly warm weather) we've been having. We've also been feeling a bit under the weather.
The yellow flowered plant is Lithops schwantesii (grown from seed from the Taras Nature Preserve), and the white flower in the foreground is Lithops karasmontana 'lateritia'.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Echeveria 'Barbillion'

I've been too busy to get any more photos today. This one - taken by Lynn-Marie a few days ago - is of a young Echeveria 'Barbillion' offset, getting it's lumps. A Dick Wright hybrid, this one really gets big!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Conophytum latum

It's not just the lithops which are flowering. This is Conophytum latum (Umdaus, north of Steinkopf) which is outright luminous. They kind of glow in the light, almost as if they had an LED light down inside them somewhere!

Lithops aucampiae (Kurumon form)

This is a seed grown Lithops aucampiae Kurumon form. The ones in the back, including the one about to flower, are lithops terracolor seedlings, a couple years old.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lithops karasmontana ssp. karasmontana v. karasmontana (Signalberg form)

These were originally labeled the mickbergensis form, but I think that was incorrect. Another white flowered form.

Lithops karasmontana var. bella

Then there's these little beauties: Lithops karasmontana var. bella. We don't have a lot of these at this time; they go fast when we do.

Lithops lesliei var. venteri

Our lithops are going through flowering conniption fits right now. (OK, not really conniption fits, which refers to "a fit of anger or panic expressed loudly." No anger here. Just a lot of bodacious flowers!) We must have 20 or more flowers at a time. This one is Lithops lesliei var. venteri in the early stages of opening up wide.

One factor is that all of our lithops are now under lights for the winter, and they love it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Aeonium haworthii

In areas where this can be grown as a landscape plant, such as along the California coast, it's used extensively for that much so that it's become one of those plants which people just give to each other as cuttings. And because of this, nurseries don't seem to carry it.

But, in our less hospitable climates, it's also a wonderful potted specimen. In the right place, it's a cool companion plant to the ever-present Jade.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bananas in Oregon

This is the second time our banana trees have produced a flower (along with some tiny little inedible bananas). It's hardly what people really think of when they think of Western Oregon.

But one of the things we do here is shatter stereotypes. We are indeed a place of rainy, gray days. No denying it. Yet, for the past 3 months, we've had no rain...only .6 of a centimeter since July 1. Of course we'll make up for it this weekend when we'll probably get over an inch (2.54 cm) of rain. The cacti are rushing for shelter (mostly in the arms and hands of Lynn-Marie), especially as the temperatures start to fall, but the banana tree is waiting to slurp up all that water! I assume it is; I haven't really asked it. After all it's an Oregon banana.  :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

For the Time Being

No time to take pictures today. Today was go to the dentist for bi-annual cleanings day. It was also a day to continue moving plants into the greenhouses before the rains come (cooler temperatures and rain predicted for Friday). And for those in the US, I'm one of those who almost always gets the automatic extension for filing my income taxes...which means my taxes are due by next Monday. And I'm one of those who has always done it himself, so there's that too. In other words, there's not enough time in the day.  Oh, I mustn't forget, also have to get a package of plants off to China tomorrow.

It sure is fun being retired!

Oh, and the title? For me it brings back the last section of the wonderful poem by W H Auden, Christmas Oratorio:
                   But, for the time being, here we all are,
                   Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
                   Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid’s geometry
                   And Newton’s mechanics would account for our experience,
                   And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
But then, I end up back in the greenhouse, organizing the plants for winter, and there's a lot more...again!
Enjoy your plants!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Matelea cyclophylla

Also grown and sold under the name Gonolobus cyclophyllus, this is a fascinating addition to any caudex collection. When introduced by the ISI in 2002 the flowers were described as "bizarre and beautiful, typical of the Asclepiadaceae."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ariocarpus fissuratus ssp. bravoanus

This is a gem of a cactus, heavily over-collected - probably extinct in the wild. The flowers are magnificent for such a small plant. These, of course, are seed grown and it has only been in recent years that nursery grown plants have become available. Accidentally discovered by Hector Hernández in 1991 in the Municipio Guadalcazar, south of Entronque Huizache in San Luis Potosí, it was named in honor of Dra Helia Bravo.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Variegated Lithops

Someone recently asked, "What happened to that variegated lithops plant you blogged about some time ago? Well, this is the answer. It's different, but still variegated. It was purchased in 2007 at a small nursery on the way to Barstow from Mojave and it continues to amaze us.
No catchy title tonight, though several suggested themselves. But I think I'll stick to descriptive titles and leave the cutesy to others. Nevertheless, I'll certainly check the stats to see if the less descriptive and more exciting titles make a difference...:)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Alien Creatures from Another Dimension?

