Dr. Sherri Tenpenny Interview About The COVID-19 Vaccine. MUST WATCH!

This interview by Reinette Senum with Dr. Sherri Tenpenny is the scariest so far. It takes over an hour to watch, but you need to listen carefully and pay attention… I AM NOT a conspiracy theorist and I don’t share anything unless I think it is true and very important…

Click on the title, “EXPLAINS HOW THE DEPOPULATION MRNA VACCINES WILL START WORKING IN 3-6 MONTHS” to watch. You can’t click on the arrow because it is just a photo…

LINKS:

VAXXTER (A Scientific articles exposing vaccine myths and pharma foibles). You can find Dr. Tenpenny’s blog on that site.

I wouldn’t make any hasty decisions about taking the vaccine until you watch this interview…

I just want to say I posted this interview because I want you to understand you have options. So much on the news and online prays on people’s fears. We need the facts from both sides in a truthful honest way so we won’t make decisions based on fear. The interview was great, but I think their emphasis on population control could have been avoided. It raises fear which promotes hasty decisions and causes issues between both sides. It makes one side hide the truth. People in America are not puppets because of our freedoms and constitution. While some may blindly follow without question, those of us so will not will stand up for the freedom and rights for everyone. I am not a conspiracy theorist, and when they talk about the government and this and that it sounds somewhat like conspiracy theory…

We have an immune system that has always been perfectly capable of building our immunity when a virus enters our body. True vaccines, in my opinion, have always contained a small amount of the virus which allows our immune system to build immunity. Apparently, the COVID vaccines do not contain the virus. Ingredients in the vaccine “mask” the virus allowing it to enter the body undetected. Somehow, I just don’t think that is a good idea…

I know there are a lot of people who have been waiting for the vaccine and I know a lot of people personally who have already taken the first round. I also know several people who have contacted the virus and recovered, even one lady that is 91… I also had a friend who had a few health issues who caught the virus and died. His wife contacted the virus and is recovering. He was a very good man and he will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and a lot of people in the community…

If it is true that COVID-19 is a manufactured virus, it just pisses me off. Sorry, if saying that offends you. I am not scared of this virus. It just upsets me that very good, honest, hardworking people have died from it. I look at the statistics on WorldMeteres.com on occasion and compare the number of tests administered by the total amount of cases, new cases daily, totally recovered, deaths, etc.

Personally, I do not wear a mask unless it is required where I go. Even at church where just about everyone is wearing a mask, I don’t wear one. In my small community, probably about 50/50 of the people wear masks when they go shopping. One Wal-Mart I go to on occasion in a nearby community requires masks, so I always wear one there. I was at a much larger community at Wal-Mart and was surprised to see the many people weren’t wearing masks and social distancing was barely observed… Earlier, there were employees standing at the door making sure everyone wore a mask and that only a certain amount of people were allowed in the store at a time. That is not happening now…

The number of infected people are climbing because of the number of tests being administered. I would like to know how many people tested had contacted the virus and got over it that never showed any symptoms… Personally, I think that would be a very high number… Why would they need a vaccine if they already have antibodies? What will happen to people who have antibodies that take the vaccine? Hmmm…

If you can’t tell by now, I will not take the vaccine. I am 60 years old and I have never taken the flu or pneumonia shot. I eat a fairly healthy diet and take a few natural supplements when I think about it. I am healthy and take no medications. I am not against doctors or medication if people need it. I had to have surgery for kidney stones in January 2020 and certainly welcomed a good dose of morphine. 🙂 I applaud the good doctors we have around the world and all they do.

Anyway, life is a great experience and dying doesn’t bother me in the least.

There is a lot going on around the world and the media is misleading. I do not watch the news on TV, the radio, or read newspapers and haven’t most of my life. If I want to know something, I do thorough research on the subject. We have to be informed, but we have to know the truth.

Your comments are greatly appreciated…

1° F Is For The Birds!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. All is well here but it is very cold. The high for today is 1° F with a windchill of -18. The forecast says the low for the day is -6° F. I could never figure out how the low for the day is usually up to 6 AM the following morning… Anyway, it is very cold no matter when it gets here.

I went through the normal routine of getting up, making coffee, and feeding the cats. When I looked out the bedroom window, a few birds were impatiently waiting for birdseed… The hanging feeder still had plenty of feed, but what was left of the seed I spread on the ground yesterday was covered with snow. The sparrows were doing their backward scratching trying to find something to eat. I also knew I had to go to the chicken house with fresh water as theirs would be frozen. After I drank a little coffee, I went outside…

 

We had more snow somewhere between the time I went to bed and got up and there were a few more flakes falling off and on during the day. There is a 60% chance on Monday. The forecast says the low for the day is -6° F. I could never figure out how the low for the day is usually up to 6 AM the following morning… Anyway, it is very cold no matter when it gets here.

 

I went through the normal routine of getting up, making coffee, feeding the cats, and taking the first three photos.

When I looked out the bedroom window, a few birds were impatiently waiting for birdseed… The hanging feeder still had plenty of feed, but what was left of the seed I spread on the ground yesterday was covered with snow. The sparrows were doing their backward scratching trying to find something to eat. I also knew I had to go to the chicken house with fresh water as theirs would be frozen. After I drank a little coffee, I went outside to the chicken house and sprinkled about a gallon of birdseed next to the tree in front of my bedroom/office window.

Then, I came back inside and got the camera…

 

I went outside and saw the little black tomcat by the corner of the house. He doesn’t look too impressed to me. I already forgot the name I gave him recently so I will have to look at past posts or make up a new one. It’s a good thing I didn’t tell him his name. 🙂

This cat has been coming and going lately, and sometimes he isn’t here to eat feed for several days at a time. He is growing, though, and is almost as big as Simba. A couple of evenings ago I heard Simba and Little Bit growling on the back porch. There was this black tomcat by the steps wanting something to eat but he wasn’t allowed. I thought, “what the heck? Why aren’t they letting him come to eat?” I opened the door and looked at the black tomcat and said, “MAN you grew over the last few days while you were gone.” Simba looked at me and said, “that IS NOT our friend!” Well, I was sort of confused for a minute. I stepped out of the door and the black cat ran down the steps but tried several times later. I think he finally did get something to eat.  The next morning the little black tomcat came to eat and there were no issues… HMMM… I guess we have been having a visitor…

 

When I was coming back from the chicken house, I noticed the furnace vent had some ice around it. I never saw that before… It’s just on one side but you would think as much as the furnace has been running there wouldn’t ice around the vent! GEEZ!

 

Thank goodness Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ is covered up… 🙂

 

HMMM… The Cylindropuntia imbricata is covered with snow and taking a bow… It has been warm enough until last week it hasn’t even turned red.

 

I went back inside and Jade was asking if she could sit on the shelf in the bedroom. I said, “Ahhh, since you successfully snuck in a few days ago and I let you stay now you are asking?”  I let her in but I told her not to make this a habit. 🙂 She ran in and put her front paws on the front of the shelf and looked at me. She snuck on the corner last time, but this time she wanted more room… I picked her up and guided her to the corner in front of the Aloe maculata… She was agreeable…

I used to allow her to stay in the bedroom and sleep on the foot of the bed when I was in there working on the computer, but her hair… I mean, enough is enough! I would go to bed at night and pull hair out of my mustache. SO, when I bought the new flannel blanket for winter, she had to stay out of the bedroom.

 

When I took the above photo there weren’t many birds eating under the tree. I thought maybe it was so cold they were somewhere out of the wind.

 

Then, the Blue Jay came and what birds were there flew off. He makes the other birds nervous.

Oh yeah, a few days ago there was a new bird I hadn’t seen before. I didn’t get any photos but I looked on All About Birds and found out it was a male Spotted Towhee. We are a little out of its range, but it for sure was a Spotted Towhee. I have not seen it since.

 

A few more birds trickled in. Mostly different species of sparrows and the Dark-Eyed Junco. The Red-Bellied Woodpecker would fly down and get seed and then go to the tree to hide it. He was very busy and wouldn’t sit still long enough to get a shot.

 

I don’t know, but I think that speckled bird is an immature sparrow of some sort… There are several species of Sparrows here but I don’t want to get the list and write them all down… I am sure several species look the same at this stage.

 

Every time I looked out the window there would be a different bird to take a photo of, so I would get the camera and give it a shot. I saw a female Cardinal only one time…

 

Then, later, there was a Morning Dove and a couple of male Cardinals. I was lucky and got a good 2 for 1 shot. 🙂

 

Hmmm… I think this was a time I tried to get a photo of the woodpecker… The Tufted Titmouse came a few times but wasn’t in the mood to get its photo taken.

 

Then, LOW AND BEHOLD, an Eastern Bluebird flew in the tree. I guess he wanted to see what was going on but he didn’t stay long and went on his way.

 

Then FINALLY the little Nuthatch came… I took five photos but only this one wasn’t blurry. These are neat birds and I always like watching them…

 

I took the birds photos over a several hour period but I grew tired of that. It’s days like this that the cactus and other plants are glad to be on the warm side of the window. I completely agree! Jade is now sleeping on the bottom shelf but you can’t see her in this photo. Actually, I think a nap sounds pretty good…

How is the weather in your neck of the woods?

Until next time, be safe, keep warm (or cool wherever you may be), stay well, and always be thankful!

Sonora Desert Dirt Finally Arrived!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well! The Sonora Desert Dirt finally arrived. The seller on Ebay, candacelcolburn, shipped the dirt which was processed through the USPS facility in Mesa, Arizona on January 6. Then it went to Phoenix and was processed through the USPS facility there on the 6th and 7th… That’s where everything stopped, or so it appeared, until January 24 when it arrived at the USPS facility in Kansas City… Normally, once packages arrive in KC, they come on to Windsor but this time it went to Columbia then to Windsor which took another 2 days. Well, I am not going to complain because the USPS is having their own issues… I am thankful the dirt arrived safe and sound.

You may be wondering why I bought dirt on Ebay when I have 40 acres of dirt… Well, this is no ordinary dirt. The listing on Ebay says…

“You will receive 20 pounds of organic sifted cactus soil. This is real Sonoran desert soil. It is sifted to remove medium and large rocks, sticks, leaves, and any other natural occurring objects. This is the soil that cactus have evolved to grow in. Any other cactus soil is an imitation and an inferior soil. Get the best for your plants. This is the gold standard when planting desert plants. There may be a very minor weight variation due to this item being a natural product.”

You can get 20 or 40 pounds but I decided 20 would be enough to check it out…

I opened the box and found an envelope on top…

 

Seeds and instructions… Hmmmm… Must be a free gift. 🙂

 

Looks like rocky dirt, huh? I could fill the same size box with dirt from the garden and it would not weigh 20 pounds. This stuff is heavy!

 

I have not been to the desert but I have no reason to believe it is not authentic. It looks pretty much as I expected. Now I am wondering how to use it in pots… This could get interesting…

 

Hmmm… The package of seeds has a slip of paper that says “100+ Saguaro”…

 

The paper with it says “How to grow a Saguaro (Sa-wah-roe).” It is from the National Park Service…

 

The information on the front is about the Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) and growing instructions…

 

The back of the paper is about the life cycle of the Saguaro Cactus… It says, “Saguaro Cactus normally live for 150-200 years. Death may come from freezing, lightning, wind, old age or vandalism.”

While I was writing this post, I went back to the box of dirt several times. Some of my thoughts were, “GEEZ! I bought a box of dirt.” I laughed a little but the cactus on the shelf are smiling. They are saying, “I want some of that.”

When you buy cactus plants from a retail garden center or even online, they come in ordinary commercial potting soil that is not exactly suitable for cactus and succulents. I don’t know what the watering schedule is during the winter months with commercial growers but that is a question I may bring up with Nico Britsch (since he is the third generation of cactus and succulent growers).

The issue is using potting soil that is peat-based and how it absorbs water just fine when you first open the bag. There are several other ingredients in the bags that are great for ordinary plants, and even cactus and succulents during the growing period when plants are getting rain and supplemental water. BUT, when the peat dries out, it can be difficult to get it to reabsorb water. “Most plants” I grow in pots need to dry out between watering so when you water again one might think they are getting enough when the water runs out of the bottom of the pot. BUT, if you notice, sometimes when the potting soil dries, it pulls away from the sides of the pot. So, the water you put in may just be running down around the potting soil and out the bottom instead of absorbing into the mix… During periods of rain, the soil the cactus are in will absorb water because they get a good soaking. Sometimes I wonder if they are getting too much water but they are always fine. I have never lost a cactus due to too much rain. Then during the fall and winter months, the cactus are inside and their water is restricted. It is then when their potting soil gets as hard as a brick…

Cactus and succulent enthusiasts recommend using a “loam-based” mix. I cannot find a “loam-based” potting soil at any garden center, or even online. The topsoil around here is loam and I have wondered about using it as an experiment. Actually, when I lived in Mississippi there was an old goldfish pool in the back yard that was full cracks. I used to fill it with leaves and the HUGE earthworms would decompose it. I used the composted soil with a little potting soil and sand that was under the brick floor of the old covered patio. Well, that was quite a few years ago and I was a cactus newbie at the time… The topsoil here is very fine, as most “dirt” is, so I figured it wouldn’t be a good idea to use it, even mixed with pumice or perlite, as a substitute for peat. But you know what? This desert dirt is very fine with a few pebbles… Where cactus grow in deserts, there is a wide variety of plant life that dies and decomposes just like everywhere else. But, everything decomposes more rapidly in the desert so, and from what I glean, most desert soil doesn’t have much nutritional value… So, I am going to experiment with the desert dirt and topsoil in my back yard. Many years ago, one of the favorite sources of dirt for pots was from molehills. As the moles tunnel down, they bring up soil that doesn’t have any weed or grass seed. Ever noticed how long it takes grass to grow on a molehill?

So, I guess I have some experimenting to do. You can’t just plant in regular dirt in pots, or even this desert dirt, without adding pumice, perlite, or something. Anyway…

I better stop or I will be writing down all my thoughts about the situation or this post may get quite long.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, and always be thankful. As always, get dirty if you can…

 

So Much Spam

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I enjoy getting comments, we all do, but the spam content is just weird… If I don’t delete the spam comments every day, which I don’t always remember to do, they just pile up in the thousands. Most are the same thing by different people. This one, “Muchas gracias…” is just nuts. I get spam about viagra and other drugs, religion, wanting to make guest posts, and this and that. I emptied the spam a couple of days ago and this morning there is 1,118 AGAIN. It takes a while to get them all deleted. I click on “empty spam” and only maybe 1/4 get deleted so it takes several attempts to get them all deleted. I have had as high as almost 5,000 before I deleted them!

Sometimes I click on “empty spam” and after a couple of minutes, I get this “OOPS! Something went wrong…”

I am thankful for the filters otherwise they would be in with the “normal” comments. I can’t imagine!!! I would sure like to know where they come from and how much people get paid for doing this. 🙂 I have to laugh…

Anyway, I just thought I would bring it up out of curiosity…

I am still updating the plant pages which is what I do over the winter. I am on the “G’s” then I will start on the wildflower pages. Adding some color to the fonts and making sure accepted names haven’t changed for the most part. I thought I had updated them all last winter, but some of the pages haven’t been done since 2018. Then I remembered I was working on wildflower pages last winter so I didn’t update them all. I still didn’t get all the wildflower pages added but I need to do these updates before starting on them again.

I would also like to do a post about plant databases and online sources of information…

Spring is right around the corner… I can feel it coming! 🙂 We had quite a lot of rain during the night and I am thankful it wasn’t ice or snow. High today is 41° F and the forecast says the low will be 28…

Until next time, stay well, be safe, be positive, stay thankful… Get dirty if you are able. You could even just stick your hands in a bag of potting soil. That reminds me… My desert dirt has finally made it to Kansas City so it should be here on Tuesday. 🙂

 

 

 

COVID Blues and Quarantine

Sedum adolphi ‘Firestorm’.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I don’t know about your thoughts and experiences, but things are weird… I have ordered a few things on Ebay now and then since COVID-19 started and they came through just fine. I decided to order some “dirt” from a seller on Ebay that lives in Arizona. Well, it isn’t just any dirt. It is Sonora Desert Dirt for the cactus. Anyway, it was supposed to be here on January 11 and here it is the 21st and it still hasn’t arrived. The tracking information on Ebay hasn’t been updated since January 7 which says, “Processed through USPS facility Phoenix, Arizona.” I put the tracking number in on the USPS website and it was last updated on January 11. It says, “In Transit, Arriving Late. Your package will arrive later than expected, but is still on its way. It is currently in transit to the next facility.” At the top of the USPS website, it says, “ALERT: USPS IS EXPERIENCING UNPRECEDENTED VOLUME INCREASES AND LIMITED EMPLOYEE AVAILABILITY DUE TO THE IMPACTS OF COVID-19. WE APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE.”

What does “LIMITED EMPLOYEE AVAILABILITY” mean? I ordered another item from a different seller the same day that was shipped through UPS. It was delivered to the local post office and arrived on January 12. Often something shipped through UPS gets dropped off at the local post office for them to deliver which started happening last year on occasion. I read somewhere UPS is also delivering some packages for the USPS. SO, “WHERE IS THE DIRT?”

I was curious about the issue, so I typed in “USPS delays” and found this article submitted by NPR… You can read it by clicking HERE. GEEZ! So, I will just be patient. The dirt isn’t going to rot. When I was waiting on Tony’s plants to arrive from California, they were delayed somewhat. I took the tracking number to the local post office and the guy there looked it up for me. I thought maybe he would have better information. Well, that wasn’t the case. He told me then that a lot of the items aren’t even getting scanned as they travel through the system…

The article says that there are several reasons for the delays, mainly due to the impact of COVID-19. Even though USPS has hired 100,000 new workers, many employees and their families have contacted the virus. People shipped a lot more packages over the holidays, and A LOT of those Christmas gifts haven’t even arrived at their destination. All the important mail is also delayed…

It isn’t just the mail that has been affected. In some instances, people are back to work as usual while they try to implement social distancing and by wearing masks. I filed for unemployment benefits online but had an issue so I went to an office 28 miles away… I hadn’t been there for several years and found out they moved in 2017 to a different location. The other office was much bigger and there were a lot of employees. The new office is very small and there were only four people working. I had an issue, like I mentioned, and had to call the regional office from the phone next to the computer I was working on. There was an issue getting my computer to do what it was supposed to so the agent I was speaking with just did it from her end. I was a federal employee last summer as an enumerator for the Census Bureau, so we had some difficulty… That all started on November 13. Each week since, I have been putting in my work searches as I am supposed to… My claim and weekly filings are still processing. I called the regional office several times and they say they are still waiting on the federal office to respond (since I was a federal employee). Well, I decided I would call the Census office. The guy I eventually spoke with asked if I had worked in 2019. I haven’t been “employed” since 2014 except for working five hours a week cleaning the church… He said I wouldn’t be eligible for benefits until maybe June or July anyway (forgot what he said) when the third quarter begins… HMMM… I am 60 and trying to find a job is NUTS! He said I should work online from home… I will continue to file my weekly claim until I am told I have been denied…

ANYWAY…

Quarantined plants…

A FEW MONTHS AGO… I noticed the Aloe called ‘Blue Elf’ shipped from Succulent Market had bugs… I moved it away from the other plants and gave it a good dose of spray. I sprayed it every couple of days, washed it a few times (even the roots) and put it in new soil. As I was doing that, I noticed ‘Blue Elf’ was not a ‘Blue Elf’… Oh, it is not in the above photo because it is in a different room…

I kept an eye out on the other succulents, and within a day or so of when the “Blue Elf’ wannabe was infected, the Aristaloe aristata from Succulent Market also had bugs… Not only that, the older Aristaloe aristata also had a few! The Gasteria sp. had a few bugs but its leaves are very hard so they were easily removed. There were some sticky patches on the Aloe maculata, x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’, and x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ but I didn’t see any bugs. I sprayed them and moved them to a table away from the other plants. I have had them for quite a while and never had any bug problems. Then I noticed some of the small offsets from x Gasteraloe ‘Flow” also had a few so I moved them to the kitchen…

Older Aristaloe aristata…

The older Aristaloe aristata had some earlier difficulties from being repotted in a pot that was too big. Over the summer it did much better after I put it back in a smaller pot and was getting along fine. Then it got bugs… I have sprayed it several times but I don’t remember if I washed it or not… The bug problem with this plant is not getting better. They got worse and this plant may ultimately die… I washed each leaf of the newer plant individually right down to the base which is not easy… The older A. aristata didn’t have that many bugs at first and seemed to be getting better. Today it looks terrible so I sprayed it again and when I finish this post, I will wash the old girl. I thought I already washed it before, but seeing it this morning makes me wonder. I probably didn’t because it wasn’t this bad before…

Two of the five plants from Succulent Market are in my bedroom and one is in the kitchen. None of them have bugs…

The bugs are either white scale or mealy bugs. It is hard to determine because I have never had white scale before so I am not sure what they are supposed to look like. I rarely ever have bugs of any kind, but last fall the Stapelia gigantea had a few on the tips of their stems. I just removed them and that was that. Mealybugs may look different on Aloe because of the gel inside the leaves… Not only that… You know how ants “farm” aphids? Well, there were ants crawling on the leaves of the Aloe ‘Blue Elf’ wannabe several times. WHERE IN THE HECK DID THEY COME FROM? None of the other plants have had ants… The bugs now are kind of gooey and when I rub them between my fingers it looks and feels like sand… Well, it isn’t the bugs that are gooey. The bugs pierce the leaves of the Aloe and secrete the goo (sugar) which is what the ants on the Aloe were after. Ants will actually take the insects, such as aphids, and put them on other plants…

I am not blaming the plants from Succulent Market or Nico, but it is just suspicious the first plant to have the bugs was the Aloe ‘Blue Elf’ wannabe… I emailed Nico and he apologized and wanted me to send photos. I took a lot of photos at the time but they were too blurry to make out.

