Monday, December 29, 2014

Echeveria moranii

I took this snapshot of these little beauties yesterday. Today I'm just too tired! Spent the morning with a nice latte at the coffee shop, then went to the cinema to view The Hobbit with our granddaughter. After that we had a very enjoyable visit with friends from 50 years ago. He was a young boy when I first knew him and this is the first time I've seen him since. I've visited with her a couple of times since the sixties, but the last time was in the 80s. After that we went for dinner with our granddaughter (she's 15) at the Old Spaghetti Factory. And tonight, I'm just worn out. to bed.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Aloinopsis schooneesii

Right on time in our greenhouses, Aloinopsis schooneesii, has some of the most interesting of flowers. This is a nice old plant which we've had in our collection for many years.

In a couple of days we'll be starting a new year and I'll be celebrating my 75th birthday (also on the 1st). And on Sunday I'll be preaching again at Northminster Presbyterian Church. The next few days will therefore be a bit busy so forgive if I don't get back on track with more postings right away.

Have a very happy new year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to all!

Best wishes to all of you for a wonderful Christmas, from Luther, Lynn-Marie, Ladybug, Osita and Kiani!

We are enjoying a visit from our granddaughter this week and will have a family gathering today. It'll be a good time, even if we'll be a bit zonked out by the time it's over.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Of Squirrels, Lithops and Agaves

Innocent enough looking isn't it? Don't let it deceive you, because all kinds of mischief is going on inside that little brain. This winter they have been especially good at trying to chew their way into our attic. That battle continues.

But, worse than that, they have discovered one of our greenhouses. Our first evidence was the Lithops. They got into the greenhouse at night and ate 90% of the Lithops, leaving just empty shells scattered about the bench.

We patched the holes and thought we had won the battle of wits. No such luck. Two new holes dug in under the outside edge of the greenhouse. This time they decided the agaves were haute cuisine. And their tastes run to the more expensive, rarer varieties. This is war!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Quick Note

First, an apology for not posting recently. Other things keep getting in the way, and I don't have any new photos to post.
Second, for those who are interested and are local, I will be preaching again at Northminster United Presbyterian Church this Sunday at 10 am. Northminster is one block west of N. Greeley Ave. on N. Rosa Park Way.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

New Record for Cold

We set another record for cold weather this time of the year: 19 degrees F (-7.2 C). The record had been in 1955 with 20 F. I looks like we'll get back to normal weather by Tuesday.

Friday, November 14, 2014

New "Cactus Chatter" now online

As the editor of the Oregon Cactus & Succulent Society newsletter this is a note to let people know that the latest newsletter is now available to download in pdf format here.

The cold weather is hanging on, record cold for this time of year. This is more like the weather we sometimes get in January.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Winter Chill has Arrived!

We've been having a very mild Fall but we got a sudden blast of cold today. Usually, when the Midwestern and Mountain state get an arctic cold mass moving south, we get the spill-over in the form of East winds down the Columbia River Gorge. This is a little early, but typical. So...I spent much of today getting the greenhouses all closed up. We're expecting a low tonight and tomorrow night of 27F(-1.6C), along with some fairly strong wind gusts. I'll be glad when we get back to our milder weather.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Haworthia cooperi var. pilifera ex. MBB6565

The two plants above have been grown from the same batch of seeds in exactly the same soil and conditions. In fact they have been growing adjacent to each other in the same tray. We will wait and observe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Senecio haworthii (Cacoon Plant)

Not that rare, but that doesn't really matter, does it? (It is considered threatened in it South African habitat.) We collect plants because we enjoy being in the company of that particular plant, and sometimes just because the form of the plant catches our fancy. That's certainly the case with this plant, which we've grown for about 40 years, just because it is what it is. No other reason needed.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oreocereus leucotrichus spines

This plant has been raised with a number of different names during our lifetimes. And the "spines" I'm referring to are the white hairs of this splendid old man cactus. Needs to be kept dry during the cold period of the year (Anything below 45F should be provided some warmth.)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lithops dorotheae