Actually, these are offsets of Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor'. Lynn-Marie's been cleaning out the agave section and taking a few new pictures along the way.

However, one of our readers thinks the blog titles are too boring; things like "Oregon Cactus & Succulent Society Meeting" put people to sleep. So, in keeping with his criticism, I'm proposing a new title: "Strange People with Weird plants to gather in Rare location. Other succulent people invited."

Oregon Cactus and Succulent Society meeting

The next meeting of the Oregon Cactus & Succulent society is scheduled for this Sunday, October 7 at Rare Plant Research, the home of Burl Mostel. The address is 11900 South Criteser Road, Oregon City, OR. We'll gather at around 2 pm. Directions are here on Google maps. Anyone in the greater Portland area is invited to join us. (Please park near the greenhouses.)

Agave victoriae-reginae 'Kazo Bana'

These are 5 year old offsets from our "mother" plant which we obtained from Johnson's Cactus Nursery 40 years ago. Our plants have been grown quite "hard" over the years, moving from place to place, sometimes on a windowsill, sometimes in a small greenhouse, sometimes on an unheated porch - sometimes watered, sometimes forgotten. Amazing plants.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fouquieria purpusii

Grown from seed, this is the crown jewel of the Fouquierias.  Not readily available and much prized, for good reason, with its  outstanding markings. This is a good-sized plant and is available for sale to the discriminating caudiciform collector. Feel free to inquire.

Nights are getting colder (in the mid 50s F), but still sunny and no rain. Moved some 20 wheelbarrows of composted horse manure the last few days and now have to start sealing up the greenhouses and getting the plants back in. I love Autumn, but getting all those plants organized and back in the greenhouses is not a favorite task of the season. But it has to be done...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Euphorbia milii 'Fireworks'

When we first obtained these plants they were unlabeled, but we've been told by others that it is the cultivar 'Fireworks'. The red color various according to the time of year and the conditions.

It continues to be dry with no rain in the forecast, but the nights are beginning to get cooler (mid 40s F). Tomorrow, though, we should have another nice, sunny day in the mid to upper 70s (F). Ideal.

Yellow Canary tomato

A brief diversion:
To give you perspective, this tomato plant ("Yellow Canary") is being grown in a 4 inch diameter pot (about 10 cm.). As you can see, it's very small...and very prolific. As a plus, the tomatoes are  luscious.

Echinopsis arioles and spines

It isn't just the flowers which attract me to cacti and other succulents. For some, this may just look like so many bugs, but to me, it shows the strange beauty of these plants and the amazing ways in which they have been able to adapt to a difficult environment.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Trichocaulon flavum (Syn.: Hoodia flava)

This came to us as Trichocaulon flavum, but it appears that Hoodia flava is now favored. No flower to show off, just the new growth. We've also had lots of Pleiospilos flowers lately, but I haven't been very good at having the camera handy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Agave 'Creme Brulee' - again but larger

Yesterday I posted a picture of a small offset of this plant; this is a larger, more mature plant. The pink edges vary with the growing conditions, of course, and with the time of the year.

I think tomorrow I'll have to get the camera out an take some more photos. There's plenty to observe, but I always end up having something else to do. Like, tomorrow, we have to go out and get some plants from a wholesaler. Not a lot. And they're all plants which will be going out with orders very soon. (I know, we're on "vacation", but there some orders which have been hanging on and just have to get!)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Agave guiengola 'Creme Brulee'

Even as tiny little starts, the coloration on this cultivar is already amazing.

Fall is definitely in the air. It's staying dry with no rain forecast for the next five days, but the days are getting cooler (50C). Daytime temperatures are staying very comfortable - in the low to mid 70s F (21-24C), but the daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter. And as a sure sign, not only are Halloween items in the stores, but Christmas supplies as well. I halfway expect to see Valentine's Day candies on the shelves any day now...:(