Brown scale (?) on the Kalanchoe x laetivirens

Today I also noticed some weirdness on the Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands). I have had this species for YEARS and never had any issues… I may just remove the leaf…

 

If the Kalanchoe luciae gets bugs I would never notice. Their stems are white and chalky which look like a bad infestation of bugs…

 

As I walked past the sliding door in the dining room, I noticed Simba was taking a snooze in one of the chairs on the back deck. Well, he saw me and came to the door. I wanted to get a photo of him, then we had company… The cats aren’t too happy with me lately. Dad always fed Friskies cat food then we switched to Kit and Kaboodle. They seemed to be OK with it at first and what they didn’t eat the raccoons and opossums would finish. Last year I was given a bag of Purina Complete that a friend’s cat wouldn’t eat. Normally, they buy small bags but they had bought a larger bag which must have lost its ZIP so they gave it to me for my cats. They thought it was AWESOME! So, I started buying Purina Complete. Cat food has been something the Dollar General has been having issues keeping stocked since COVID. I have no idea what cat food has to do with COVID, but that was their excuse several months ago. Anyway, I brought home another bag of Kit and Kaboodle last week and the cats weren’t at all happy. They looked at me like “what is this?”

The above photo shows Simba and Little Bit talking over the issue and Suzie walked over to have a look. Suzie told Simba and Little Bit that wasn’t their pan.

 

A few days later I bought another bag of Purina Complete and mixed the two together. They would pick out the Purina and leave the Kit and Kaboodle… I moved the feed pans and Simba decided to check “his” pan. He doesn’t eat with Suzie and Barn Cat but he shares his pan with Little Bit and the younger tom cat. The younger tom cat didn’t show up today…

 

He said, “oh, what the heck…”

 

Old Barn Cat decided to come and see what was going on…

 

The Barn Cats gets pretty friendly when she is hungry or is hoping for a treat… I could never touch Barn Cat for years until one day she just decided to get friendly. She is always eager for table scraps which the cats don’t normally get… Her and Suzie are very old…

 

Suzie decided she needed a drink…

 

Barn Cat decided she would nibble a little since there was a little Purina in the pan…

 

She really isn’t hungry, though… Probably just bored and waiting for better food.

 

Getting a good photo of Little Bit is very difficult because she won’t stop moving. She likes a lot of attention sometimes.

 

Jade prefers the solitude on the front porch and doesn’t like the drama from the other cats. She gets along OK with Little Bit and the younger black tomcat. She thinks Simba is a bully and I am not sure what she thinks about Barn Cat and Suzie. She doesn’t want to talk about them and just gives me a blank look when they come around. Sometimes she will be on the side porch waiting to come inside and they will come when I open the door…

Well, I better get off here. A friend had his gall bladder removed today and I have to his farm for a little bit. Something about a few chickens got out and I have to put them back in the chicken house…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, be thankful and GET DIRTY if you can…

Surprise At The Bird Feeder

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I got up this morning and opened my blinds and saw the snow and ice hadn’t melted overnight. There were a few birds hopping around on the ground looking for food. The feeder was still almost full. So, I made coffee, fed the cats, and decided I would get a little birdseed and sprinkle it on the ground. As I approached the tree, they didn’t fly off like they normally do…

 

White-Breasted Nuthatch

I was 5-6 feet from the feeder and I looked up and saw a White-Breasted Nuthatch peeking around at me from behind. I SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWWLLLLYYYY reached in my pocket and got my camera. The Nuthatch moved to the side of the feeder for a better shot. They are such neat little birds and quite comical the way they sometimes back up on tree limbs.

Then something even more exciting happened…

Tufted Titmouse

A Tufted Titmouse flew right on the feeder in front of me… For me, to be that close to a Tufted Titmouse was incredible. They are very cautious and trying to get a good photo of one was always a challenge. I have tried to get photos a multiple of times but they just won’t sit still. I have taken photos that are blurry and some even with no bird because by the time I took the shot they were gone. Watching it at the feeder so close kind of made me feel all warm ad fuzzy. OK, I made that part up…

I wonder what would happen if I sat in a chair under the feeder? Well, I think I should do that where I feed in the back yard. People driving by and the neighbors would think I completely lost my mind…

 

I ventured out to the chicken house to check their feed and water then decided I would take a few photos of the Chinese Elm disaster.

 

I kind of knew it would happen sooner or later because one of the limbs that fell yesterday was kind of growing horizontal toward the shed (which is not in the photo). I used to have my plant on a couple of tables behind the shed and was always standing on the tables removing branches that were hanging down. I am thankful I moved the tables to the front and back porch. Several limbs had already fallen out of this tree before.

 

LUCKILY the only damage to the pickup was on the bed. The biggest limb was actually right smack on top of the cab and one of its branches was on the hood. Apparently, the one that fell on the bed kept the other one from doing as much damage.

 

As I went back to the house it started sowing a little. It looked like little styrofoam balls falling from the sky… On the steps, I could see a few that looked like tiny stars…

 

I have to admit, snowflakes are a marvel of nature…

 

What is this world coming to? I am taking photos of snowflakes!!! With that, I think I better stop! At almost 3 PM when I am finishing this post, it is “s-ing”… I mean REALLY ‘S-ING”… The forecast last night said we had a 20% chance this afternoon… It is very fine and I need to go clean the church. I guess I better get on with it. 🙂

Until next time… You know the drill…

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! SNOW!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. We had a lot of wind and rain during the night then it started getting quiet. I could still hear a few drops hitting the vent in the restroom (attached to my bedroom) off and on. I gt up and went to the kitchen maybe at 5 AM and I looked outside and could tell the rain had frozen and it was “S-ing” just a little but it was very fine.

 

It was a good thing I bought bird food yesterday and filled the feeders… I hadn’t seen many birds until this morning. Even a Tufted Titmouse made an appearance but she wouldn’t sit still long enough to get a photo.

You know I am not a big “S” fan, but I have to admit it looks pretty neat stuck to the ice on the branches.

Jade wanted outside, so I opened the front door so she could go on the porch. She poked her head out then changed her mind. Later on, she decided to go out for a spell but she didn’t get off of the porch…

I hope we all have a much better 2021. We have had our ups and downs during 2020 with COVID and the election ordeal, but hopefully, soon they will both be behind us so we can move forward with a brighter future…

Until next time be safe, stay well, stay positive, and always be thankful.

 

Correcting Mr. Muehlenpfordtii…

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion).

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. All is well here for the most part. I am sure if I looked hard enough I would find more that needs attention. Christmas came and went like any other day, and I was able to sneak my birthday by without hardly anyone noticing. Soon New Years Day will come and go as well. I stopped making resolutions because they seemed to linger on for the whole year only to have some of them repeated for the next year.

Anyway, this post is about the Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii. His common name is Golden Pincushion, but I have been calling him Mr. Muehlenpfordtii. He is doing great, but he is a bit of a leaner. I think he must have fallen asleep while standing up and he just keeps leaning more. I got tired of looking at him like that and was concerned he might just fall over and roll off of the shelf and onto the floor, so I decided I better straighten him up…

With spines like this, he needs some respect and careful handling.

 

He is getting a little gray on the bottom, but I guess that is normal. His white radial spines are so closely packed together I can’t tell what color he is down there. Information says Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii has between 24-50 radial spines per areola, not to mention the long central spines…

 

Mr. Muehlenpfordtii isn’t a guy you just want to grab and hold and a hug is out of the question. I just let him lay comfortably in my hand and pulled the pot off. Besides, he is sleeping and I definitely didn’t want to wake him up… It would be like exciting a Porcupine…

 

As always, the potting soil the cactus and succulents are in gets very hard this time of the year when it dries up. The peat dries and shrinks and seems to squeeze their roots. So, even though most people probably re-pot in the spring, I like to do it in the fall and winter so their potting soil will be loose and airy. I removed most of the old potting soil without breaking many roots…

 

I decided I would increase his pot side as well. He was in a 4″ diameter x 3″ tall pot and the new one is 4 1/2″ diameter x 4″ tall. Depending on the cactus, increasing the diameter of the pot by 1/2-1″ is plenty because they grow fairly slowly and don’t usually have a big root system. I started using a 50/50 mix of Miracle Grow Potting Soil and 1/8″ pumice for the cactus and succulents in 2018 and it worked very well. I had been using 2 parts potting soil with 1 part additional pumice and 1 part chicken grit for many years. I liked the pumice pretty well, so when I ran out I ordered 1/4″. There are a lot of pretty elaborate potting soil recipes online but they do just fine with a simple concoction as long as the soil is very well-draining and doesn’t hold water for a long period of time. I always like the water to drain out of the bottom as fast as I pour it in from the top.

Now when Mr. Muehlenpfordtii wakes up he will be in a new pot with fresh dirt. 🙂

Most of the cactus still need re-potted as well as some of the succulents. I continually update the plant pages (to the right) over the winter months and am making a few changes in appearance. It seems I have an idea that changes somewhat from page to page then I have to start over to update the change on the pages I already updated. 🙂

I think I will talk about Aloe next…

OK, that’s enough for now… Until next time, be safe, stay well and positive, and always be thankful. If you can get dirty… GET DIRTY! 🙂

Surprise FINALLY Arrived

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. It has been cool and cloudy the past several days and we had a little snow yesterday evening. By the time I got out of bed, it had almost all melted.

I went to get the mail and was surprised by a box… Hmmm… I wonder what this is? The box is actually bigger than it looks in the photo.

 

I put the box on my bed and opened it only to find it stuffed with paper… Hmmm…

 

HOLY COW! PLANTS!!!

 

Well, I knew what was in the box because I had been expecting it. Tony Tomeo, a fellow blogger and friend that you may know, offered to send a few Epiphyllum and I couldn’t very well refuse. I have not grown any, so it seemed like a great opportunity to give them a shot. I am barely trying to give a good enough reason to acquire more plants even though I personally don’t need a reason or excuse. 🙂 But if someone were to ask why… Truthfully, no one comes for a visit so I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. That’s a good thing, because if anyone was to come and ask “why” I would probably just look at them rather blankly. It’s isn’t like I am a plant hoarder. 🙂

Information from the tracking number Tony sent said they were supposed to be here on Monday. Monday came and I went to the USPS website and put in the number. The first several times I tried, it said “the service wasn’t available at the moment” or something to that effect. Finally, it said Monday was the expected delivery date but it could be delayed… Well, by that tie my mail had already arrived and there was no package. I stopped by the post office later in the afternoon and gave the clerk the tracking number and he said packages are 4-5 days behind… He said if I didn’t get it by Thursday to come back… GEEZ! Luckily, the plants arrived safe and sound although very cold but they seem OK.

The plants were all wrapped very well so they couldn’t help but arrive safe and sound. The largest group is a white cultivar Tony said were his favorite and they produce very big and fragrant white flowers.

 

One group is a white Epiphyllum oxypetalum, one is a red cultivar, and the other is likely the pink and white cultivar Tony mentioned. Now, I will put them in pots so they can do their thing…

I want to thank Tony for sending so many plants and giving me the opportunity to try something different. Variety, you know, is the spice of life. 🙂 It is so good to have friends that help with a good addiction in a positive. Plant collecting is a great hobby and is no different than some people collecting baseball caps and cards, antiques, old tools, teapots, oil lamps, coins, stamps… Well, you get the picture.

If you don’t know Tony Tomeo, pop on over to his blog by clicking HERE. He is very well experienced and knowledgeable in the horticulture field and always has interesting posts and plenty to say.

Well, I better close this post so I can do some potting. I am also in the process of repotting the cactus and succulents. I know “most people” probably do it in the spring, but I like to do it in the fall and winter because their potting soil gets very hard once you stop watering. From the time I bring the plants inside for the winter in mid-October until sometime in late April to early May, the cactus and succulents get barely any water. Because of that, the peat in their potting mix gets VERY HARD so I re-pot with fresh so it will be nice and airy. I mix Miracle Grow Potting Soil 50/50 with pumice. I used 1/8″ before but I have switched to 1/4″.

Until next time, be safe and well, stay positive, and always be thankful. Always try to get as dirty as you can even if it is inside. 🙂

IT WORKED! WE HAVE FRUIT!

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday cactus) on 12-13-20, #770-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The Schlumbergera truncata are doing very well on the kitchen windowsill. I have been watching them for signs that the hand-pollinating experiment worked…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the yellow-flowered plant, 12-13-20, # 770-2.

As the flowers started wilting I started watching and waiting to see what would happen next. As the days passed by, I could see that something a little different was going on with the wilted flowers. The flowers I hadn’t pollinated just fell off but the ones I did remain on the plants.

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the yellow-flowered plant, 12-13-20, # 770-3.

The next thing I knew, a small swelling appeared which continued to get larger. WE HAVE FRUIT!!!

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the red-flowered plant, 12-13-20, # 770-4.

The two flowers I hand-pollinated on the red-flowered plant did the same…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the red-flowered plant, 12-13-20, # 770-5.

Now I have to wait for a year before I can remove the fruit and seed to see if they will germinate. Just an experiment…

Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) on 12-13-20, #770-6.

The new Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus), also on the kitchen windowsill, is doing well and its new segments are starting to grow. They looked a little strange at first because they were almost black…

Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 12-13-20, #770-7.

The new Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) has perked up nicely and is also doing quite well. It looks like only three upper segments dried up (which I removed after I took the photo).

On Monday, I am supposed to receive the package sent by Tony Tomeo… SO, I am anxiously waiting…

Until next time, be safe, stay well and positive, and always be thankful.

 

Four New Cactus, Two New Species

New cactus from Wal-Mart after I brought them home on December 2 (2020). I identified the plant on the right front as Gymnocalycium baldianum (Dwarf Chin Cactus), and the one in the rear on the right as Mammillaria nivosa (Wooly Nipple Cactus). The two on the left… Mammillaria ?.

Hello Everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I went to Wal-Mart on December 2 to do a little shopping but mainly because I needed more saucers to go under pots. A lot of the old ones had gotten worn out plus I needed a few more. While I was in the plant department I decided to check out the “cactus corner” where they keep the cactus and succulents. As usual, they were over watered and otherwise neglected. Anyway, I found four that I decided to bring home.

I knew one was a Gymnocalycium and the other three were Mammillaria species. The label on the side of the pots…

The labels were mostly uninformative and basically just said “CACTUS” with a little growing information. Labels like that don’t give you much to go by. Even if there was an outdated name it would have been much better. The grower is the same as the last plants I bought at Lowe’s. Finding their correct names is a lot more difficult especially when it comes to Mammillaria… They were in 3 1/2″ pots, though, and all had plenty of room to grow.

Gymnocalycium baldianum (Dwarf Chin Cactus) at 1 1/6″ tall x 2″ wide on 12-2-20, #767-2.

The Gymnocalycium was fairly easy to identify because I already have a G. saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) that I had brought home from Lowe’s in March of 2019. It is a great plant, so bringing this one home was a no-brainer. With only 61 species to choose from in the genus, it wasn’t that difficult to figure out this plant was a Gymnocalycium baldianum commonly known as the Dwarf Chin Cactus. It is very small at only 1 1/6″ tall x 2″ wide.

Gymnocalycium baldianum (Speg.) Speg. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Gymnocalycium. It was named and described as such by Carlo Luigi (Carlos Luis) Spegazzini in Anales de la Sociedad Cientifica Argentina in 1925. It was previously named described as Echinocactus baldianus by Mr. Spegazzini in Anales del Museo Nacional de Buenos Aires in 1905. The International Plant Names Index (IPNI) has more than 2,700 records for plant names of which Mr. Spegazzini is either the author, co-author, or involved in the basionym.

The Dwarf Chin Cactus is a native of the Catamarca Province of Argentina where it grows in a fairly restricted range. Its major threats are collection and fires.

Gymnocalycium baldianum (Dwarf Chin Cactus) on 12-2-20, #767-3.

This species is rather small, growing to only 3-4″ tall x 3-5″ wide, and can be grayish-brown to blue-green, sometimes almost bluish-black. They have 9-10 rather broad ribs with prominent tubercles divided by deep axils. The areoles on the end of the tubercles have a small tuft of wool and 5-7 very short, somewhat recurved,  radial spines. It looks like there is a smile between each tubercle… There is a name for that but I forgot what it… I read about that as a distinguishing feature of another species. 🙂

Gymnocalycium baldianum (Dwarf Chin Cactus) on 12-2-20, #767-4.

The apex of the plant is concave or “sunk-in” which is a pretty neat feature of most cactus. As plants grow, they just kind of unfold. Always constantly moving, but every so SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWWLLLLYYYY…

Gymnocalycium baldianum has received the Royal Botanical Society’s Award of Garden Merit. 

Mammillaria nivosa (Wooly Nipple Cactus) at 1 3/4″ tall x 2″ wide after I brought it home on 12-2-20, #767-13.

The second plant that was fairly easy to identify was the Mammillaria nivosa whose common name is Wooly Nipple Cactus. It was easy to identify because I put photos on a Facebook Group and a member told me what it was. I didn’t feel like going through Mammillaria photos to figure it out. Most of the photos show their flowers and not the plant itself… This plant is 1 3/4″ tall x 2″ wide and can grow up to 10″ tall.

This species is fairly unique because of where it is native. While most cactus are native of Mexico through South America, this one is found on several islands in the Caribbean. Its native habitats are declining due to urbanization and tourism but it is also found on Mona Island which is a protected nature reserve.

Mammillaria nivosa Link ex Pfeiff. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Wooly Nipple Cactus. It was named and described as such by Louis (Ludwig) Karl Georg Pfeiffer in Enumeratio Diagnostica Cactearum hucusque Cognitarum in 1837. It had previously been named and described by Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link but his description wasn’t validly published. Mr. Pfeiffer then used his name and description giving Mr.Link the credit.

Mammillaria nivosa (Wooly Nipple cactus) on 12-2-20, #767-14.

In the wild, Mammillaria nivosa can be found as solitary plants, but usually grows in colonies and readily offsets to form a small mat. Plants are dark green but turn a bronze color in more sun. Plants are globe-shaped and cylindrical with obtusely conical and laterally compressed tubercles.