I was out in the greenhouse today with my camera at hand and I just had to share this image of Lithops dorotheae in flower. Such an amazing plant.
We've been having some nasty weather over the last few days - heavy rains and gusty winds, but it's calmed down now, and the heavy rains appear to be over. But along with that, the night-time temperatures are dropping down into the low 40s F (about 4.5 C), which means we'll have to start heating the greenhouses.  Enjoy your plants!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Aloe 'Christmas Carol'

As far as I'm concerned this is one of the most outstanding Aloe cultivars produced in recent years. Wow!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gallery Listing for Lynn-Marie Kara

For those who are interested, my wife Lynn-Marie's art works are now represented by Xanadu Gallery out of Scottsdale, Arizona. You can see a continually changing collection of her works at their website: You can copy and paste this url address in your browser or use the link above.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Succulents at dusk

It was a little late in the day when Lynn-Marie took these photos...Lapidaria margaretae and Lithops dorotheae.
Our weather is quite dry and warm for this time of year - 80 Fahrenheit for several days in a row, and the nights are in the mid 50s.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Local notice - non-succulent

For those of you in the Portland area and are interested, most of you know that  - other than succulent plants - my other vocation has been as a United Methodist clergy - now retired. However, I'm still asked to preach on occasion, and this coming Sunday (Oct. 5) I'll be preaching at Northminster Presbyterian Church in North Portland (10:00 a.m.). You're more than welcome to come and visit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Overlook Park message

On most mornings Lynn-Marie and I go over to Overlook Park and walk a mile before we go have our morning latte. The park overlooks downtown Portland and has a large playground, two baseball fields and a couple of soccer fields. A nice trail is about 1/3 of a mile long and there's some nice shrubbery and a fantastic, old, American Elm.
In addition, homeless people sometimes set up a makeshift tent or sleep under the shrubs. One morning, as we were walking, we noticed these bags next to one of the trash bins.
They'll probably never see this, but this serves as a "thank you" to the homeless couple who cleaned up the mess, including some discarded hypodermic needles, and giving notice to the park cleanup crew so they wouldn't get hurt.
It's a disgrace that, here in one of the most prosperous nations on earth, we have so many people just struggling to survive.
Back to plants in the next post! :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

An Assortment of Aloes

This is just a random photo from one of our two greenhouses showing an assortment of aloes and a Cotyledon.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I'm back!

Apologies for my recent absence. No excuses, just took a break. We're currently planning on having a local sale of plants sometime near the end of September. Check back. I'll be posting more things.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Miscellaneous Succulent Plants

These are some of the plants which stay in our back yard during the summer: Cyphostemma juttae on the left and, beginning in the front, an Aloe, followed by large Crassula ovata 'Gollum' and two large plants of variegated Euphorbia ammak (Euphorbia erythreae variegate) 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Some time with our Granddaughter

Our granddaughter lives quite a way from us, so it was nice to have her with us for a couple of weeks. Today she left and she'll certainly be missed. The first picture is her and her dad; the second is of her with Grandma, Grandpa (me) and - of course - Ladybug.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sanseveria kirkii var. pulchra 'Coppertone'

Grown with less shade, the plant will show off its true colors, but the flower says it all. It is native to Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania.

Oregon Cactus & Succulent Society "Succulent Plant Fest"

Another OCSS show and sale is over and was very successful. The weather cooperated and we had a large number of people show up. A special "thank you" is due to James and Debra for their usual fine collection of plants, to Lynn for her first year of participation with some lovely plants and to Juanita for her wonderful hand made pottery, designed with succulents in mind. Our tables are pictured above.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Opuntia erinacea (syn. Opuntia polycantha var. erinacea) "Grizzly Bear Cactus"

I'm not usually much of an opuntia fan, but this is an exception: the Grizzly Bear or Porcupine cactus. I usually try to avoid common names, but this one is so appropriate!

