Two Gasterias

My mom has a large Gasteria Obtusa that I had been admiring for several years. This past spring, I noticed a few baby off-shoots in the pot and asked if I could have one or two. She brought them over and they both looked like the one on the left, above. It seems the one on the right is thriving (notice the bright green color and fat new growth in the center) while the one on the left is thin and the color is dull, it does not seem as firmly rooted either. I have been using a fertilizer on both of them, hoping it will help the skinnier twin look a little better, but still no change.


Garden Tour

The leaves are already starting to fly, so I thought I should share photos of my garden before all the plants come inside. One of my most favorite things about our apartment is the large deck/balcony we have off the living room which allows me to put almost all my plants outside for the warm months of the year. It gets sun a good part of the day, and is just perfect for my cacti and succulents.

Above is a tall Aeonium I bought from a very interesting greenhouse near Milwaukee. Matt and I were visiting his friend for a weekend and while out, we drove by several large greenhouses and stopped at one. As soon as we walked in the door, there were cacti and succulents almost as far as the eye could see (well, maybe not that many). The plants looked a little neglected (some had outgrown their pots--including this Aeonium, and there was lots of dead fallen leaves all over) and none had prices on them. So after awhile of "ooh-ing" and "ahh-ing" at all the interesting and unusual varieties, I selected a few plants and this is one of them. To the right is a sedum "burrow's tail" that is growing like mad.

My cat, Adler (his full name is Adler Lloyd Bernard Frackleton) loves to sit on our Leopold bench Matt's dad built for us. I am growing herbs and tomatoes this year (first time ever) and they are all doing really well.

My two tomato plants--one is an heirloom "purple"-something. The fruit off this plant is incredible. The top half of the ripe tomato is dark green while the bottom half is a burgundy red. Inside the flesh is juicy blood red and has an amazing sweet, earthy taste. The other plant is less impressive--just your run-of-the-mill red tomatoes. I will most definitely be growing the heirlooms again next year.

Towards the left of this photo is my smart idea for fitting lots of cacti and succulents in a small area. I bought an inexpensive metal shelving kit at Home Depot (less than $20). It looks great and can be re-purposed during the winter to hold pots and soil in the garage, or whatever else you might need it for. One caveat is that it can be difficult to reach plants towards the back without moving others out of the way.

Last year I just had two small outdoor side-tables that I used for holding plants which looked ok, but I think now this year our deck really looks great.

Above, at the top of the photo, and below is one of my favorite plants. It is another of the lot I bought in Milwaukee. Crassula Rogersii. It has grown like crazy since I repotted it and put it outside.

I love scouring thrift stores and garage sales for vintage and hand-made pots and other decorative pieces, which you can see throughout my photos.

Wise Old Garden Owl watches over everything and brings Peace and Good Luck :)


Cacti Collection

This is my small collection of cacti. When I started, I was only interested in succulents and didn't have a single cacti until about two years into it. Now I love them! Truth be told, it was getting a bit hard to find succulents in garden centers and green houses that I didn't already have, so I was kind of forced to move onto cacti.

I'm not sure what kind this little guy is (maybe a mini barrel?):

Below is a very interesting "fairy castle" cacti with all kinds of off-shoots, and the Rhipsalis is in the foreground.

I'm quite sure the plant on the bottom right is a Echinopsis. The one towards the center in the blue pot is a Opuntia. I am thinking the one with the yellow spines looks like a small Parodia Mammulosa. No matter what they are called, they are beautiful!

This tall guy is one I bought from Mark at Creekside farm this summer. It is about 1.5-2 feet tall. Maybe a Pilosocerus with that new blue growth and hairy covering?


Lots of Fun at the Farmer's Market

We went to the Market this morning. Creekside Farm stand is always the highlight for me. It is owned by Mark and Chris, who come all the way from Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and bring with them beautiful succulents and very interesting and unusual produce. Above are a few examples of their fabulous succulent dish gardens.

I had e-mailed Mark earlier in the week asking if he had any small Crassula Rupestris. He said he just had one large one, but that he would bring some similar others for me to peruse. Sure enough! He brought a whole box full of wonderful specimens, and even some cuttings of the rupestris (below). I apologize for the blurry photos, my camera seems to be on the fritz.

This was my haul from today:

This little guy (Crassula "Baby Necklace") is similar to the rupestris, and it seems their names are interchangeable.

(Below) I'm not sure of the name of this one, although Mark said it is about 7-8 years old. I really love the woody stem and the beautiful colorful leaves. This has to be my favorite of the four I got today.

Below is the crassula coulmnnella. You can see on the right there are actually two "branches" starting to grow from the center.

These are Mouse Melons. Just one example of the really neat produce Chris and Mark grow. They taste just like a cucumber but with a tangy lime flavor. There was also some teeny-tiny cherry tomatoes on the vine, and last year they had purple tomatillos!


Euphorbia Leaf Cutting (AKA the most exciting plant story since The Orchid Thief)

Back in early June, Matt and I were in a Catholic church becoming the Godparents of our adorable little nephew Elias. When the whole thing was over, we were waiting/mingling in the common area (I'm sure there's a special name for this, but I am clueless when it comes to religious stuff). I'm looking around and see an absolutely gorgeous Euphorbia Trigona (similar to this one) in one corner of the room. I go in to have a better look. I notice several small off-shoots, and swiftly pluck one off and stick it in my purse.

On the ride home with the family, Matt blurts out, "Bobbie stole a plant from the church!" We all laugh and agree I have not committed any sin.

So, the next morning, I set the cutting in the kitchen window to dry out and callous over before I stick it soil. An hour or so later, I notice it is missing. My first thought was that it had simply blown down and I proceed to look for it in the obvious places. Soon, it is clear the plant is no where to be found. My next thought is that it has dropped into the cat's food dish (directly below the kitchen window) and he has eaten the toxic plant. Realizing this is unlikely, we proceed to move the fridge (yes, I am desperate to find it) and in so doing, I pick up the kitchen rug, where I find the cutting. A bit worse for the wear, but it looks alright.

I immediately put a little rooting hormone on the end and into a small pot of soil/sand mixture, with a little pile of fine gravel to prop it up and keep rot at bay. I set the pot in a nice sunny window and wait...and wait....and wait. I check on it every so often to keep it moist and see if it is doing anything. It hasn't dried up and it had not turned black with rot, so I am optimistic.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I notice a tiny leaf sprouting from the top. I'm so excited, I call Matt over and show him. He says he doesn't see anything. But alas! There is definitely some new growth.

Later, I see this little bud is now a full leaf and there is another one sprouting next to it. I gently try to lift the cutting from the soil and I can't without tugging on it! There are two roots growing from the base.

So now when Eli is 16 years old, I can tell him "I stole this plant from the church the day you were baptized."