Mammillaria nivosa (Wooly Nipple Cactus) on 12-2-20, #767-15.

Its tubercles have wooly areoles that usually produce one central spine and 6-13 radial spines. The spines are bright yellow to dark brown and are approximately 1 1/2″ long, point away from the stem, and are VERY stiff and sharp. There is ample wool in the axils between the tubercles as well. This plant does well in sunny to partly shady areas, but bright light is supposed to bring out the bronze color, encourage flowering, and heavy wool and spine production…

NOW FOR THE OTHER TWO PERPLEXING PLANTS…

One of the members on the Facebook group suggested the other two were Mammillaria hahniana. My thoughts and reply were, “I already have a Mammillaria hahniana and it looks nothing like these two.” I posted a photo of my Mammillaria hahniana and received several “likes”. No one else had any other suggestions so after a few days I posted photos on three other Facebook groups. NOTHING. I was pretty surprised no one had any other suggestions. That never happens! SO, I revisited my Mammillaria hahniana page and went to the description on Lifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms). There were also quite a few photos online that sort of revealed my screw up… Mammillaria hahniana is A “VARIABLE” species. OH, I had already sent photos to Daiv Freeman of the CactiGuide explaining the ordeal and I received no reply from him either. That also never happens. It was like his silence was telling me I had it already figured it out. GEEZ! The reality of having brought home two more Mammillaria hahniana was setting in… The goal is to collect more species not more of the same… You can clearly understand how that can happen when there are “variables” involved. All three plants are completely different… After thinking about it, I was OK with having three Mammillaria hahniana, since they show the variations of the species. I named them Unos, Dos, and Tres. 🙂

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #2 (Dos) at 1 3/4″ tall x 2″ wide on 12-2-20, # 767-6.

The first one in question, Dos,  is sort of club-shaped and a darker green. It measured 1 3/4″ tall x 2″ wide and is very hairy…

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #3 (Tres) at 1 1/8T tall x 2″wide on 12-2-20, # 767-10.

Tres is shorter than Dos at 1 1/8″ tall but it is also 2″ in diameter. When I measure cactus I ignore the spines and focus on the body (stem) of the plant. Tres is kind of squat and globe-shaped like a pumpkin. It is kind of more bluish-green in color which can throw you off a little… The Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii in my collection is a bluish-green and AWESOME!

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #2 (Dos) on 12-2-20, # 767-7.

From the above close-up of Dos, you can see hairs, wool, and spines. There is just a little speck of wool growing from the axils between the tubercles. Some of the “hair” is also coming from the axils but you have to get a magnifying glass to tell. The areoles on the tip of the tubercles have 1-4 very short central spines and 20-30 hair-like radial spines… Some are very short and others VERY LONG. Information on Llifle says these hair-like spines can be from 5-15 mm long which is just over 1/4″ to just over 1/2″. Some of the longer hairs on this plant are nearly 1″ long which I think are coming from the axils. Dos has more of a flat top similar to Unos…

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #2 (Dos) on 12-2-20, # 767-8.

The apex of Dos (#2) is clearly concaved with a lot of wool in the center. The areoles also have more wool around the top of the plant but seem to disappear somewhat farther down the stem (as the plant grows).

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #3 (Tres) on 12-2-20, # 767-11.

Tres has A LOT more and larger tufts of wool in its axils, especially around the top, and its hair is not as long.

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #3 (Tres) on 12-2-20, # 767-12.

From the top, Tres looks A LOT different than Dos. The concaved apex is barely visible from all the wool. The hair-like radial spines and axil hair give Tres a cobwebby appearance.

The Mammillaria hahniana trio. Unos in the back, Dos on the right, and Tres on the left on 12-5-20, #768-1.

Once I came to the conclusion that it was definitely possible the two new Mammillaria were M. hahniana, I took all three plants to the back porch for a photoshoot. I brought Unos home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016, when it was just 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide. On October 15 (2020) when I moved the plants inside it measured 3 5/8″ tall x 3 5/8″ wide.

Mammillaria hahniana Unos, Dos, and Tres from the top on 12-5-20, #768-2.

From the top view, Unos, Dos, and Tres look nothing alike. You can certainly tell how someone would think they are three different species. Am I sure they are all three Mammillaria hahniana? NOPE! Unfortunately, the description of Mammillaria hahniana fit all three. Umm, the two smaller ones more than Unos. Unos has transformed into a massive ball of wool!

Click on Mammillaria hahniana to view “their” page…

The next post will be short, but I have a big surprise coming in the mail very soon…

Until next time, stay well, be safe, stay positive. Always count your blessings and give thanks. You are unique and special. If you can and are able, go outside and get dirty!

 

New Plants Arrived!

NEW PLANTS! Schlumbergera russelliana in the center, Mammillaria senilis on the right, Parodia crassigibba on the left on 11-30-20.

Hello everyone! I hope this post continues to find you well. We had a cold spell but it didn’t get quite as cold as the forecast said. The north wind picked up over the weekend and I begin to wonder… I covered the Phlomis and put the plastic on the windows in the chicken house. It was a nice sunny day and rather pleasant but it is supposed to be in the 20’s (F) at night for several days with daytime temps between 41-50° F. Chance of rain on Thursday and partly cloudy through Monday… 

As I mentioned in a previous post, I ordered a few new plants from Succulent Depot on Ebay. The order confirmation said they would be here on December 3 but they arrived on November 30. I debated whether or not to add one of those heat packs to the order but it looks like they came through fine. 

Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 11-30-20, #766-10.

I knew the Schlumbergera russelliana was coming as a rooted cutting, but I was surprised when this many came and how big they actually are. There were five nicely rooted cuttings. They look like they got a little cold in transit but hopefully, they will be OK. The top segments may not make it… By the time I finished this post on Wednesday evening, the top segments are very droopy and the tips are drying. The lower segments look fine, though… 

Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 11-30-20, #766-11.

This is either a genuine Schlumbergera russelliana or perhaps an x buckleyi hybrid (The Buckley Group). The seller has them listed as Schlumbergera bridgesii, which is sort of what they are, except that name is now a synonym of S. russelliana. This species is normally considered the true Christmas Cactus because it flowers a little later than its cousin Schlumbergera truncata. As I mentioned in a previous post, Schlumbergera truncata (and the Truncata Group) are called Thanksgiving or Holiday Cactus. For both, flowering is triggered by decreasing day length and temperature. I am not sure if they will flower at the same time if they are treated the same or not. Both will flower any time of the year if their light and temperature are controlled. The x buckleyi hybrids (The Buckley Group) are a cross between the two species but are more like S. russelliana in appearance. Their segments are “scalloped” rather than having hooks or claws like S. truncata or the Truncata Group. Their flowers will look similar, but they hang downward rather than being held more or less horizontally.

Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 11-30-20, #766-12.

I had ordered a new bag of pumice from General Pumice a few months ago but I hadn’t even opened the box. I had forgotten I ordered a larger size, I think 1/4″, so when I opened the box I was a little dumbfounded for a minute. Anyway, I mixed Miracle Grow Potting soil with the new pumice, 50/50 and potted the cuttings right away. When I was putting the cuttings in a pot, I decided I would take two of the cuttings to Mrs. Wagler. She was very happy to get them. A few more of her S. truncata have opened, but most are still in bud. I told her about how easy it was to pollinate the flowers and she was curious, so I showed her how to do it. Then I explained if it worked the fruit would stay attached when the flowers fell off. Then, after a year, you can squeeze the seeds out of the fruit and plant them. If they come up, it would take 2-4 years for them to flower… She agreed that was a long time to wait to see what happens.

Normally, when buying plants on Ebay I don’t look to see what else the seller has for sale. It is too tempting. This time, however, I did. Succulent Depot has several hundred listings for different plants and I found a couple I thought I would like. Of course, the reason I chose them was because I didn’t have any like them and/or they were weird… Strangely, neither one of them have common names… I think that makes four cactus in my collection without common names… 

Mammillaria senilis after it came in the mail at 1″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide on 11-30-20.

There wasn’t much of a description on her listing about the Mammillaria senilis but I could tell it wasn’t any ordinary Mammillaria. Just look at those LONG, THIN, HOOKED spines! This plant came in a 2″ square pot and it measured only about 1″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide (ignoring the spines). It came wrapped in a newspaper but the cactus had been covered with tissue (like what you blow your nose on). When I was removing the tissue, the hooked spines stuck in my fingers. While I was pulling my fingers off of one hand, they stuck on my fingers on the other hand. They don’t just poke, they hang on… 🙂 I could have carried the plant around hanging by my fingers.

The species name is pronounced SEE-nil-is and it means “Of an old man”… Well, he wasn’t bald. 🙂

Mammillaria senilis on 11-30-20.

Besides having 4-5 central spines (upper and lower with hooks), it also has 30 to 40 radial spines PER tubercle!!! Its tubercles also have wool and bristles. It grows from 6-8″ tall x around 4″ when mature and branches basally to form clumps. There are actually several species of Mammillaria with these hooked hairs (unless “they” decide they are all the same species eventually). Maybe make a new genus called Hookalarria. 🙂 You saw that first here on the Belmont Rooster, so it will be Hookalarria L.Mil. 🙂 

LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) says Mammillaria senilis grows on moss-covered boulders in pine forests in Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Sinaloa in Mexico around 7,800 to over 9,000 feet (2400-2800 meters) above sea level. Hmmm… We are only 912 feet above sea level here! Growing at that high of an altitude, they are cold hardy down to around 20° F (-5° C) with reports as low as 14° F (-10° C) and lower.

The great thing is that this plant is supposed to have LARGE bright red-orange flowers. Then again, if it is Mammillaria senilis var. albiflora, it will have whitish flowers. It could also have yellow flowers. GEEZ! Since it is small, I am not counting on flowers for quite a while… Maybe by then it will make up its mind. I will put a label in the pot that says “THINK RED” to encourage it.

Parodia crassigibba after it arrived in the mail on 11-30-20, #766-6.

Well, this one isn’t near as exciting or dangerous. The listing was for a Parodia werneri but that name is now a synonym of Parodia crassigibba. You would think when they choose a name they would go for the one that is the easiest to pronounce. I think par-ROH-dee-uh WER-ner-ee is much easier to say than par-ROH-dee-uh krass-ih-GIB-uh. This plant is sold under both species names… 

This plant is only 7/8″ tall x 1 7/8″ wide… 

Parodia crassigibba at 7/8″ tall x 1 7/8″ wide on 11-30-20, #766-7.

This cactus started out its life growing in somewhat rocky soil in the Rio Grande Do Sul area in southern Brazil. Minding its own business and getting along happily until its life was turned upside-down. The area started being converted into agricultural land for crops and grazing and now it is an endangered species. For many years, teams of researchers scoured the area naming and renaming many species of cactus. It was a disaster! 

I wrote several paragraphs several times about this species name. I kept deleting it because I thought it was a bit too much. Then I kept doing it… That’s why it has taken me so long to finish this post! Personally, I think they accepted the wrong name but I am not going to go into the whole ordeal. Maybe on its own page when I get it finished. It is a perfect example of how many explorers/researchers/taxonomists, etc. had their own opinions and gave them several different names in multiple genera. The Parodia genus is complicated… 

ANYWAY…

Parodia crassigibba on 11-30-20, #766-9.

This is one of the smaller growing species of globose shaped cactus. Mature specimens only grow to about 6-8″ tall (depending on which website you look at). The species grows 10-16 ribs (mine has 13), and has broad, chin-like tubercles between the areoles (Hmmm… That’s what the experts say, but I thought areoles grow on top of the tubercles…). It has 6-14 radial spines that are somewhat appressed and, if there is a central spine present, it points downward. You can actually pick it up without getting stuck. It is normally a solitary growing cactus, meaning it doesn’t normally grow in clusters, BUT sometimes it does. Hmmm… 

I will end this post now because I went and did it again. I brought home four more unlabeled cactus from Wal-Mart on December 2. I have two figured out, but the other two are complicated. They are making me wonder about my Mammillaria hahniana… I may have been calling it the wrong species since 2016. GEEZ!!! Surely not. 🙂 I will say it again, I do not like the word “variable”. 

UNTIL NEXT TIME… Be safe, stay well, and always think positive. Be thankful and roll with it. 🙂

Eleven On Sunday-This and That

Stellaria media (Common Chickweed)

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. This was supposed to be a Six On Saturday post but it turned out to be an Eleven On Sunday. Here it is November 29 and another year is almost gone. Most of the perennials have gone dormant while a few are still not quite ready. A few Fall wildflowers are now growing as well. Saturday, when I took these photos, was nice and sunny at 54° F but I am afraid it isn’t going to stay that way. Sunday the high will be 48° with a low of 25 but Monday… A high of 39 with a low of 18° F. Hmmm… IN NOVEMBER! I have to put a sticky note on my computer to remind me to cover the Phlomis… OH, yeah, the Phlomis

I walked around the house to see what I could find. As I mentioned, some of the wildflowers that come up in the fall are up and running…

The above photo is one I am not sure how many would call a wildflower. Chickweed (Stellaria media) is NORMALLY a pain in the neck but it is OK growing in the beds over the winter. But you know what? I must be getting senile because it normally comes up in the spring. I suppose it has always come up in the Fall and I just really never paid much attention to it. You have to admit it does look nice and green. 🙂

I walked around the house and didn’t see anything too interesting to photograph. The Celosia argentea (var. spicata) ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ went completely wild this summer and is now dead. I didn’t have time to thin the thousands of seedlings when they came up this spring so they just took over the south bed. If much of anything else survived I will be surprised.

Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum (Elephant Garlic).

Of course, the Elephant Garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) survived and is growing nicely in several areas in the south bed. This is great stuff!

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’.

The Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ (Jerusalem Sage) has been weird since I moved it from the southwest corner bed to the southeast corner bed. It has NOT been its robust self which I don’t quite understand. I am finding out it is more cold tolerant than I thought because I haven’t covered it all fall and we have had several “F’s”. Don’t make me say that word… It hasn’t flowered for several years but I like it anyway because of its HUGE, somewhat fuzzy leaves. Well, it hasn’t had HUGE, fuzzy leaves since I moved it either. Maybe if I don’t baby this winter it will get with the program in 2021. Well, that won’t happen because after I cover it on Monday with the big pot next to it I am likely to forget to remove it. OH, I guess the sticky note will remind me to uncover it as well. 🙂

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears).

I was kind of surprised to see the Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina) still growing. It died last summer then amazingly came up a couple of feet from where it was. Here is, all green and fuzzy and hanging in there.

Malva sylvestris (Meadow Mallow)

HMMMM… I found this plant at Wagler’s, I think in 2018, that was unlabeled and not flowering. It looked like a Hollyhock in a way, but it reminded me more of the plants that were growing in the bed at church. You know, Malva sylvestris…. Anyway, Mrs. Wagler said it was a miniature Hollyhock. So, when I got home, I looked up Miniature Hollyhock online and it was NOT what was in the pot. At least, I hoped not. Luckily, once they flowered it did turn out to be Malva sylvestris. Since it wasn’t labeled, I don’t know for sure but their flowers look similar to the cultivar ‘Zebrina’. A week or so after it started flowering, I was walking around taking photos and the plant had been shredded by some kind of caterpillars. I know that’s what did it because some were still on the plant’s stems. There were no leaves left. Well, it completely died… Amazingly, they came back up again in the spring from seed but once again they disappeared. When I was taking photos on Saturday, low and behold, there was this clump with flowers…

Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle)

The Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle) by the back porch has been enjoying the spring-like days. I am not 100% sure this is Lamium purpureum since a few Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit) grow in this area, too. 95% sure… 🙂

Malva neglecta (Common Mallow).

The native Malva neglecta (Common Mallow) that grows along the east side of the house (especially around the AC) is still growing a little and flowering. I just let them grow here because not much else will. It is an area with fill dirt and just not a place I can decide what to do with. Yeah, one of “those spots”. It’s like an itch I can’t reach…

Then I went to the other yard…

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla)

The Tree Cholla (Cylindropuntia imbricata) looked a little hungover when I took this photo. I think it is worn out from guarding its territory from the invading Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’. Excuse me, I mean Phediumis spurius ‘John Creech’… I think it is contemplating putting up a border wall… 🙂

Then to the chicken house…

Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail)

OH MY GOODNESS! I did something wrong a few years ago when I let the Horsetail Equisetum hyemale) out of their pot. I dug a few of these plants out of a yard when I lived in Mississippi and kept them in a pot while I was there. Even after I came back here I left them in the pot until 2014 when I got the brilliant idea to plant them in front of the chicken house. I knew what could happen, but honestly, I never saw this plant where it has been allowed to do its thing. If I had, I may have left them in the yard I took them or at least left them in pots. I admit I think the Horsetail is a great plant and I am happy to have it here because I do think it looks neat. The area in front of the chicken house is somewhat of a problem area and they grow great here. The biggest problem is that they are coming up as far as 20′ away… Equisetum is the single surviving genus of a class of primitive vascular plants that dates back to the mid-Devonian period (350 + million years ago).

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) next to the chicken house.

I love Yarrow but I haven’t found its sweet spot here. A friend of mine in Mississippi gave me the start of this old Achillea millefolium cultivar from a HUGE colony in her back yard. She yanked them up by the handfuls like she was really eager to get rid of some. They grow like mad down there in the south, but not so here because I have neem somewhat reluctant to let them have their way. I think they know that because they always creep their way to a sunnier spot. It has really been fun to watch them do this and I am sure if they could they would just pick up and move. One clump has actually adapted to the shade in the north bed but it sends rhizomes out 3-4 feet away. The clump by the chicken house is moving around the corner to get more sun and is finding the Chinese Elm very annoying. They have a nice surge of growth late in the summer and through the Fall and it isn’t until it gets very cold that they completely disappear. Once spring gets close, they start sending up leaves to see if the coast is clear.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’.

This spring took several Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ and Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) to the church instead of going to the greenhouse to buy more plants. The Veronica and Dracaena came up from last year so they didn’t have to be replaced. For some reason, the Rudbeckia in the right side of the bed is still flowering but on the left side they aren’t. The bed here hasn’t been flowering for a very long time either… Nature is a wonderful mystery sometimes.

I think I am finished with this post. I have no idea what I will write about next… I do know I need to do a lot of updating on the pages. I am sure there are several name changes I have to update.

I have a question… I write about a photo (under the photo) and I always add a space between what I wrote and the next photo. Lately, I have not been adding a space. Does it still make sense or do you like the separation between the words and the next photo better?

So, what do you want me to post about? Politics. LOL!!!!!! Religion? I don’t think either would be a good idea.

OK, now I am finished. Until next time, be safe, stay well, and stay positive.

NEW Schlumbergera-Holiday Cactus

Three new Schlumbergera from Wagler’s Greenhouse after I brought them home on 11-17-20. A red and yellow Schlumbergera truncata in the back and a Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) in the front.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. As I am writing this post, it seems I have multiple tabs open in two windows. Normally, I just have one window with multiple tabs open but I had to re-read what I had already read before and didn’t want to get more confused all over again. Well, I had it figured out before, but then I ran across another website that was somewhat controversial. SO, I had to re-read some of the previous information again. Finding consistent accurate information on plants that are popular on a seasonal basis is tough!!! The only time most people pay much attention to them is when they are flowering and the rest of the year they just throw a little water on them. Ummm… I might be guilty of that on occasion myself. Hmmm… Maybe I am just talking about myself. Maybe I should delete the last few sentences. Ah, heck. I’ll just go with it. Only a handful of people will read it anyway. 🙂

I snuck this photo when I went back to Wagler’s on the 23rd before Mrs. Wagler came to the greenhouse. The photo may disappear later. 🙂

As I mentioned in the last post I went to Wagler’s Greenhouse on November 17 to see if she had any peach flowering Schlumbergera truncata. I was very surprised to see that she had A LOT of Schlumbergera truncata but not any peach. She had a lot of pink, red, and yellow. No peach, orange, or white… I picked out a yellow and another red one. I picked out another red one because mine isn’t flowering and it is a smaller plant. THEN she said,

“I have a few Easter Cactus in the back that are different. You can have one of those if you want one.”