We're busy making the final arrangements for the "Succulent Plant Fest" at the Stark Street Portland Nursery this weekend. If you're in the area you owe it to yourself to come by. And, of course, we'd love to see you.

Friday, July 11, 2014

They used to be called service stations....!

Lately I've been having problems with our vehicle, a 1995 Ford Aerostar. I guess I should expect it. It almost has 200,000 miles on it. Lately it's been blowing some of its soft plugs (=freeze plugs), which causes the engine to lose all its coolant.

I had it in the shop and when I picked it up, it appears they finally did get it fixed. But then, after driving across town to get some nursery supplies, I decided to get some gas. A pretty good plan, since the gauge was showing empty. So I stopped at the friendly Chevron station and one of the higher priced places around at $4.05 a gallon of regular. While getting the gas, we noticed it was losing water, a lot of water. When I finally was able to take off the radiator cap, it was clear I needed some water, so I asked if they had any. You know: service station, gas, air, seemed like a natural.

The end of this sorry story is, yes  - I did get some water - but only after the attendant asked me not to tell anyone, as he would get in trouble with his boss!
That's why they're not called service stations anymore.

And - oh - the van seems to be running OK now.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Preparing for the Show and Sale

We're busy potting up plants for the Summer Show and Sale of the Oregon Cactus & Succulent Society. The sale is on July 18, 19 & 20 at the Portland Nursery, 5050 SE Stark St. in Portland. There will be three venders and there should be lots of succulent plants and a wide variety as well. If you're in Portland, we hope to see you there.
Also, there will be two nice specimen plants being raffled off. Entries will close on Sunday morning at 11:00 am and the winning tickets drawn. The winners will need to pick up their plants by 3:30 pm on Sunday.
I will also be leading a seminar on growing succulent plants at 11 am on Sunday.
Now all I have to do is get the car out of the shop so I have some wheels!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Gymnocalycium pflanzii var. lagunillasense

 Gymnocalyciums are real gems of the cactus world: easy to grow, easy to get to flower, and they make very nice specimens in a relatively short while.
 The variety name is no longer accepted by botanists. It's simply G. pflantzii. I just throw in that nice long variety name as a teaser. And it's fun.
For those of you in the Portland, Oregon area...hold those dates: July 18, 19 & 20. Those are the dates for the Oregon Cactus & Succulent Society Summer Show and Sale. Check it out here, and I hope to see you there.
Enjoy your plants!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Euphorbia obesa (male)

This plant is often called the "basketball" plant, or the "baseball" plant. Perhaps in honor of the World Cup, we should call it the "football" or "soccer" plant? This is a male plant, evident from its copious pollen.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Euphorbia milii 'Fireworks'

We're getting some early Summer showers. It makes things a little more humid than usual, but it's not uncommon for us to get these until early July when things begin to really dry out. However, the showers really brought out the color in the stems, making this an even more impressive plant.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Echinopsis 'Barber Pole'

They only bloom for a short time each year, but - wow - what blooms. Well worth the wait. (Again, photos by Lynn-Marie.)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Copiapoa esmeraldana

This is a very small plant which really shriveled up a bit this winter, making it even smaller. But that doesn't stop it from flowering beyond the call of duty.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Snow-capped Peaks of the Oregon Cascades

These are the three sisters, originally named Faith, Hope and Charity.
 Further along the range is Mt. Washington, viewed here from the east.
 And Mt. Jefferson, also from the east. Part of this mountain is on the Warm Springs Reservation, the Consolidated Tribes of Warm Springs. Our younger son is a member of Warm Springs.
And this is Mt. Hood, the northern most snow-capped peak in the Cascade Mountain Range in Oregon. This picture is from the south side.
We have traveled this route many, many times, but this was a special trip. We were taking a few days off for rest and relaxation, but then the water hose developed a leak. The trip home, therefore, was anything but relaxing as we added water every 25 to 50 miles. We got home ok, but then - after getting the hose fixed - the electrical system went kaput! I guess we weren't meant to have any real R&R! (Lynn-Marie took all the photos.)