I had just been doing research on the different species of Schlumbergera so I hoped she really did have a genuine Easter Cactus. I followed her to where she had them and she picked up a pot with three cuttings and handed it to me. SURE ENOUGH, I was holding a genuine Schlumbergera gaertneri!!! She had a few other pots with three cuttings in each one and another pot she had taken the cuttings from. MAN!!! Personally, I think she should hide them all.

GENUINE Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) on 11-18-20, #761-1.

You may be laughing, but this is an important find. Now, I am laughing. 🙂 The segments are different with this species as they are thicker and the margins are wavy (scalloped) and have no “teeth” or “claws”. They have different flowers as well. You can go to the page I wrote for Schlumbergera gaertneri if you want to read more about the species and see more photos of the segments (close-up) by clicking HERE

Schlumbergera gaertneri is one of many species of controversy. It has been in five other genera since it was first named Epiphyllum russellianum var. gaertneri by William Regal in 1884, then became its own species in 1890. Although it was first moved to the Schlumbergera genus in 1913, it was renamed five more times! Its most recent name was Hatiora gaertneri (1953) but DNA testing proved it should in fact be Schlumbergera gaertneri.

Many stores may sell Easter Cactus during Easter that are actually Schlumbergera truncata, S. russelliana, or x buckleyi hybrids they have forced to flower for Easter sales. You can tell by the segments and fowers.

Schlumbergera truncata, the yellow-flowered pot, on 11-17-20, #760-2.

The yellow-flowered Schlumbergera truncata I brought home looks very nice. Mrs. Wagler said the flowers will be kind of a creamy color, not bright yellow.

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the red-flowered pot, on 11-17-20, #760-3.

There are two plants in this red-flowered pot. She said this one’s flowers will be kind of dark pinkish-red.

Schlumbergera truncata, yellow-flowered plant, on 11-18-20, #761-9.

This bud on the yellow-flowered plant is sharing the same areole as a new segment.

Schlumbergera truncata, red-flowered, on 11-18-20, #761-11.

I like the way the buds just push their way out of the areola. You can clearly see the segments have “teeth” or “claws” on the Schlumbergera truncata. That’s where one of the common names “Crab’s Claw” comes from.

Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus), the biggest in the pot, on 11-18-20, #761-2.

You can see the difference in the segments with the close-up of the largest cutting of Schlumbergera gaertneri. The edges are scalloped or wavy with no claws… I don’t know what that pink thing is sticking out of the areole on this one is. Surely it isn’t a bud since they don’t flower until around April… HMMM…

Then it happened… ON Monday morning, the 23rd, I was greeted with this when I went to make my coffee…

Schlumbergera truncata, yellow-flowered on 11-23-20, #762-1.

Well, that was just AWESOME!!! 

Schlumbergera truncata, yellow-flowered on 11-23-20, #762-4.

I think it not being pink made it even more AWESOME! It’s a guy thing because I think pink is girly.

Schlumbergera truncata, red-flowered on 11-23-20, #762-6.

The red-flowered plant is just about ready to spring open but there seems to be a lot of white for it to be red…

Schlumbergera truncata on 11-25-20, #763-1.

Then, Wednesday evening, I noticed one of the red-flowered plant’s flowers had opened. I decided to wait until Wednesday morning to take a photo. By then, there were two more almost open.

Schlumbergera truncata on 11-25-20, #763-2.

Well, it isn’t exactly red. IT’S BICOLOR! 🙂

Schlumbergera truncata on 11-25-20, #763-4.

The flowers have no issues when it comes to showing their reproductive parts. The above photo shows the stamen with the stigma on the end and filaments with anthers loaded with yellow pollen. If this were a Schlumbergera russelliana or any of the x buckleyi hybrids, the pollen would be pink. I have never seen a flower of any type with pink pollen… Some stigmas open up to a star-shape when the ovaries are receptive.

Schlumbergera truncata on 11-25-20, #763-6.

Somewhere at the base of the floral tube, where the flower emerges from the areola of the segment, is where the ovaries are. At the point where the ovary is, with Schlumbergera truncata, the floral tube bends upward. I think it is where the first set of petals are. After that point, the flower bends downward somewhat but it still held more or less horizontal. With S. russelliana and the x buckleyi hybrids, the floral tube bends downward at the point where the ovaries are and the flowers hang downward.

Pollinating Schlumbergera is pretty simple since all the necessary parts are right out in the open. All you have to do is rub the pollen from the flowers of one plant on the stigma of flowers from another plant. The stigma is somewhat sticky so the pollen sticks to it. You can cross-breed S. truncata with S. russelliana very easily which is how the x buckleyi hybrids came about. I tried it out for the heck of it and rubbed pollen from the flowers of the yellow on the stigmas of the red one and visa versa. Even the stigmas are not opened up, it will probably still work. Don’t know for sure because I never tried it before. If it works, I think the stigma is supposed to swell up. THEN when the flower wilts, the fruit the ovary produces will remain intact. After a year, the fruit can be removed and the seed squeezed out, allowed to dry for a few days then planted. The seeds will germinate in maybe 2 weeks. Plants from the seed will flower in 2-4 years… NOT that I want to go through all that when I can just take cuttings that will flower MUCH sooner. But, it is an experiment…

What else do I need to talk about? Hmmm…

Schlumbergera is a genus of nine species from southern Brazil in the Cactaceae Family. It is weird for them to be in the cactus family since they grow on trees and rocks. The plants we grow as houseplants come in multiple colors and are likely cultivars rather than the species. Species of Schlumbergera have been moved around a bit like most other species of plants.

Schlumbergera are easy to grow in a similar potting soil as other cactus (or regular potting soil or a similar mix as orchids and bromeliads) but their watering requirements are a lot different. Their soil “should” be kept fairly moist but never wet. Just check occasionally, and when the top inch or so is dry, give it a little water. As with other cactus and succulents, they require more water during the summer when it is warmer and they have better light. Inside during the winter, you can slow down a bit. I am used to neglecting my cactus and succulents during the winter, so I will have to check these guys more often. Maybe I will keep them in the bedroom once they finish flowering so I will be reminded I need to water them more often. BUT, they are drought-tolerant, so if I forget them it will be OK. Their leaves will shrivel a little but they perk back up.

Holiday Cactus need light shade to partly shady areas and should NEVER get full sun. They are an ideal houseplant! They can be forced to flower just about any time of the year, but you have to experiment with that. Light and temperature have to be controlled to do that…

I did go ahead and order the Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus, ETC.) from a seller on Ebay plus a couple of other early Christmas presents to myself. Hmmm… Well, I may as well tell you… The listing on Ebay was for Schlumbergera bridgesii but that species is a synonym of Schlumbergera russelliana… The plant is likely to be small so it probably won’t flower for Christmas. 🙂

OK, I think I am finished now… I will probably think of something later. It only took four days to finish this post

You can view the page for Schlumbergera truncata HERE and Schlumbergera gaertneri HERE. Information about hand pollinating is on the Rainy Side Gardens website which you can read about by clicking HERE.

Until next time, be safe, stay po, stay well, be thankful, and GET DIRTY if you can. 🙂

 

Fall 2020 Update Part 6: Cactus & Succulents

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I finally finished the shelf for the front bedroom. I have put some plants on it already but I may make a few changes. I may put the cactus that are in front of the sliding door in the dining room on this shelf and put the Alocasia gageana in the dining room. The Alocasia gageana don’t really like the basement but they did OK in the dining room before. They didn’t seem to like the front window last year. The cactus will be fine either place because they aren’t that particular during the winter. The bigger Alocasia do fine in the basement and aren’t near as particular as A. gageana.  But they are all still in the dining room and on the island/bar (whatever you call it) between the kitchen and dining room. The two pots of Alocasia gageana are on the new shelf in my bedroom. They are already stretching because they were in the living room practically in the dark. I put them outside again for a few days when it was warm but had to bring them back in because temps dropped from 70° F to 28. This past week has been nice, though.

This is the final cactus and succulent update. BUT, I have a confession to make. I had to go to Sedalia, about 28 miles away, and stopped by Lowe’s for a few things. I had to go to the plant department to check out the discount rack. It was STILL outside when temps were dropping all day. The door going outside was open and the cold air was coming in on the plants that were inside. I went to the outside area and the cactus and succulents on the discount rack were in terrible condition. I looked at the plants inside and the cactus and succulents looked OK but I didn’t see any I wanted. The industry, namely Altman Plants, has a new thing with their labeling, which I also noticed at Wal-Mart. They aren’t even putting the name of the plant on a lot of the labels. Before, even though the name may haven’t been up to date, at least it was a name… Anyway, I did find two plants that caught my eye I decided to adopt… An Aloe arborescens and Polaskia chichipe… 🙂 I think they make 67 different cactus and succulent species/cultivars. 🙂

<<<<Opuntia monacantha (var. variegata)>>>>

Opuntia monacantha (var. variegata) (Joseph’s Coat) at 6 1/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-83.

This Opuntia monacantha (var. variegata)(Joseph’s Coat) is one of the newer cactus in my collection. I found it at Wagler’s Greenhouse on March 28, 2020, when I was there for a visit. It looked particularly strange and I didn’t recognize what it was at the time. Without really looking it over, I picked it up and brought it home. Mrs. Wagler has quite a collection of plants she takes cuttings from and other people must bring her plants as well. I don’t know how many I have taken to them and we aren’t keeping track. If I see plants I want that are from their stock she never charges me. I think sometimes that makes some of them harder to resist…

Once I got it home I looked it over while I was taking photos. This was one puzzling and weird creature but I noticed it looked kind of Prickly Pear-ish. Its main stem was wide and flat like a long, skinny pad. It also appeared variegated… Hmmm… I wasn’t about to get online and look through photos of the Opuntia species because there are 132. SO, I took photos and posted them on the Facebook group called Succulent Infatuation. Normally, it doesn’t take very long for someone to give me a suggestion. This time, a member said it was Opuntia monacantha var. variegata and they were correct.

Of course, as with most varieties and subspecies these days, Opuntia monacantha var. variegata is considered a synonym of Opuntia monacantha even though its name and description were validly published in 1874 in The Gardeners’ Chronicle… Well, the author’s name is “Anon.” which could be anonymous. Even so, it was in The Gardeners’ Chronicle!!! I can call it what I want anyway since this is my blog, right? 🙂

Opuntia monacantha (var. variegata) (Joseph’s Coat) on 10-15-20, #747-84.

When I brought this plant home it was 4 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide. On October 15 when I moved the plants inside, it was still 2 1/4″ wide, but it had grown to 6 1/4″ tall. The lower, um, branches or whatever is sticking out all over it, have gotten longer and flatter.

LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) list this plant as Opuntia monacantha f. monstruosa variegata which isn’t even listed as a synonym on Plants of the World Online. LLIFLE says this is a monstrous form of the species and is one of very few naturally occurring white variegated cacti. It says it is a dwarf, teratological variant of the larger Opuntia monacantha. This variegated variety can be variegated or marbled with white, creamy-white, yellow, green, and sometimes with pink in various patterns. Being a monstrous form, it looks nothing like the species. Apparently, this critter will grow to maybe at least 20″ tall, but it could grow to about 3′. The species, well, that is a different story. They are a bushy or tree-like species that can grow from 6 to 20′ tall. I don’t see how one can grow that tall without falling over… The Prickly Pear that grows here and when I was in Mississippi just kind of sprawled out over the ground and seldom are over 4-5 feet tall.

I really like monstrous forms of cacti because they are weird. They seem to be forms of their species that have decided to go their own way but most are “created” by humans. This one grows like this in the wild… It will be very interesting to watch this plant grow and do its thing… Thank you, Universe!

<<<<Parodia lenninghausii>>>>

Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball Cactus), both at 6″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-89.

Something strange happened over the summer with the two Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball Cactus). I always called them “Greater” and “Lesser” because one was always tall than the other. Yeah, I know, I named the two Echinocactus grusonii (now Kroenleinia grusonii) “Greater” and “Lessor” because of the same reasons. The same thing happened with these two that happened with the other two. They are both the same size now! “Greater” on the right was always taller and thinner but they are both 6″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide now. Last October 11, “Greater” was 5 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide, and “Lessor” was 5 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. Weird! I brought these two home with me from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016, and I didn’t realize I had two until I got home (the same as with the Echinocactus/Kroenleinia grusonii…). I forgot to measure “Greater” at the time, but “Lesser” was only 1 7/8″ tall x 1 3/4″ wide. SO, they have grown A LOT!

Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball Cactus) with kids on 10-15-20, #747-90.

“Lessor”, on the left, had these two kids last year but now “Greater” also has one. I thought they were guys… Maybe they are like Penguins… One of “Lessor’s” kids has really grown over the summer. I hope the kid has better grooming skills…

Normally, these two joke around a lot with me, but I think parenting has made them more serious… They are great plants and I congratulate them on their offsets.

<<<<Parodia magnifica>>>>

Parodia magnifica (Balloon Cactus, ETC.) at 2 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-91.

The Parodia magnifica (Balloon Cactus, ETC.) is a great little cactus with no issues. I brought it home from Lowe’s on March 29, 2020, when it measured only 1 3/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide. The weird thing is that it measured 2 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on October 15. Hmmm… It was 2 5/8″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide last October 11. Well, that just seemed odd so I measured it again a few days later and it was the same. I checked AGAIN on November 13 and noticed the potting soil on one side of the pot is lower than the other. SO, I measured it again from the low side and it STILL says 2 1/2″ tall soI must have measured it from that side before. Then I measured its width for grins (in private) and it was 3″ wide!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to recheck three times! I mentioned before I watered the cactus the day before I moved them inside and I think they swell after they get water. Does that mean it takes a month for them to swell? HMMMM…

ANYWAY… I really like this cactus. It reminds me of the crown on the package of Imperial margarine. Remember the old commercials on TV? The man on the commercial takes a bite of something with Imperial margarine on it and the horn sounds and then a crown appears on his head. 🙂

Parodia magnifica (Balloon Cactus, ETC.) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-92.

Parodia magnifica has the same interesting hairdo as Parodia lenninghausii. But this one has fewer ribs and tufts of wool on the areoles than stream down the side a little. I have one photo on its page that shows it a lot woolier.

<<<<Dracaena hanningtonii ‘Samurai’>>>>

Dracaena hanningtonii (Syn. Sansevieria ehrenbergii) ’Samurai’/‘Samurai Dwarf’ at 3″ tall x 6″ wide when I brought it home on 10-15-20, #747-93.

I brought this neat Sanseveria ehrenbergii ‘Samurai’ home from Wal-Mart on January 8, 2020. It was 3″ tall x 6″ wide then and it was still the same size when I brought the plants inside on October 15. Oddly, it has grown 1/4″ since I bought it inside until now, which is November 14. I started this post on November 11 and no telling how much longer it will take. Anyway, this plant is very interesting with its short, wide, thick, rough, boat-shaped leaves with a very sharp needle at the tip. The actual species of this dwarf form get pretty large and it leaves are much different. The species is found in several countries in East Africa while this smaller version is supposedly only found in Somalia. Yes, it is naturally occurring and I highly doubt the name ‘Samurai’ or ‘Samurai Dwarf’ are registered cultivar names. LLIFLE has a page for a dwarf form called ‘Banana’ because someone thinks the leaves resemble a banana. That is also the one on Dave’s Garden… The name ‘Samurai’ probably comes from one of the common names of the species, Sword Sansevieria.

I would have probably been finished with this post on the 14th but I hit a snag… I hadn’t wrote a page for this plant, so I decided I would go ahead and do it while I was writing this post. I started out as usual writing the title, adding the photos, then going to the bottom of the page to add the websites to copy and paste links to for further information. All was well UNTIL I went to Plants of the World Online and did a search for Sansevieria ehrenbergii. Right before my eyes, it said Sanseveria ehrenbergii was a synonym of Dracaena hanningtonii. I WAS SHOCKED!!!

Trust me, I wrote many paragraphs and deleted them several times before I am making the short version… If you want more details, click on the plant’s name above.

In short, based mainly on testing, it was decided that species of Dracaena, Sansevieria, and I think the Pleomele should all be in the same genus. This controversy has been going on for many years, umm… Probably since the late 1800’s. In fact, most species of all three have synonyms that were once in the other generas. Before the testing was started, they based their arguments on flowers, fruit, leaves, how they spread, etc. Testing basically stopped all the arguments and genera with hierarchy won the prize. Dracaena was chosen over Sanseviera because it was named in 1767 while Savsevieria was named in 1794. Some species of Dracaena had the same species name as species of Sansevieria such (Dracaena trifasciata and Sansevieria trifasciata). Other species that were the same had different species names, such as the case between Dracaena hanningtonii and Sansevieria ehrenbergii. Same plant but it had two different species names. In fact, the species has seven synonyms from four genera.

Getting back to the plant… It was weird over the summer because it rejected the tag that came with it. It was this dangly tag that said Sansevieria ‘Samurai’ stuck on a stick in its pot. I put it back in the pot several times only to find it out of the pot again after a few days when I checked on the plants. The plant would have this odd grin like it had a dirty little secret…

OH, I went online to see if I could get more information about the name change and ran across this very good video by Summer Rayne Oakes. She not only talks about the name change, but she discusses the testing and even has an interview with a researcher and a member of the staff from the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew. It is very good…

 

Moving right along…

<<<<Schlumbergera truncata>>>>

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) flowering on 11-9-20, #759-1.

Many cactus and succulents have amazing flowers, some downright incredible that make you drool. Well, I am not drooling over pink flowers… The Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) blooms at the time of the year when most plants are going into dormancy. They have several common names that apparently reflect when they flower such as Holiday Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Christmas Cactus, and Easter Cactus. Other common names include Crab Cactus, Zygocactus, Lobster cactus, Claw Cactus, Linkleaf, Yoke Cactus, and Crab’s Claw Cactus. Decreasing day length and cool temperatures trigger their flowering period, so here in North America, they may start budding in mid to late October or a little later. They flower in May in their native habitat in the mountain forests and jungles in Southeastern Brazil. They are available in a variety of colors including red, pink, peach, purple, orange, white, or multicolored.

I always wanted at least one of these, but I didn’t want one with pink flowers. When I lived in Mississippi, one of my neighbors, who also collected plants and had an AWESOME yard, offered me one of these plants. I couldn’t refuse even though she said it would have pink flowers. I gave it to a friend of mine when I moved from Mississippi in 2013 and didn’t see any available until 2019. I had gone to Wagler’s Greenhouse to take plants in September and she had quite a few pots. The pots were labeled with the color they were supposed to be so I brought home one that said peach. It only had two flowers but they turned out to be pink. I went back to the greenhouse to see if she had more, but this guy from out of town kept buying all she had so there were none left. This past summer I found a few there and brought home one with a tag that said red…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the red one, on 11-15-20, #759-2.

The one that is supposed to be red hadn’t flowered and maybe won’t until next fall. I thought it had a few buds earlier, but they either fell off or turned out to be leaves (which aren’t actually leaves).

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 11-15-20, #759-4.

Schlumbergera species have leafless stems called cladodes that act as photosynthetic organs. The cladodes are made up of flat segments that have 2-3 teeth along their edges and ends. The species gets its scientific name, “truncata” from the word “truncated” meaning “cut off” or “abruptly cut off” because the tips look cut off rather than being round or pointed. The areola between the two teeth on the ends have brown wool and bristles and is where the flowers and new segments appear.

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 11-15-20, #759-5.

I never noticed the brown wool before, but the red one is quite wooly between the teeth at the tip. The red one also has darker segments and over the summer the whole plant was a shade of reddish-brown. Now it has these weird little aerial roots.

The Schlumbergera truncata are fairly easy to grow plants. I am not sure why they are in the Cactaceae Family because in their native habitat they grow on trees (epiphytic) or on rocks (epilithic) in high altitudes in a small area of the coastal mountains of southeast Brazil. They seem to grow in just about any type of potting soil but prefer a similar mixture as used for orchids, bromeliads, or other epiphytic plants. During the summer they like regular watering but likes their soil to slightly dry out between watering. They need a little more while they are flowering, but afterward not so much, maybe a little once a month over the winter.

I did sneak out to Wagler’s Greenhouse on Tuesday (Nov. 17) to see if she had any new Schlumbergera… You will see what I brought back in the next post. 🙂 🙂 🙂

<<<<Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’>>>>

Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’ on 10-15-20, #747-94.

Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’ did very well over the summer as expected. I was going to put the two Sedum adolphii on the back porch in full sun over the summer but I forgot about it. This cultivar of Sedum adolphii was introduced in 2014 from the Huntington Botanic Garden and I picked this one up from Lowe’s in July 2018. It was very small then… Sedum adolphii is the only Sedum species I have been able to grow inside with any luck. They have no issues inside or out whatsoever and make the transition with no ill effects.

Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’ on 10-15-20, #747-95.

‘Firestorm’ surprised me last April with a lot of flowers so hopefully, it will do that again.

<<<<Sedum adolphii>>>

Sedum adolphii (Golden Sedum) on 10-15-20, #747-96.

Sedum adolphii (Golden Sedum) has been a great companion and has hung in there since I brought it home in 2016. I brought my first one home in 2012 when I was in Mississippi and brought it with me when I moved here in February 2013. I had it until I gave up most of my plants in 2015, but found another one in 2016. In 2017 this plant was completely neglected because I was busy doing this and that. Grass grew in its pot and it lost a lot of leaves. It survived the winter SO, I put it in a better pot, took several leaf cuttings in the summer of 2018 and it has done very well since. I told it I would never let that happen again.

Sedum adolphii (Golden Sedum) on 10-15-20, #747-97.

I have always had the Sedum adolphii in light to part shade either under trees or on the front porch. I think they would fine, if not better, on the back porch in full sun. I am just somewhat hesitant… Maybe I will take some cuttings or cut their stems off and regrow them. I think they would stay more compact and their leaves would be bigger…

<<<<Stapelia gigantea>>>

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) on 10-15-20, #747-98.

HMMMMM…….. The Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) had done very well over the summer and has filled the pot. I am kind of at a loss for words when it comes to writing about this plant. I ordered cuttings of this plant from a seller on Ebay which arrived on 10-9-18 (but it seems like last year). His offering was for five cuttings, seven came, and I put them all in the same pot. I realize now I should have put them in separate pots, or at least maybe put 3-4 per pot. Although this plant is considered a succulent, it and the Huernia schneideriana are both carrion plants and members of the Apocynaceae (Milkweed) Family. This one has soft, fuzzy stems that grow upright while those of the Stapelia are not fuzzy and grow long and hang down. I guess they aren’t really fuzzy fuzzy. Feels like felt.

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) bud on 10-15-20, #747-99.

Of course, the main reason wanted this plant was for its HUGE flowers. It had several buds last year before I moved the pot inside which dried up and fell off once the plant was inside. I noticed ONE bud in September which also dried up. SO, I need to do some experimenting… How do I keep the buds from aborting? Hmmm… I think I will divide this pot and put them on the shelf in the back bedroom. They will be in front of a south-facing window and the bedroom stays cool… I will have to keep an eye on it because last fall it had a few mealybugs… We shall see…

I took Mrs. Wagler a cutting that had been hanging over the side in 2019, so when I went there on Tuesday I asked her if hers flowered. Her reply was, “OH, I didn’t know they flowered.” HMMMMM… She went back to her house to bring it to me to make sure we were talking about the same plant. She brought out a pot of what looked like 4-5 cuttings stuck in potting soil. Yeah, it was the right plant, but I was wondering what happened to “the plant”. She said she kept taking cuttings and potting them up and people kept buying them. HMMMMMM….. She is Amish so I couldn’t say “HOLY S—T!!!” I did explain the flowers to her AGAIN…

Then she asked about the bulbs of the plant that smelled bad. She said I had given her several plants but people kept buying them and she only had one bulb left. She reached in a pot and pulled out a small Amorphophallus bulb… DOUBLE GEEZ!!! MAYBE TRIPLE!!! To think I got my start from her in the first place and she only has one small bulb (rhizome or whatever you prefer to call it… I can’t even think right now).

NOW, WHERE WAS I? Oh yeah, Fall 2020 Update Part 6…

<<<<Stenocereus pruinosus>>>>

Stenocereus pruinosus (Gray Ghost) at 5 1/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-100.

The Stenocereus pruinosus (Gray Ghost, Oregon Pipe, ETC.) continues to do well and is now 5 1/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. It was 2 7/8″ tall x 23/4″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016. Last October 11 it was 4 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide, so it grew taller but is still the same diameter. I checked and it hasn’t swelled anymore since I bought it inside. 🙂 This is a neat cactus anyway you look at it but I still wouldn’t want to give it a hug… It is a bit pokey. 🙂

Stenocereus pruinosus (Grey Ghost) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-101.

Cactus are very interesting from the top and this one is no exception. I like the way it gets a purplish glow when it has been in the sun.

One more, I think… 🙂

<<<<Tephrocactus articulates var. papyracanthus>>>>

Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) on 10-15-20, #747-102.

Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus)… I brought a small segment home from Wal-Mart on February 9, 2016 that had fallen off when I was looking at the cactus. I put the segment in my pocket because I figured it would just get thrown away. I didn’t steal it, I rescued it. 🙂 Anyway, I think it is pretty neat with the papery spines. This cactus is very fragile because the segments fall off very easily. I usually don’t measure it because it rarely gets very tall. I decided I would have a look at it while I was updating its page, and one plant has managed to branch out with two segments on one side and one on the other. So, I measured it and it is 3″ tall (the side with three segments) and the lowest segment is about 1 1/2″ in diameter. That is the biggest, so it is likely the original segment from 2016. Several plants in the pot have two segments. I think I need to put it in a larger pot since I haven’t done that in a few years. Then the segments can fall off and the colony will get bigger. GEEZ!!! Well, if I don’t they may fall into its neighbor’s pot or on the shelf. If I have it in a larger pot they won’t go very far. They spread in the wild when cattle or wildlife walk through a colony and the segments break off and get carried away in the fur.

Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) on 10-15-20, #747-103.

This is not a very good photo, but you can see this plant’s tubercles and glochids. Glochids are those tiny little spines that get stuck in your fingers that are nearly impossible to get out. Some species of Opuntia (Prickly Pear) have those and I remember them well when I was a kid. I don’t remember who had one, maybe my grandma, but I got them in my fingers and I didn’t like it very well. It was one of those with the pads that didn’t really have long needles, but it had those darn fuzzy glochids. I have never brought any of those home…

Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) on 10-15-20, #747-104.

Ahhh, here is a better photo of the top of one of the segments. You can see a little wool around the areoles and the glochids. The bigger spines are no problem. Other varieties of this species don’t have the papery spines. Of course, only the species is recognized as accepted, but the variety name was validly published in 1953 by Carl Backeberg when he also named the genus. It has been previously named Opuntia papyracantha in 1872. The species has 45 synonyms and has been in 3 genera. 21 are different species and varieties of Opuntia, 21 Tephrocactus species and varieties, and 3 Cereus species. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) describes six varieties of Tephrocactus articulatus including two of this variety. One of the Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus has more raised tubercles… Of course, all six varieties are synonyms of Tephrocactus articulatus under the APG III System.

OK, now I am finished with the Cactus and Succulents.

WAIT A MINUTE!!!

I almost forgot about the two new plants I brought home from Lowe’s ON NOVEMBER 10…

<<<<Aloe arborescens>>>>

Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe) at 6 3/4″ tall x 6 1/2″ wide on 11-11-20, #758-1.

After I had been outside in the garden center at Lowe’s on November 10, I came back inside and looked at the plants again. Their selection wasn’t that great, but after all, it is November, right? As I was leaving the area disappointed, I noticed more plants. I had already seen several Aloe vera, but I didn’t need any of those. If I wanted Aloe vera, I could get them from Mrs. Wagler. Then I spotted these odd-looking critters that looked like some kind of strange Aloe with teeth. The tag didn’t say what they were because there were no tags at all. They were in these gold-colored metal pots, supposed to be decorative. I took the pot it was in out of the metal pot to see if there was a tag… All the tag says is 11.00-OZ SUCCULENT METAL. Hmmm… By the time I got home, it was dark and I couldn’t take photos outside. I did take a couple but they will be on this plant’s page when it is finished. ANYWAY, I put the photo I took on the Facebook group called Succulent Infatuation. When I checked the next morning a member said it was an Aloe arborescens. AHHH! So that is what an Aloe arborescens looks like?

I had seen photos of these online but really never paid much attention to them until I brought one home. 🙂

Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe, Etc.) on 11-11-20.

SO, what is an Aloe arborescens? Well, apparently, they definitely aren’t miniatures… Information online says they are a tree-like species of Aloe that can grow to around 10 FEET TALL! Hmmm… The things you learn after the fact. 🙂 I am pretty sure they won’t get that tall in a pot. Aloe arborescens also has the third largest distribution among the genus…

Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe, ETC.) from the top on 11-11-20., #758-3.

Besides having these teeth, Aloe arborescens is prized for its flowers that attract birds, bees, and butterflies. One of its common names is the Torch Aloe… Information says they flower in the winter which is something I have to see. I have a few miniature Aloe that are flowering now but to see a big one flower in the winter in the house? Hmmm…

<<<<Polaskia chichipe>>>>

Polaskia chichipe (Chichituna, ETC.) on 11-11-20. The largest plant is 2 1/2″ tall and the cluster is 3 1/4″ wide, #758-4.

The other plant I brought home from Lowe’s on November 10 might be a Polaskia chichipe. At least that is what a member of Succulent Infatuation suggested. I am not 100% sure because the plants in this pot have 7 ribs while information on LLIFLE and other sites say they are supposed to have 9-12. HOWEVER, when checking images online, many had as few as 6 ribs. HMMMM… Some sites say the species has 9-12 ribs while they show photos of plants with 6. 🙂 I think they buy plants to sell and think it is one species and might be another. Who know since so many look so much alike. I sent photos to Daiv Freeman of the CactiGuide and SucculentGuide to see what he thinks…

Polaskia chichipe (Chichituna, ETC.) from the top on 11-11-20, #758-5.

The pot’s label just says 11.00-OZ CACTUS W/DECO FLOWER. The second line says Cactus w/ Decorative Flower / Cactus ssp…… GEEZ! Altman Plants grow A LOT of plants for the industry and it seems like they have completely given up on properly labeling them. Maybe they got tired of enthusiasts complaining about them using old names. Perhaps they realized the scientific names of some are changing and they can’t keep up. Even an old name pointed in the right direction but no name is even more confusing. Even just a common name would be great! If they should stop anything, it would be to stop using hot glue to stick those darn strawflowers on their cactus. The tallest plant in the pot had one on it but it was already about to come off. I removed it without difficulty but there is still a little damage. It will be OK, though. As the plant gets taller you might not even notice the scars.

Polaskia chichipe (Chichituna, ETC.) on 11-20-10, #758-7.

If these guys are definitely Polaskia chichipe, they are native to central and southwest Mexico where they grow up to 15′ tall, are short-stemmed, and have multiple branches. They produce pinkish-white or yellowish-green flowers and are highly prized for their fruit.

OK, NOW I am finished with this post and will start working on the next post about what I brought back from Wagler’s on Tuesday. :

Until next time, stay well, be safe, and stay positive.

 

Fall 2020 Update Part 5: The Mammillaria Group

Part of the cactus collection in front of the sliding door in the dining room on 11-1-20, #754-6.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. This post is about the Mammillaria species in my small collection of cactus. Mammillaria species come in all shapes and sizes and are very easy to grow and some flower off and on throughout the year. I took most of the photos in this post on October 15 as I was bringing the plants inside, but I had to take a few more on November 1 and 6… The longer it takes to finish this post the more photos I will probably take because of the flowers…

Plants of the World Online currently lists 164 species in the Mammillaria genus, which is up two from my last update. Although The Plant List is no longer maintained, even though it is still online and viewable, listed 185 accepted species, 93 accepted infraspecific names (varieties and subspecies), a total of 519 synonyms, and 448 unresolved names. So many species were given a multiple of scientific names over the years and it was quite an undertaking to resolve the issue. It will no doubt be a continual work in progress, even as new species are added. The Mammillaria genus alone has 20 synonyms… That is 20 previous genera whose species have been transferred to Mammillaria or attempts made to relocate them.

So, why do I like Mammillaria species? For one, there are a lot to choose from, they are easy to grow, they come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, many freely flower, and some are just downright weird. All Mammillaria have one particular thing in common that makes them stand out. They have pronounced tubercles arranged in a particular manner, kind of looks like they are spiraling upward… If you have a cactus with pronounced tubercles, it is very likely a Mammillaria.

If you want further information about any of the Mammillaria in this post, or to see more photos, click on their name under the photos in green. That will take you to their own page.

Here we go…

<<<<Mammillaria decipiens (subsp. camptotricha)>>>>

Mammillaria decipiens (subsp. camptotricha)(Bird’s Nest Pincushion) at 1 3/4″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-64.

I brought this AWESOME Mammillaria decipiens subsp. camptotricha (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) home from Wal-Mart in March 2018 because it was weird and I didn’t have one. It has done very well over the summer and the tallest plant in the pot was 1 3/4″ tall and the cluster measured 4 1/4″ wide on October 15. Like all cactus, they swell and shrink as water is available. I watered the cactus the day before I brought them inside because I thought they would swell somewhat before I took measurements. Apparently, I should have done it several days before that… Sunday, as I was taking photos of few of the Mammillaria with flowers, I noticed the biggest one in this pot looked bigger than before. SO, I went and got the tape measure and it was 2″ tall! GEEZ! That’s 1/4″ taller than it was on the 15th!

That isn’t the first time that happened. When I was writing the post Cactus Talk & Update… OUCH! in December 2018 several had done that. They hadn’t been watered since October but they were swelled up.

Getting back to the Mammillaria decipiens… It was cramped up in a 2 3/4″ diameter pot when I brought it home and the cluster of plants was 1 1/2″ tall x 3″ wide. The pot was literally bulging and the plants were hanging out over the top somewhat.

After doing a little research, I found out this cactus was a subspecies called Mammillaria decipiens subsp. camptotricha. The species has 5-11 radial spines per tubercle that are a whitish color and the spines are shorter. The subspecies have 4-5 radial spines per tubercle that are longer and bristly… Describes the one I brought home perfectly. BUT, “those in charge” have decided the subspecies is a synonym of the species. HOWEVER… Since the subspecies name was validly published in 1997, I can go ahead and use it if I choose. 🙂

This species got around A LOT and has 19 synonyms covering seven genera…

<<<<Mammillaria elongata>>>>

Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) at 6 1/8″ long/tall x 7″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-66.

Hmmm… As you can tell, the Mammillaria elongata (Lady Finger Cactus) is doing well. This has been an interesting cactus and I have had no issues with it. We got off to a rocky start but that was my fault. This plant, or cluster of plants, was stuffed into a small pot which I accidentally knocked off on the floor a few days after I brought it home in March 2018. Of course, most of the offsets fell off. I stuck them back in the small pot the best I could at the time. It had no side effects and didn’t even get upset. To say this species freely offsets would be an understatement. Even the kids have kids…

On October 15 when I brought the plants inside, the longest or tallest, umm… The main stem in the center, the mother plant, measured 6 1/8″ long, or tall, whichever you prefer. The entire cluster was 7″ wide. After I remeasured the Mammillaris decipiens I wondered about this plant. In fact, last year it was over an inch longer in November than it was in October, up to 7 3/8″! This time it is 6 1/8″ long??? I remeasured it again when I was putting the measurements on the journal and it definitely was 6 1/8″. So, for the heck of it, I remeasured it AGAIN as I am writing this post. Hmmm… 7 3/4″!!! Believe it or not, I do know how to use a tape measure and I am not going to fall for this Mammillaria conspiracy. They did this to me last year…

<<<<Mammillaria hahniana>>>>

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) at 3 5/8″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-67.

Several Mammillaria species have a lot of wool like the Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus). I have had this cactus as a companion since I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016. It was only 1 7/8″ tall x 23/8″ wide when I brought it home now it is 3 5/8″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide. NO, I am not going to measure it again to make sure…

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) on 10-15-20, #747-68.

The Mammillaria hahniana is quite a bloomer and may surprise you anytime throughout the year. Most Mammillaria species are sort of concave at their apex and their spines just kind of unfold as they grow. Mammillaria hahniana is sort of flat-topped and you can clearly see how concave it is in the center. This species is rather globe-shaped when young but can become more columnar with age. Over time they can form good-sized colonies but I don’t think they divide dichotomously.

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) on 11-6-20, #755-1.

I had to take the above photo on November 6 because it has more buds. It will continue growing more, maybe in 2-3 rows. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) lists several subspecies and varieties of Mammillaria hahniana but none are currently accepted even though they were once validly published. They all have certain peculiarities in the quantity and size of spines (central and/or radial), wool, flower color, etc. One even has white flowers. While it may be true they are the same species, these characteristics set them apart so I personally think the intraspecific names should be used to distinguish them from one another. When young, they might look very similar, but these different “features” become more pronounced with age.

<<<<Mammillaria karwinskiana>>>>

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) at 3 5/8 tall x 3″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-69.

The Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) is a great little cactus that has gotten more wooly since I brought it home from Lowe’s on 9-21-18. It was 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/16″ wide when I brought it home and now it is 3 5/8″ tall x 3″ wide. If you find this plant at Lowe’s or Wal-Mart it is likely to be labeled Mammillaria nejapensis which is a synonym. In fact, this species has 60 synonyms!!! Ummm… There were only 45 the last time I updated its page last December. GEEZ!!! Where did they all come from? OH, I know… POWO has been uploading a lot of names from the International Plant Names Index (IPNI) they didn’t have in their database. Maybe that’s why…

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) with lots of wool for the winter on 7-15-20, #747-70.

The tufts of wool on the Mammillaria karwinskiana reminds me of tiny rabbit’s feet (you know, the rabbit’s foot keychains).

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) with flowers on 11-1-20, #754-2.

It started flowering more shortly after I brought it inside. I am glad its flowers aren’t pink… Maybe this one is a guy.

<<<<Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii>>>>

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) on at 4 1/8″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-71.

I really like this Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) with its club-shape. I brought it home from Lowe’s when it was 3 1/4″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide in September of 2018. It had fallen over on the discount rack and was completely out of its pot. I picked it up and looked at it, put it back in its pot, then put it in my cart. There was barely any soil left because it had fallen out and onto the floor. This plant likely would have been thrown out and I certainly couldn’t let that happen… I liked its shape, its silver-bluish-green color, and the combination of very long and short spines. Sounded like a win-win for both of us so I bought it home.

The label said it was a Mammillaria celsiana but that species has been determined to be a synonym of Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii. This is one of several Mammillaria I now have in my small collection that divides dichotomously. That means the plant itself becomes two, then two becomes four, and so on. Well, the information says they do that when they “mature” which I have no idea when that will be. 🙂 Until they divide, they are said to be a solitary species. It doesn’t seem to mind its neighbors, though. They are always teasing the cats, trying to get them to jump on their table…

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-72.

Information I have read says this is a summer bloomer but it is flowering now like it did last October. If it bloomed in the summer I missed it. Some Mammillaria flower just about anytime during the year. I told him “guys aren’t supposed to like pink.” He replied, “Who said I am a guy?” GEEZ! Some Mammillaria species are a bit of a smart aleck…

<<<<Mammillaria mystax>>>>

Mammillaria mystax at 2 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4: wide on 10-15-20. #747-73.

The Mammillaria mystax is a very neat and tidy cactus that hails from central and southwest Mexico. Ummm… There is still no common name given for this cactus. It has done very well since I brought it home from Lowe’s on September 21, 2018. It has grown from 1 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide to 2 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. Even in nature, this species only grows to 6-8″ tall.

I think it is odd how the central spines close to the top are longer than the central spines farther down. Do they shrink as the plant grows or does it grow longer spines as it matures? I am learning that some species of Mammillaria change quite a bit as they age which led to many subspecies and variety names. I know, I know… I am repeating myself. Mammillaria have a tendency to make one talk to themself.

Mammillaria mystax has 28 synonyms now. The featured image on Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) for Mammillaria mystax shows a cactus that was formerly Mammillaria casoi with long, entangled spines… Supposedly, this species is highly variable. Hmmm… I don’t get it but I guess I don’t have to understand to be confused. 🙂

Mammillaria mystax from the top on 10-15-20, #747-74.

Hmmm… Still, no sign of flowers or buds but it is still a neat plant. Look at those spines! I like it because it is such a neat little ball of thorns plus I have to find out what this one will do as it matures…

<<<<Mammillaria plumosa>>>> 

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) at 1 3/8″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-75.

The Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) is quite a neat clump of fuzz. I bought this cactus from an Ebay seller in September 2018 and I will never forget how it arrived. It was like a little ball all wrapped up in toilet paper. The cluster was only 2 1/4″ wide and the largest plant, the big one in the middle, was only 3/4″ tall. It has done quite well and now the biggest plant is 1 3/8″ tall and the cluster is 3 1/4″ wide. Or at least it was on October 15. It is a VERY slow spreader and I think I can barely see two very tiny offsets starting to peak through.

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) on 11-6-20, #755-3.

I took a couple more photos of the Mammillaria plumosa to show its flowers.

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) on 11-6-20, #755-4.

This hole has been here for a while and I think it is where a flower was last year. Maybe I need to comb it. 🙂

If you ever get a chance to get one of these, I think you will like it. Check on Ebay.

<<<<Mammillaria pringlei>>>>

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) at 5 3/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-76.

The Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) is the third oldest Mammillaria in my collection. I brought it home from Lowe’s on April 24, 2017, but apparently, I didn’t measure it until October 17 when I moved the plants inside for the winter. At that time, it measured 4 1/2″ tall x 3 1/2″ with the spines. Since 2018, I always measure the cactus body and ignore the spines he best I can. Anyway, this cactus always does well and on October 15 it measured 5 3/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide. Hmmm… That is the same width as last year BUT I am not going to remeasure it now because I have a sneaky suspicion it will be different. I don’t want to get caught up in remeasuring the Mammillaria again, even though I am curious… Maybe I can do it when they are sleeping so they won’t say, “AH HA! I knew you couldn’t resist.” 🙂

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-77.

Mammillaria pringlei is quite a bloomer. It flowers off and on during the summer but really puts on a show in the fall.

Mammillaria pringlei is one of the only species of Mammillaria with yellow spines. They look more white in the photo because of the light.

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) on 11-1-20, #754-3.

I took another photo of the Mammillaria pringlei on November 1. I just had to do it. She asked, “where is your tape measure? Hiding in your pocket?”

This species was once considered a subspecies of Mammillaria rhodantha (next one on the list) then included in the Mammillaria rhodantha Group…

<<<<Mammillaria rhodantha>>>>

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) at 4 1/4″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-78.

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) is quite a cactus! Its reddish spines make it a very attractive show-stopper. This was one of my first cactus from Wal-Mart when I started rebuilding my collection of plants in 2016. Until then, I previously had quite a few succulents but not that many cactus. I realized that many succulents I had in Mississippi where I had five sunrooms did not like the low light during the winter here. SO, when I started collecting plants again I went for more cactus because they can handle low light during the winter. I didn’t measure the Mammillaria rhodantha when I first brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016, but it was 3 3/4″ tall x 3″ wide (including the spines) on October 17. On October 15 when I brought the plants inside it measured 4 1/4″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide. Hmmm… That is a little shorter than last October when it measured 4 1/2″ tall. Like I mentioned, that is probably because I watered the cactus the day before and they hadn’t “swelled” yet. Even in the wild, Mammillaria rhodantha only grows from 6-12″ tall, so it likely grows fairly SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWW.

The species is variable and some Mammillaria rhodantha have yellowish or whitish spines.

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-79.

The Mammillaria rhodantha typically flowers from spring through fall, but this one didn’t flower well until last year. It seemed to be loaded with buds at times but they never grew or opened. Other species in my collection start flowering in one spot then kind of go around the circle. This one will produce buds but the flowers open without a system.

My last update of this species own page was in November 2019 when Plants of the World Online listed 115 synonyms of Mammillaria rhodantha. Now there are 132!!!  78 species are other Mammillaria that were decided were actually Mammillaria rhodantha. There are 35 varieties, subspecies, or forms of Mammillaria rhodantha named that were once valid accepted names. An additional 54 are from when some of those infraspecific names were species in other genera as well as Mammillaria, some fairly recent and some very old names. That doesn’t include names that were not validly published… Mammillaria pringlei was also once considered a subspecies of Mammillaria rhodantha, and apparently, there are variants of it with yellow and whitish spines… Hard to explain it, but there are, or were, six other genera that many species of Mammillaria were in at one point. Heck, most of the older named species in any genera of cactus started out in the genus simply called Cactus

<<<<Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis)>>>>

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) at 1 3/8″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-82.

The Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) (Thimble Cactus) is hanging in there to be a good parent. Some of its kids stayed attached better the past summer and the ones that fell off are taking root. This is “one of those” you have to handle with care but not because of its spines. The offsets fall off very easily which is why one of its past scientific names, “fragilis”,  was very appropriate. I had a fairly large pot of this one before, but I hadn’t really been to Lowe’s or Wal-Mart that much to find another one. When I did go to Lowe’s and was looking for one like before, I choose the “Arizona Snowcap’ (below) instead. Then when I went to Wagler’s Greenhouse to take plants in September 2019, I noticed a very small cactus with a few tiny offsets sticking out of it. I looked at it and realized it was a Mammillaria but it didn’t quite look familiar. Well, I brought it home and it turned out to definitely be a Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis. I was always used to seeing them available in clusters not as a single specimen. It did perfectly fine over the winter and the next summer and grew quite a bit, well, the offsets did. By the time I moved the plants inside for the winter, most of its offsets had fallen off. Then it was a little plant AGAIN! Fortunately, as I said, most of the offsets it grew since then have managed to stay attached. It measures only about 2″ tall which is pretty good considering… Umm… Considering it was 2″ tall last October. 🙂 Actually, to be honest, it was only 1 1/2″ tall on October 15 but I did measure it again a few days later and it had swelled to ALMOST 2″. 🙂 🙂

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) with a flower and several buds on 11-6-20, #755-6.

I had to get another shot of this plant on November 6 because it was waving its flower at me. It wants me to also tell you about the marble in its pot. After I brought it home from Wagler’s it kept growing toward the light and almost fell over SO, I put the marble next to it to hold it up. I was going to take it out of the pot, but apparently, it got so attached to the marble it wanted me to leave it. I guess it is like a pet rock or maybe it is afraid it will need it again…

Plants of the World Online lists Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis as a synonym of Mammillaria vetula (1832) even though there are differences. One difference is that Mammillaria vetula has 1-2 central spines and 25 radial spines. The subspecies does NOT have central spines. I choose to continue to use the subspecies name because it was validly published and accepted in 1997. It replaced the name Mammillaria gracilis (1838). The industry still sells this plant as Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis which was named and accepted in 1929.

<<<<Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’>>>>

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ at 1 1/2″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-80.

The Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ did great over the past summer and now, FINALLY, is looking like this cultivar is supposed to again. When I found this cluster at Lowe’s on July 18, 2018 it was a 2″ tall x 5″ wide cluster of balls hanging over the sides of a 3 1/2″ diameter pot. The reason I chose this cultivar over the regular Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis was because many of the balls were covered with thick, white spines and I hadn’t seen any like it before. Well, it was just flat neat! I brought it home and took photos. Of course, I put the cluster in a larger pot. Over the next summer, 2019, the plants that were more white died off!  After I moved the plants inside for the winter I removed the dead plants and kind of spruced up the pot a little.

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 10-15-20, #747-81.

Fortunately, over the summer, the cluster is looking GREAT! As you can see in the above photo, one of the plants has a circle of buds.

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 11-6-20, #755-5.

I took another photo on November 6 after most of the flowers had opened. It is really neat to see such a small plant have a circle of flowers.

According to LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms), this cultivar is a monstrous form, or mutation, of Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis that is not found in the wild. They say it is of garden or nursery origin and perhaps a hybrid…

Well, that’s it for the Mammillaria update and it only took about three days to finish. Seems like a week! 🙂 I can get the remaining 10 cactus and succulents in the next post.

Until next time, take care, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful! I hope you are all doing well…

Fall 2020 Update Part 4: Kalanchoe and Ledebouria

Kalanchoe luciae with friends on the shelf in front of a south-facing window in the back bedroom on 11-1-20, #754-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Since the “S” we have had rain. Last week was rainy for several days then the sun finally came out. This post is for the Kalanchoe and Ledebouria in my small collection and most of the photos were taken on October 15 when I brought the plants inside for the winter. I learned a few things while making this post that calls for a little further research… My Kalanchoe daigremontiana may NOT be a Kalanchoe daigremontiana after all. Hmmm…

All the plants on this post have their own pages which you can view by clicking on the name in green under the photo.

<<<<Kalanchoe x laetivirens>>>>

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) on 10-15-20, #747-51.

The Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) has definitely been a plant I have had to grow with. It is kind of like being in a relationship with someone that starts out interesting then it just kind of gets weird. It wasn’t perfect in the beginning but you expected them to just grow with you and blossom. When they didn’t do what you expect, you kind of neglected them then they just stopped being the best they could be for you or themselves. You felt they were just hanging in there until you paid attention and gave them what they needed from you. Well, then I figured out what this relationship needed. Like any good and lasting relationship, you have to take care of it and then it will blossom and be great. Well, at least we hope so. Love is about devotion, honesty, loyalty… It is giving and receiving at the same time. Gardening is the same way, as is anything worthwhile. You get more of what you give sometimes, and you do have to give. The Kalanchoe x laetivirens is definitely a plant that you will either love or hate. You will love it if you know how to take care of it, and hate it if you don’t. So many of these plants are sold and given away only to have them neglected then discarded. If you follow a few basic rules, they are great plants and there is hardly a more beautiful plant than a well-grown Kalanchoe x laetivirens. I brought my first one home from Wagler’s in 2014 and it became a beautiful plant. After I gave up most of my plants in the late summer of 2014, it wasn’t until late in 2015 that I started to rebuild my collection. One of the first plants I brought home was another one of these plants. It started out great and it was a nice plant, too. However, in 2016 it started getting tall and strange. By 2017 it was tall and straggly and its leaves were smaller. It was NOT a pretty sight… Not to mention all those darn plantlets that were coming up everywhere!

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) platelets on 10-15-20, #747-52.

Over the years I have figured out to remove the plantlets when I bring the plants inside. They fall off and come upon every pot close by. I have found them in pots that weren’t even close. Like kids, if you want them to grow into nice plants you have to give them attention, too. Removal of the plantlets is kind of like birth control. Just think of how many babies are born every year that weren’t planned… I have no clue where that came from… GEEZ! According to the experts, the leaves of these plants are not really leaves…They are actually phylloclades which are flattened branches modified for photosynthesis.

Kalanchoe x laetivirens is a native of Madagascar and is listed as an invasive species in several parts of the world. It can produce over 16,000 seeds per fruit not to mention the plantlets!

ANYWAY…

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) on 10-15-20, #747-50.

NICE! Well, I suppose I better tell you the whole story. The two plants in this pot are actually offsets from the parent plant… Here it goes…

The strangest thing happened to my Kalanchoe x laetivirens last winter. In January, I went into the bedroom where the plants are and it had buds. I had seen flowers of them online but this was the first time mine had ever bloomed. OK, I will show you…

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) flowers on 2-21-20, #670-2.

I was shocked! A week or so after I saw the buds I moved the plant to my bedroom with the plants in there so I could keep an eye on it. After the flowers faded I just left the stem attached to see what would happen next. Over the summer I was pretty busy with the garden and this and that and I more or less didn’t pay much attention to the plants on the front porch. After all, they were succulents for the most part and they would be OK. And they did just fine… The main plant just kind of fizzled out, because this species is monocarpic, but two NICE offsets came up next to it… NOT plants from the plantlets (there were several of them too), but NICE big plants… So, the plants in the photos are those two offsets.

So, what became of the old flower stem?

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands), where the flowers were, on 10-20-20, #748-1.

The flower stem had fallen over but it produced MORE plantlets where the flowers had been. What else did you expect from this plant? I didn’t notice any fruit or seed pods, but this plant can produce over 16,000 seeds per fruit.

All parts of this species contain a very toxic steroid known as daigremontianin but many commercial drugs are produced from compounds of this plant (from Wikipedia).

Although Kalanchoe x laetivirens is the accepted name at the moment, sometimes it is Bryophyllum x laetivirens. For a while every time I checked it had changed from one name to the other. I left both names on the captions on its page so I wouldn’t have to keep changing it. It miraculously hasn’t changed since I last updated its page in October 2019. There is even confusion online about this plant, and some have it confused with Kalanchoe delagoensis. 

I had been calling this plant Kalanchoe daigremontiana since I brought the first one home in 2014. I had to do some did some further research because I just read Kalanchoe daigremontiana is supposed to have purple markings under its leaves which mine does not have. How come I never saw that before? Another accepted species, Kalanchoe x laetivirens, is very similar with no purple markings under the leaves. Hmmm… Even though POWO says it is an accepted name, Wikipedia says is it likely a hybrid between Kalanchoe daigremontiana x Kalanchoe laxiflora, therefore, lists it as Kalanchoe x laetivirens. It’s odd how original research led me to believe this plant was a Kalanchoe daigremontiana and I thought it was correct all this time. I had to change the name on a lot of captions, posts, and its own page…

<<<<Kalanchoe luciae>>>>

Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-53.

Kalanchoe species come in a wide array of sizes and leaf shapes and Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) is a great example. I brought home my first Kalanchoe luciae from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016. I have never had issues with this species and it doesn’t proliferate like its life depends on it. I have four pots and they all have offsets. Actually, the top pot has three offsets of the original plant which was cut off and is now in the pot on the left. The original plant grew a long stem and was hanging out of the pot. I thought that was kind of neat so I left it like that until  I need to cut the plant in the pot on the right off and regrow it. It keeps wanting to fall out of the pot. Ummm… There seems to be a pot missing.

Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-54.

The leaves of Kalanchoe luciae are kind of ovalish, light green, with kind of chalky undersides. When in good light, the leaves get kind of a reddish-orange-peachy glow. There is a similar species, Kalanchoe thrysiflora, which share some of its common names but the leaves don’t take on the color in brighter light. The industry sells plants with the name Kalanchoe thrysiflora that are really Kalanchoe luciae. I guess they think they can sell more plants like that and it is a good trick. Most people would never know the difference, but K. thrysiflora is actually a rarer plant and unlikely found in stores. So, if you have a plant labeled Kalanchoe thrysiflora and its leaves turn a reddish color in the sun, you actually have a Kalanchoe luciae. Oh yeah, cooler temps in the winter can also promote the leaf color. Flowers are also different between the species. K. luciae flowers do not have a strong scent while those of K. thrysiflora are strongly scented.

Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-55.

The stems have this neat chalky stuff called “bloom”. The bloom will actually rub off.

Common names for this plant include Flap Jack, Red Pancakes, Paddle Kalanchoe, Northern White Lady, Pancake Kalanchoe, Flipping flapjacks, White Lady, Flapjacks, Dog Tongue Plant, Paddle Plant, Paddle Leaf, Desert Cabbage, and maybe more… Kalanchoe thrysiflora share some of these names.

Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-56.

Ahhh, there you are. This pot was hiding among the smaller succulents on the right side of the table. This is the one I experimented with last summer in full sun on the back porch. Its leaves turned a bright reddish-orange. The right side of the table seems to get more light so it is glowing.

Kalanchoe luciae are easy to grow and are low maintenance. Once they lose a lot of lower leaves just cut the stem a few inches from the lower leaves, let the stem scab over for about a week, then put it in the soil up to the leaves. That’s it!

Give them regular watering over the summer but very little during the winter. Only give them a little water when you notice its leaves starting to wrinkle and get somewhat soft.

Keep them in as bright a light as possible over the winter otherwise, they will stretch a bit. If this happens, just whack off the stem and regrow the plant in the spring. This is true for A LOT of succulents and other plants as well.

<<<<Kalanchoe marmorata>>>>

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-57.

The Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) has been simply weird. I bought this plant from a member of a Facebook group and it arrived beautifully in April 2018. The seller shipped it bareroot and it was beautiful and LOADED with leaves. I put it in potting soil thinking all would be well. It wasn’t. This plant went into shock and lost all but four leaves on top of the stem. Even so, it grew an offset. Since then, it has survived but it is still weird. Last summer I cut off the stem in half and put the offset in its own pot. Sometimes they look like they are getting somewhere but not really… The offset stays short while the other one has grown to 7″ and the leaves fall off as it grows. I am going to have to cut off the stem again this spring (if I can wait that long).

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-58.

It looks good on the top. I will figure out what this plant needs one way or another… Llifle says this is an easy plant to grow. Hmmm… I really want to like this plant because of its interesting leaves. After all, that is why I bought it.

<<<<Kalanchoe orgyalis>>>>

Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons) at 25″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-59.

The Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons) I brought home from Mast’s Greenhouse in June 2018 has been pretty entertaining. Apparently, I didn’t measure it when I brought it home, but it has grown 6 1/2″ taller than last October to 25″. It seems a little strange for a 25″ tall plant to be growing in a 6 1/2″ pot and it is somewhat top-heavy. I have found it laying on its side a couple of times this past summer when the soil was dry even though I keep bricks around the pots. It was like the wind just lifted the pot up and then the plant fell over but luckily it had close friends to catch it so it never fell on the porch floor. I have a heavier, more decorative, clay pot that might be a good idea for this plant. It is a little too big so I may have to do some improvising… Even though this plant is 25″ tall, it doesn’t have that much of a root system so you have to be careful not to put it in a pot with too much soil.

Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons) on 10-15-20, #747-60.

One of the common names for this species is Copper Spoons due to its spoon-shaped leaves of a coppery-brown. As the leaves get older the color changes to a browner tone. The leaves are kind of fuzzy like mohair seats but they don’t smell like a wet dog when they are wet.

I hate to do it because I like watching this plant get taller, but at some point, it may need to be whacked in half. The two lower branches are growing, but there are upper branches that are not getting with the program…

Now, for the Ledebouria… 🙂

<<<<Ledebouria socialis>>>>

Ledebouria socialis (var. paucifolia) on 10-15-20, #747-61.

If you haven’t tried Ledebouria socialis (Silver Squill, Etc.), I suggest you do. These are great plants and very easy to care for. Plants of the World Online still doesn’t recognize the varieties of Ledebouria socialis but I include the variety name in parenthesis because there are definite differences. Although Ledebouria species are grown by many succulent enthusiasts, they are bulbous perennials in the Asparagaceae Family (Llifle still says Hyacinthaceae). The variety above could possibly be the “original” species and the others may have “evolved” from it. The species was also named Scilla socialis, Scilla paucifolia, and Ledebouria paucifolia. Scilla laxa is also a synonym. It was first in the Scilla genus, which is still genus, but some differences determined they are Ledebouria. The Pacific Bulb Society has a lot of information about this genus which you can find a link to on the plant’s page. The information they provide is somewhat out of date, name wise, but it makes for an interesting read. Ledebouria species are natives of South Africa.

Ledebouria socialis (var. violacea) on 10-15-20, #747-62.

The Ledebouria in the above photo was previously named Scilla violacea and Ledebouria violacea but most botanists decided it should be a synonym of Ledebouria socialis. Even so, it is different in several ways from the others. For one, the leaves have larger and darker spots with violet undersides. This one also grows and spreads like crazy compared to the other. I had to ut it in a larger pot last year because it had gotten so cramped in the other. It still has some growing room in this one…

Ledebouria socialis (var. violacea) on 10-15-20, #747-63.

This one didn’t flower this summer and I think that is because I didn’t move them to the cooler bedroom early enough so they could go dormant properly. I had them in my bedroom for a while then noticed they just kept growing and the new leaves were long and skinny. Well, that’s what information said they would do if they weren’t allowed to go dormant. They will continue growing and not flower if you don’t move them to a cooler spot and stop watering them. I didn’t put them into the other bedroom until December last winter but they are already in there now. Just since I moved them inside on October 15, they have grown new leaves that are already long and skinny. NO MORE WATER!!! So, now what will happen is the leaves will start dying off, which will take a while, then the bubs will start to shrivel. That process may take a couple of months. Then I will say, “HOLY CRAP”! Then I will be tempted to give them water. So, this will be my first winter with them properly forcing them to go dormant. We shall see what happens…

I will end this post now and get ready for the next one. It will be about the Mammillaria species in my collection.

This week’s forecast is bright ad sunny so I wonder what I can get into. I have gotten all the nails out of the boards I will use to build the new plant shelves, so that will be the main project for the week.

Until next time, take care, be safe, stay positive… You know the drill…

Fall 2020 Update Part 3: Cactus & Succulents Part 3

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) on 10-28-20, #753-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I don’t want to talk about the weather except to say the “S” is all gone and it is supposed to get up to 42° F today.

The above photo is the Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla). I always forget about it, the three Sedums, and the Sempervivum ‘Killer’ that are outside in the bed in the “other yard”. They stay outside, of course, and I suppose the cactus and succulent updates are about the plants I bring inside. But still, I shouldn’t exclude the plants that go through the winter outside… As I was taking the above photo, I started to pick off some grass clippings and leaves that had got stuck in its spines. It said, “Leave it there”, and gave me a little poke to let me know he was serious. Well, it is always serious…

If you want to go to the plant’s own page for more information, click on its name under the photo in green.

<<<<Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana>>>>

Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady) at 9″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-30.

The Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady) is quite interesting. It has grown A LOT since I bought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016. It was only 2 3/4″ tall x 1 3/4″ wide at the time and now has grown to 9″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide. It would definitely be top-heavy so keeping the pots-side-by-side keeps it from falling over. The subspecies name is accepted for this plant and the species is not as hairy.

Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana on 10-15-20, #747-31.

Of course, the most interesting feature of the Peruvian Old Lady Cactus is its hair. This plant may look soft and cuddly, but under the hair are a lot of spines. So you still have to handle with care.

<<<<Euphorbia mammillaris>>>>

Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) at 8″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-32.

The Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob, ETC.) is a very interesting plant. I brought this plant home as a cutting on March 29, 2019 when it was quite small. The cutting had a main stem with four side branches on one side which kind of makes it look a little lop-sided. I thought about removing the side branches and letting them grow into four separate plants but so far I haven’t done that. Last October 11 when I moved he plants inside, the main stem measured  5 3/4″ tall and this year it has grown to 8″ tall. Information online says it is a fast grower and it will reach as high as the ceiling. Well, that may take some time.

Euphorbia is one of the most diverse of all genera and includes species of cactus, succulents, perennials, wildflowers, trees, and shrubs… I probably missed something.

Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) on 10-15-20, #747-33.

I really like the combination of leaves, thorns, and the geometric shapes of the tubercles. I have had a few other Euphorbia species that have been a lot more delicate. You never know when you try a species if it will work out or not.

<<<<Ferocactus wislizeni>>>>

Ferocactus wislizeni at 2 3/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-34.

The Ferocactus wislizeni is a neat cactus that gets a reddish glow in the sun. It has prominent ribs and long enough spines to keep any cat from sticking its nose where it shouldn’t be. I brought this cactus home from Lowe’s on 3-19-20 when it was just 1 5/8″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide. It has now grown to 2 3/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide.

This species was first put in the Echinocactus genus in 1848 then moved to Ferocactus in 1922. Several other species were determined to be synonymous with Ferocactus wislizeni. It is believed that the spines of this species were once used as fish hooks which led to one of its common names, Fishhook Barrel Cactus. I had a similar species of fish hook cactus with much more curved spines but for some reason, it didn’t live long. I haven’t found a replacement yet…

Top view of the Ferocactus wislizeni on 10-15-20, #747-35.

New spines are reddish with a lot of wool on the areoles. Quite neat, I think…

<<<<x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’>>>>

x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ at 5 1/4″ tall x 10″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-36.

I think x Gasteraloe are great plants and x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ is no exception. ‘Flow’ is my fourth x Gasteraloe and the only one I have now, but not because the others died… This is one of the first plants I brought home when I “started over” in 2016 but I can’t remember where I got it. Lowe’s or Wal-Mart probably. I don’t have any measurements for it until October 17, 2017, when it measured 4″ tall x 6″wide. It is currently 5 1/4″ tall x 10″ wide which is a little smaller than last year. Hmmm… Well, leaves die and new ones grow so that isn’t uncommon when a plant has reached maturity. This plant flowered last year but not this year. I could have missed it since I was busy, but that is unlikely…

I haven’t really figured out the exact lineage of this plant and there isn’t a lot about that online. Most websites say it is an intergeneric hybrid between Gasteria carinata var. verrucosa and an unknown Aloe species. Others say it is a cross between Gasteria and Aristaloe aristata… The leaf coloration certainly resembles Gasteria carinata var. verrucosa but of course, it grows much more like the Aristaloe aristata (which was previously Aloe aristata).

x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ with new offsets on 10-15-20, #747-37.

This plant had four nice, good-sized offsets but when I repotted it in September 2018 I gave the offsets their own pots. Well, that didn’t work so well because the offsets aren’t ding so well. In fact, they are now MUCH smaller and barely surviving. ‘Flow’ now has a few more offsets which I will NOT be removing…

<<<<Gasteria ‘Little Warty’>>>>

Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ at 5 1/4″ tall x 5 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-38.

The Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ did very well over the summer and is now 5 1/4″ tall x 5 1/4″ wide. I removed an offset when I reported it last year and it is doing very well, too. I forgot to take its photo but it is now 2 1/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. I brought this plant home unlabeled from Wildwood Greenhouse on May 8, 2019 when it was 2″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide. Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ is a result of a cross between Gasteria batesiana x Gasteria ‘Old Man Silver’ from Australian hybridizer David Cumming. It has neat rough leaves…

The family that owned Wildwood Greenhouse relocated to another Amish community and I was sorry to see him go. His greenhouse wasn’t as large as the other three, but he had great plants and quite a selection.

<<<<Gasteria sp. ?>>>>

Gasteria sp. at 4 3/4″ tall x 6 3/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-39.

This is my first Gasteria sp. that I brought home from Wal-Mart on March 19 in 2018. I thought it was AWESOME and I still do. Some Gasteria species have smooth leaves and some are bumpy. This one has smooth leaves but I have never figured out the species or possible cultivar. Believe me, I tried. I was told by an expert it is possibly an unnamed hybrid. It is plain and simply a mystery. So, I stopped trying to figure out its name and am just enjoying its companionship. I repotted it last year when it had two offsets in the center. It must have approved because now there are SEVEN. This plant has smooth leaves that are kind of a silvery-green on top and speckled on the bottom. The edges of the leaves feel like a closed zipper, kind of smooth but rough at the same time. The tallest plant in the pot measured 2 3/4″tall x 3 3/4″ wide when I bought them home and it now measures 3 7/8″ tall x 6 3/4″ wide. NICE!!!

<<<<x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’>>>>

x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ on 10-15-20, #747-40.

The x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ from my friend Walley Morse of Greenville, Mississippi is still doing very well. He sent it to me, along with another succulent and cuttings from Tradescantia pallida (Purple Heart) in 2018. The other succulent didn’t survive nor did I figure out what its name was. Of course, the Purple Heart is doing very well… Walley goes to a lot of plant shows in the spring and brings home a lot of plants. He has an AWESOME yard and we traded plants quite a lot. He wound up with two carloads of my plants when I moved back to Missouri in February 2013. He didn’t know the name of this plant so I put photos on a couple of Facebook groups specializing in succulents, It was suggested it was an x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’. Close enough. 🙂 It will definitely need to be regrown next spring… Ummm… I don’t have a page for this plant yet.

x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ on 10-15-20, #747-41.

There are A LOT of x Graptosedum cultivars and they are very popular. They are very easy to grow and propagate very easily from stem and leaf cuttings. This particular cultivar is the result of crossing Graptopetalum paraguayense and Sedum adolphii. Information online says they grow in a rosette form like an Echeveria… Hmmm… If you know anything about succulents, that is a very vague statement. Many succulents may start out growing in a “rosette form” but then start growing stems that can get quite long. Many Echeveria species do that. Both of the parents of this cultivar do that as well… They do OK in part shade, but more light brings out the color the best. Not enough light will also cause them to stretch, especially during the winter months inside. I keep most of the succulents in the south-facing in the back bedroom where it is cool over the winter for that reason.

<<<<Gymnocalycium saglionis>>>>

Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus at 2″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-42.

I really like the Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus). It is one cactus that you definitely have to measure to see if it is growing because it seems to just sit there. It doesn’t talk much or move around. It is always right where I saw it before so I never have to look for it. It was 1 1/8″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s on March 29, 2019. It has grown to 2″ tall x 3 3/8″ (not including the spines).

This cactus is “possibly” the subspecies Gymnocalycium saglionis subsp. tilcarense which has longer spines than the species. Like so many other species and varieties of legitimately published names, the subspecies is considered a synonym of the species even though uniquely different. The subspecies, in this case, have longer spines and the flowers have shorter floral tubes. The species is found throughout much or Argentina whereas the subspecies is only found near Tilcara. I hope someday those in charge will recognize more subspecies and varieties once again…

Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-43.

With spines like it has, he really doesn’t get much lip from anyone. With such large recurved spines, if it were to fall off the table it would roll. Its large tubercles with a little wool make this cactus even more appealing. Did I mention I like this cactus? I always like finding unusual cactus to bring home.

<<<<Haworthiopsis limifolia>> 

Haworthiopsis limifolia (Fairies Washboard, ETC.) at 4″ tall x 5 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-44.

The Haworthiopsis limifolia is a very neat all-around species. It gets its common names Fairies Washboard, Fairy Washboard, and File Leaved Haworthia from its raised transverse ridges. I brought this plant home from Wildwood Greenhouse on May 19, 2020 when it measured just 2 3/8″ tall x 3″ wide. It is now 4″ tall x 5 1/4″wide.

Haworthiopsis limifolia (Fairies Washboard, ETC.) on 10-15-20, #747-45.

It is hard to get a good photo of the ridges to really show the detail. It is very neat!

<<<Huernia schneideriana>>>>

Huernia schneideriana on 10-15-20, #747-26.

HMMM… Every time I walked by the Huernia schneideriana (Carrion Plant, Red Dragon Flower)) on the front porch all I could say was, “GEEZ!” This plant is something else! It flowers almost non-stop. I think the only time it doesn’t have flowers is for a short period in the winter when it is inside. The rest of the time it is LOADED. Mrs. Wagler, at Wagler’s Greenhouse, has a HUGE pot of these and I brought home my first start from her in 2014. After giving up most of my plants later that summer, I brought home my second one in 2015. It was unlabeled but Kate of talltalesfromchiconia, said it was a Carrion Plant. I had to wait until it flowered in October 2015 to confirm the species. I was excited when it flowered but somewhat disappointed that it wasn’t one of the more colorful species with larger blooms. But, I am over that now…

Huernia schneideriana on 10-15-20, #747-47.

The flowers of this species of Huernia are fairly small compared to most and are not as colorful. Some species would make you drool… The good thing about this one’s flowers being small is that you don’t notice the foul odor. It is a Carrion Flower… Later in the updates, I will be posting about the Stapelia gigantea, which has not bloomed… But there is a bud.

Well, that’s it for this post… The next update will be about the Kalanchoe and Ledebouria.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. I hope you are doing well and coping with the virus issues. We have a lot to be thankful for otherwise. Thanks for reading this post and I always appreciate your comments. I am sorry I haven’t been keeping up with your posts but I will try. I get busy doing this and that then get tired and don’t want to read anything. I hope you understand and accept my apology.

 

Are You SERIOUS? “S” on October 26?!?!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I got up this morning and went to make my morning coffee as always. I looked out the window over the sink and saw this! I thought… Well, I was so shocked I don’t even remember what my first thought was. Maybe I was blank. Maybe I thought I was still not awake and I was having a nightmare. Maybe I went back to bed to try to wake up. But no, I was awake. Wide awake… It was really happening…

I don’t ever remember it “S’ing” this early here in my life. Not that “S” is a memorable thing, but one this early… It did “S” here on Thanksgiving in 2007, though. I don’t really know much about what happened from 1987-2013 because I wasn’t here. I have seen a few flakes early but you couldn’t really tell if it was “you know what”. It would be like one every 30 seconds to a minute. But not in October. Well, it is almost November, but still… I am never ready for winter anyway.

 

I went to feed the cats on the back porch and it was snowing there, too. Only two cats were present… The thermometer on the wall said 30° F. It wasn’t snowing that much, just a steady flurry. It had rained off and on during the night, but I certainly wasn’t expecting this. I hadn’t looked at the weather forecast for a few days but maybe I should have.

 

I opened the front door and there was “S” there, too!

 

The leaves are still on the trees… Jade normally wants to go outside but she was not even coming to the door…

 

We only had a light “F” on October 15, which is normal, so I hadn’t even cut down the Cannas or dug the Colocasia rhizomes…

 

The grass is still green, there are green leaves on a lot of the trees and shrubs. The Buick is normally in the garage but I have been cleaning it up and working on making it more organized. I had bought a new shelf to clean up the corner by the door. I wanted to put stuff on the shelf like gas cans, sprayers, etc. that have always been on the floor. That project was started on October 1, but a missing part delayed the whole operation…

 

The Alocasia watch on with discouragement. They were hoping for warmer temps so they could go back outside for a few days more. Their spot in the basement is ready but they really don’t want to go down there yet. The coffee table in the living room is also full of plants…

 

The cactus in front of the sliding door are not too happy about it “S’ing” so soon either. But they are glad they are inside instead of out in it.

I had plans today to finish the new shelf in the garage and start working on the new plant shelves. GEEZ!!! The part for the shelf in the garage finally arrived. I had called the company about the missing part and the lady said I would get it in 5-7 days. Well, it didn’t come. SO, I got on the company website and sent them an email. The next day I had a reply and I was once again told the part would arrive in 5-7 days. It was shipped promptly and they sent a tracking number. This time, it did arrive. Apparently, the person I talked to over the phone screwed up somewhere and the part didn’t get ordered.

I have been working on the Fall 2020 updates and am almost finished with #3. It will probably be finished today despite the interruption…

The extended forecast says it will be 54° F on Friday and 61 on Saturday and sunny…

How is the weather in your neck of the woods? As I am finishing this post, it is still “S’ing” a little. At least for the moment…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and so on. I am at a loss for words at the moment!

 

Fall 2020 Update Part 2: Cactus & Succulents Part 2

Hello everyone. I hope this post finds you well. This is the second part of the Fall update with more photos and measurements from October 15 when I moved the plants inside.

The former Western Auto building is being torn down so I decided I would get some boards from the building to make a couple more plant shelves. The shelves will replace the tables I have been using in the two front bedrooms. I may write a post about the old building in a future post… I think the old building, which is on one corner of Main and Benton Streets, was originally a bank (there was once a bank on all four corners). After the bank closed, the building was rented by Western Auto in 1938. The building itself is 140 years old. I may do a future post about the building so maybe I should take a few photos before it is completely gone… When I was in the building last week I was amazed by the number of laths on the walls and ceiling. Can you imagine how long it took to put them there?

OK, enough about the building. I am updating the plant’s pages as I go along and you can go to them by clicking on their names under the photos (not in the captions).

Let’s get started with…

<<<<Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’>>>>

Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ at 2 3/4″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-18.

The Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ is still alive and well and looking very good. This controversial little gem is very-slow growing and has FINALLY made it to 2 3/4″ tall. It was 2″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016 and has remained 3 1/2″ wide… I brought home my first ‘Ming Thing’ from Wal-Mart in Greenville Mississippi in 2009 when I was living at the mansion in Leland. I was glad to find another one to replace it, although MUCH smaller. I really like this cactus because it is so odd-looking being a monstrous form of the species. It has been doing much better since I started putting the cactus on the back porch during the summer. The crickets really did a number on this poor guy where it was before but it has healed nicely.

<<<<Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus>>>>

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles)at 8 tall x 6 3:4 wide on 10-15-20, #747-19.

I must say the Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles) has done much better over the summer on the front porch. I brought this plant home from Wal-Mart on January 28, 2016 and it was in a plastic sleeve and it was soaking wet. I removed the entire plant, dirt and all, from the pot and let it dry out for a few days. It has a lot of scars from crickets in 2017 but they haven’t been a problem on either the back or front porches. It has had issues growing because new growth from the scars on top of the stems are more fragile. When it was on the table on the back porch sometimes a cat would hit the top of the plant and knock new growth off while jumping on the railing. This summer I had this plant on the front porch in less sun and its color is looking much better. It actually grew 1 1/2″ taller and 2 1/4″ wider over the summer to 8″ tall x 6 3/4″ wide. Bravo!

This is the species that gets confused with the Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle’. Both are miniatures of their species. I am not sure if Fairy Castles is a cultivar or a common name of Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus. It is a common name, but it may be a cultivar name as well since this subspecies can grow to 33′ tall in the wild… The species, Cereus hildmannianus, is usually a spineless cactus and there is an AWESOME monstrose form.

I could go on but I better move along because I really have no idea what I am talking about… I am not sure anyone really does. It would be great to see both species in the wild…

<<<<Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’>>>> 

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ at 8 1/4 tall x 4 1/4 wide on 10-15-20, #747-20.

I really like the Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’. I brought my first one home from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi while I was living at the mansion in 2010. It looked nothing like this one and was much bigger around but not this tall. I brought this one home from Wal-Mart on March 19, 2018 when it was 5 1/2″ tall x 3 3 3/8″ wide. It is now 8 1/4″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide. So, it grew 1/4″ taller and 1/2″ wider in the last year. The industry is still using the name Cereus peruvianus f. monstruosus ‘Ming Thing’ although Cereus peruvianus has been considered a synonym of Cereus repandus for a while. Plants of the World Online lists 28 synonyms of the species…

<<<<Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’>>>>

Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ at 8 1/2″ tall x 9 1/2″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-22.

The Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ did very well during the summer despite a little neglect. I brought this unlabeled plant home from the Kuntry Store (one of the Amish owned stores) on May 5, 2018. I was hoping it was a ‘Lady Fingers’ like I had before but it has turned out to be ‘Gollum’. At least it seems to be ‘Gollum’. Some of the leaves look like ‘Lady Fingers’ but most of them look like the photos of ‘Gollum’. Anyway, it measured 8 1/2″ tall x 9 1/2″ wide which is an inch taller and 1/4″ wider than a year ago. I neglected to measure it when I brought it home but it was MUCH smaller. The leaves are much different than the classic Crassula ovata (Jade Plant, ETC.) which gives them their uniqueness.

<<<<Crassula tetragona>>>>

Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree) at 9 3/4″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-23.

My first Crassula tetragona died last winter for some reason. I had brought it home from Wagler’s in September 2018 and it grew to 16 1/2″ tall. When I finally gave up on it recovering I went to Wagler’s and brought home another one on March 28, 2020. She has a HUGE plant she uses for cuttings but she only had one smaller one. Its stem is crooked because it was growing sideways (I turned the pot so you can’t tell) but it was a nice plant otherwise so I brought it home. It measured 7 3/4″ tall at the time and now it is 9 3/4″ tall. It grew 2″ over the summer. It is quite common for the leaves to fall off and root in the pot as you can tell in the photo.

<<<<Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus)>>>>

Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus) at 3 1/2 tall x 2 3/4 wide on 10-15-20, #747-24.

When I measured these two characters they seemed to be the same size… The Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus) (Golden Barrel Cactus) are always joking around with me so I thought they were doing it again. The green pot is a little shorter than the other one, but oddly enough their measurements were the same. Usually one is a little taller and one is a little wider but I measured several times and I kept coming up with 3 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide for both of them. Last year one was 3″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide and the other was 2 7/8″ tall x 3″ wide. I always called one “Greater” and one “Lessor” but I can’t tell which is which. When I ask them which is which they point their fingers at each other. I always ignore the spines when I measure cactus otherwise they would be much bigger. They are intimidating enough as it is. Oh yeah, and if you water them a lot a day or so before you measure them they will be bigger than if they have been dry for a while. Maybe that’s just my opinion…

Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-25.

These spiny guys always show a little color on their heads but their spines are whiteish. The species has smaller spines and are more yellow. Plants of the World Online listed “var. albispinus” as a synonym mainly because the variety name was invalidly published in 1981. When you sit the different varieties of a species together you can definitely tell there are differences which should be recognized with different variety names. Just makes sense but they didn’t ask me… I have had this discussion with “the guy” and I am told I can call them what I choose. GEEZ!!! Are there no rules? 🙂 Maybe I better check the link on the page for this plant to see if the intraspecific name is accepted yet…

WHOA! WAIT A MINUTE!!! 

I just checked the link for the species and the name has changed!!! Echinocactus grusonii is now Kroenleinia grusonii!!! How did that happen?

OK, so with that, I am going to bed. I was on a good roll and it is late. I was going to finish this post before I went to bed then I hit this snag. GEEZ! Now I will have the THREE “W’s” on my mind while trying to sleep… WHY, WHO, AND WHEN.

DAY TWO…

The history of this species is interesting because it is one of very few that have had the same name since it was named and described the first time. It was named by H. Hildmann was back in 1886 and has remained unchallenged. The genus, Echinocactus, was named in 1827 and there were never very many species included. My last update on this species page was October 11, 2019 when I added the photo from when I moved the plants inside. There were still only six accepted species in the genus and Echinocactus grusonii only had three synonyms. Two of the synonyms were other Echinocactus species that were determined to be E. grusonii and the third synonym was… you guessed it… Kroenleinia grusonii (2014). Even though the later name was validly published due to findings from testing, there is a lengthy process and it sometimes takes SEVERAL YEARS for the name to be “officially” accepted. Testing proved that Echinocactus grusonii was actually more closely related to the genus Ferocactus than Echinocactus and was given its OWN genus… So, the new scientific name is supposedly…

Kroenleinia grusonii (Hildm.) Lodé

It was named and described as such by Joël Lodé in International Cactus Adventures in 2014. Joël Lodé has quite a website called Cactus Adventures International and has written several books and… Well, there is A LOT of information on his website. His latest work is “Taxonomy of the Cactaceae” which seems to be an ongoing series. So far I think there are four volumes. The first two are mentioned on his website and include a total of 1,436 pages and over 9,500 photos. He has been publishing journals since 1988 but only in English since 1996.

So, now I guess I have a little updating to do…

<<<<Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’>>>>

Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ at 4″ tall x 7″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-26.

Hmmm… The Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’… Somehow I am at a loss for words whenever I look at this cluster. Every time I pick up this pot I look at and say, “Yeah, I know.” I don’t really know but I am just trying to be supportive. When I bought this plant from Walmart on February 1, 2016 it was only 2 1/4″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide. There were a few small, umm, offsets clinging all the way around it. The tag said it was an x Echinobivia ‘Rainbow Bursts’ and that it was a cross between Lobivia and Echinopsis. Well, the Lobivia genus became a synonym of Echinopsis quite some time ago and most of the species in the genus were determined to be synonymous with various Echinopsis species. At first, some of the species were transferred to other genera, but later they also became synonyms of Echinopsis. SO, as it turned out, ‘Rainbow Bursts’ has been an Echinopsis the whole time. Of course, the industry is still selling these incorrectly labeled plants. The interesting thing is I have no way of telling what species of Echinopsis it is. Echinopsis species flower in several different colors and they are spectacular. There are posts online from several people who bought this plant with photos of various colors of flowers. Llifle lists Echinopsis ancistrophora subs. arachnacantha that produces flowers of various colors that used to be Lobivia arachnacantha… This is a fairly new listing on Llifle because it wasn’t there before. Plants of the World Online does not list this subspecies as an accepted name.

<<<<Echinopsis huascha>>>>

The smallest Echinopsis huascha at 3 7/8″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-27.

I checked to make sure this is still the correct name. The smaller Echinopsis huascha (Desert Blooming Jewel or Torch Plant) in the pot by itself measured 3 7/8″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide. So, it grew 5/8″ taller and lost a little around the waist. It’s not uncommon for cactus and has a lot to do with the amount of water they have retained. This plan measured 3″ tall x 2″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s on September 2, 2018. I accidentally took a photo of its bad side. Hmmm… Brown spots can be caused by several things but this looks like possibly fungal lesions that can be caused by cool, damp weather.

 

The pot of six Echinopsis huascha. The largest plant in the center measured 6 7/8″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-28.

The pot of six Echinopsis huascha are all doing fine and have grown a lot. The largest plant in the center measured 6 7/8″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide when I measured it on October 15. It was only 3″ tall when I first measured it on November 29, 2018 when I took the plants outside for a photoshoot.  It is weird, but in the above photo, you can’t tell how big they are really getting. Well, let me take another photo and sneak it in…

 

Echinopsis huascha inside 10-23-20, #750-2.

A few of the plants are nearly touching and this is an 11″ diameter pot. I spaced them out evenly in the beginning and a few are growing really fast.

 

Echinopsis huascha offset on 10-15-20, #747-29.

The big plant in the center has a kid… I am a grandpa again. GEEZ! But, the baby is not growing on the side like E. ‘Rainbow Bursts’.

My Echinopsis huascha companions resemble the description Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) gives for Echinopsis huascha var. grandiflora but that infraspecific name wasn’t validly published. Plants of the World Online currently lists 43 synonyms of the species (up one from the last time I updated its page). This species has moved from one genus to another since it was first named Cereus huascha by Frédéric Albert Constantin Weber in 1893. When I brought the plants home the label said they were Trichocereus grandiflorus hybrids. Hmmm… Anyway, it was given its current name in 1974.

The reason I have so many of this species is because I kind of screwed up. I was shopping for new cactus at Lowe’s and found the small one on a discount rack. Then I walked around a little and found a big pot of six cactus and a bigger one in the center that was dead. The whole pot was discounted quite a bit so I put it in my cart as well. When I got home I saw the label on the big pot was the same as the smaller one…

OK, I will stop here and get ready for the next post. It is 2:22 AM.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive, stay well, and always be thankful. COVID is in our midst. 🙂

Fall 2020 Update Part 1: Cactus & Succulents Part 1

Bare plant table on the front porch.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. The time of the year has come where I had to bring the potted plants (104) inside on October 15 because an “F” was in the forecast. As usual, we get a ZAP then the temps warm up again. Sometimes I put the plants back outside but that depends on the long-range forecast. It has been very windy for many days and it has been very dry. Monday we had a little shower and a little more yesterday. This morning it has rained quite a lot with thunder and lightning.

This post begins the cactus and succulent update where I photograph and measure the cactus and succulents. I have been measuring plants for probably 10 years, mainly the cactus and succulents. I like doing that because cactus grow so SSSSLLLLOOOOWWW and measuring them is a good way to tell how well they progress from one year to the next.

There will be several posts because I can’t possibly put them all on one… I think I will start the updates in alphabetical order… If you click on the highlighted name of the plant it will take you to its own page (except for a couple that I haven’t made a page for yet).

<<<<Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle’>>>>

Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle’ at 4 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-1.

First on the list is the Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle’. This particular “cultivar” could be a monstrous form of the species. The species can grow to around 23′ tall with stems as long as 10′. Monstrous forms mutate in several species of cactus either in nature or from human intervention and normally grow much slower and remain much smaller than the species. I brought this particular plant home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on 9-13-18 when it was only 3″ tall x 2″ wide. It now measures 4 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide.

Some have this plant confused with Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles) which I will discuss later…

<<<<Adromischus cristatus>>>>

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 10-15-20, #747-2.

Hmmm… That’s all I can say about the Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie). I brought this plant home from Lowe’s on April 23, 2017 and it has been weird. Of course, it looked much better when I brought it home, in fact, it was a very cute plant… It went downhill over the first winter and I thought surely it would die. It didn’t die but it didn’t do much of anything else either. It survived the summer AGAIN so I brought it back in the house for the winter. I guess as long as it wants to live I will support its cause… I have repotted it and provided what it supposedly needs but it doesn’t do anything but survive… Maybe I should talk to it more… 🙂

<<<<Agave univittata>>>>

Agave univittata (var. lophantha) at 13″ tall x 27 1:2 wide on 10-15-20, #747-3.

I kept the Agave univittata (Center Stripe Agave) in a sunnier spot on the front porch this summer instead of the back porch. I tried it on the back porch last year and its leaves seemed to burn a little and left them brown. When I brought this plant home from one of the local Amish greenhouses in 2016 I thought it was going to be a miniature. Well, it was unlabeled and the leaves were short and broad. I have had several HUGE Agave species in the past when I lived in Mississippi and I really liked them, but here my space is limited especially in the winter. As it turned out, this Agave is not a miniature but they don’t get huge. Information suggests this species grows to 12-18 tall x 12-24″ wide. Hmmm… This plant measured 13″ tall x 27 1/2″ wide when I brought it inside. I really do think these leaves should be broader in correct light but I can’t seem to find the sweet spot… It either gets too much sun or not enough…

It is highly possible this plant is NOT an Agave univittata after all. The species has 20 synonyms including Agave lophantha which has several well-known cultivars including ‘Quadracolor’. Several Agave species are variable and its leaves can be a solid color, bi-color, or even tri-color. In the beginning (sometime after creation) these different colors were given separate species names, which were later changed to varieties. This plant here was originally thought to be Agave lophantha, whose common name was the Center Stripe Agave. Later, it was decided it was a variety of Agave univittata. Now even the variety is supposedly a synonym and they just say leaf color is variable. GEEZ!!!

I still use the name Agave univittata var. lophantha because it has a center stripe. It is/was a legit scientific name that was applied to this variety in 1959 even though it is now supposedly a synonym… At one point it was even Agave lophantha var. univittata (1914). After all, this is my blog and I can call it whatever I choose. 🙂 Agave lophantha goes back to 1829 and Agave univittata only dates to 1831… I better stop there.

Agave univittata (var. lophantha) on 10-15-20, #747-4.

Most Agave species have a VERY sharp needle on the end of their leaves and spines along the margins. Did I mention they are very sharp?

<<<<Agave/x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’>>>> 

Agave/x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ at 9″ tall x 13″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-5.

I always wanted an x Mangave ‘Bloodspot’ but I didn’t see paying the price some online stores were charging for them. Fortunately, I was able to find this Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ at Muddy Creek Greenhouse in 2019. x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ was introduced by Walters Gardens in 2016 and was bred by Hans Hansen. It is a cross between x Mangave ‘Bloodspot’ and x Mangave ‘Jaguar’. It was 4 1/2″ tall x 9″ wide when I brought it home and now it is 9″ tall x 13″ wide. It has the potential to grow 18″tall x 24″ wide… Ummm… I don’t have a page for this one yet.

Agave/xMangave ‘Pineapple Express’ on 10-15-20, #747-6.

I just love the spotted leaves on this plant! It has done very well and is maintaining a nice habit.

The xMangave is, or was, an intergenetic cross between Manfreda and Agave. Unfortunately, those in charge have decided the genus Manfreda is now a synonym of Agave despite its several differences. I had been corresponding with a man from Walters Gardens about a few plants when I bought this one. I mentioned the xMangave was now a synonym of Agave and had no reply. I have now gotten acquainted with a more enthusiastic fellow from Proven Winners, which is a division of Walters Gardens. I wonder what he has to say about name changes. Well, maybe I should wait.

I have to admit I was very excited when I found this plant as an x Mangave but not so much as an Agave. I am not certain if I am ready to call it Agave ‘Pineapple Express. There is something about it being an intergenetic hybrid that makes one tingle. Besides, Agave doesn’t have spotted leaves!!! 🙂

<<<<Aloe juvenna>>>>

Aloe juvenna on 10-15-20, #747-7.

In 2009 I was plant shopping in a Wal-Mart store in Greenville, Mississippi and I saw a piece of a plant on the shelf. I looked around and found a similar potted plant labeled Aloe squarrosa. In 2012 I brought home another similar plant labeled Aloe zanzibarica (Zanzibar Aloe). When I was doing research for the blog I found out there was no scientific name for Aloe zanzibarica and my Aloe squarrosa was actually an Aloe juvenna. In fact, both plants were Aloe juvenna. I gave up those two plants but found the one I have now from Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2017. I think I may have given her this plant in the first place. Anyway, Aloe juvenna are easy to grow and pretty carefree. They are happiest when you leave the colony all together in a pot. You can propagate this one from offsets as well as stem cuttings although it may take them a while to root… Normally, this plant is nice and green if you don’t give it too much sun but for some reason, it started looking a bit off last winter…

<<<<Aloe maculata ‘Kyle’s Grandma’>>>>

Aloe maculata ‘Kyle’s Grandma’ on 10-15-20, #747-8.

I have the longest history with the Aloe maculata ‘Kyle’s Grandma’ than any other succulent here. When I was living in Mississippi, a friend of mine brought me a couple of offsets from his grandmother’s Aloe (spring 2009). I didn’t know what species it was at the time, so I called it Aloe ‘Kyle’s Grandma’. I had even met his grandmother yet but they all liked it that I named the plant after her. I named a lot of plants after the people who gave them to me. Anyway, at first, I found out this Aloe was Aloe saponaria, which it was at the time. When The Plant List first came online in 2010 I found out Aloe saponaria was a synonym of Aloe maculata. As usual, were a few differences between the two species, mainly having to do with their inflorescence (flower cluster). I was told, of course, the species is variable… Whatever you choose to call them, Aloe maculata is a great plant that freely offsets. I have literally potted HUNDREDS of these plants and gave them away to friends or anyone that wanted one. These plants will get HUGE and prefer their offsets to be removed from the pot. If you don’t do that you will have a big problem… The main plant in this pot grew to 19″ tall x 42″ wide by the time I moved the plants inside on October 11 last year. Unfortunately, it died in the spring before I moved the plants outside. I had screwed up and put the pot on the back porch one fine sunny day before spring arrived. I am not sure if it got too cold or if it was too much sun all at once. Whatever happened, it died leaving behind a bunch of orphans… I intended to put them in their own pots but got so busy I didn’t have time… So, here they are still in the pot on October 15… If you want to read more about this plant and my history with them, click on the name above.

<<<<Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’>>>>

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ on 10-15-20, #747-9.

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was the first Aloe I purchased when I was living at the mansion in Leland, Mississippi.  I brought it home from Lowe’s in 2009 and we have had our ups and downs… I gave an offset to Mrs. Wagler (Wagler’s Greenhouse) in 2013 and I was glad I did. After I gave up a lot of my plants in 2014, I had to start over again in 2015. Well, I brought home the offset I had gave to Mrs. Wagler the year before… 🙂

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was hybridized by John Bleck using the offspring of Aloe descoingsii x Aloe calcairophila and crossing it with Aloe bellatula. It is a nice miniature Aloe that offsets like crazy which can pose some interesting issues… The pot gets so full it becomes hard to give it enough water… I gave the plants a good dose of water the day before I moved them inside, but this pot is very light and feels like it had no water at all. GEEZ!!! However, even though it looks sad, it is flowering so it is happy. 🙂

The cluster of plants is approximately the same size as it was in 2019 with nothing exciting to report. Right now it is flowering again which it does periodically throughout the year, inside or out.

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ 10-15-20, #747-10.

Shriveling of its leaves is fairly common when it needs water or if it is getting too much sun. If it does this because it is cold and wet, you have an emergency on your hands. That was a problem I had with it a few times when I lived in Mississippi but I was a newbie at the time. During the summer, water once a week if it needs it, but no matter what, control yourself during the winter. One reason my succulents are in the back bedroom is so I won’t be looking at them every day and be tempted to water them too often. Once or twice during the winter is enough…

Not all Aloe species and hybrids are easy to grow. I have lost a few over the years because they were weird…

<<<<x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’>>>>

x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ at 5 3/4″ tall x 10″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-11.

The x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ is a great plant for sure. It is an intergeneric hybrid between Aloe speciosa and Haworthia cymbiformis. I brought this plant home from Wildwood Greenhouse on May 9, 2019 when it was 3 1/2″tall x 6 1/8″ wide. I put it in a larger pot on November 13, 2019 and it has done very well. Now it is 5 3/4″ tall x 10″ wide. I really like this plant and its dark green leaves.

I keep getting confused between intergeneric and intergenetic. When I think of “generic” it reminds me of generic brands of food and drugs. Intergeneric is the hybridization between two genera while intergenetic deals with genes. The “x” before the plant name indicates it is an intergeneric hybrid… I checked to make sure Haworthia cymbiformis is still a Haworthia species. 🙂

<<<<Aristaloe aristata #1>>>>

Aristaloe aristata #1 on 10-15-20, #747-12.

I brought this Aristaloe aristata home from Wal-Mart on March 19, 2018 and it always did well until I messed up. I put it in a larger pot in November 2019 which probably would have been fine. But, toward the end of the winter before I moved the plants outside in the spring, I gave several of the more root-bound Aloe a good soaking. Well, I did it with this one too which I shouldn’t have done since it was in a new and deeper pot. As a result, the lower roots rotted and it started going downhill. I put it in a shallower pot and removed its three offsets and it started slowly recovering. Not knowing if it would recover is the reason I had Nico from Succulent Market send the new one (which I wrote about a couple of posts ago). I didn’t measure this plant this time around because it had shrunk A LOT since so many of its lower leaves died. Right now, the plant from Nico is bigger than this one… OUCH! Live and learn…

<<<<Austrocylindropuntia subulata>>>>

Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve’s Needle) at 4 1/2″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-13.

Austrocylindropuntia subulata is definitely a mouth full and you can’t say it really fast three times. I brought this plant home from Wagler’s Greenhouse in November 2019 when I went out to see if she had more Christmas (Holiday) Cactus. The one I brought home from her earlier had a peach label and it turned out to have pink flowers… Anyway, she didn’t have any more peach but I did bring this delightful little Eve’s Needle home. It was very small at the time but it has grown to 4 1/2″ inches. I had a HUGE Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. cristata (Crested Eve’s Needle) but it died in over the 2013-2014 winter. It was AWESOME and I haven’t found a replacement so far.

I don’t have a page for this plant yet…

Well, I got through the “A’s”. There are no “B’s” so I will start with the “C’s” through part of the “E’s” on the next post.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Stay well and always be thankful…

 

Jade’s New Bed

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. First I want to say I managed to get all the plants inside yesterday since an “F” was in the forecast. I photographed all the cactus and succulents, and a few others. I measured most of the cactus and a few of the succulents like I usually do to compare their progress with the year before. Before I went to bed I looked outside and it was frosty as predicted. At 3:30 AM I checked the temp and it was 34° F. I was glad I moved the plants inside.

Anyway, I bought a new flannel quilt from a seller on Etsy because my old quilt was falling apart. Jade thinks she always has to be where I am and likes laying on my bed. My computer is in the bedroom so it kind of doubles as an office so naturally she wants to be in there with me. I could normally get her to lay on the end of the bed as long as I had a newspaper for her to lay on. I don’t get it with the newspaper, but that was OK. At least it keeps her hair off the bed for the most part. The problem was after I put on the new blanket she wanted to lay next to the pillow. So, I started closing the door so she couldn’t get in the bedroom but then I could tell she felt neglected. She would paw at the door and meow wanting in and couldn’t understand why I didn’t want her in the bedroom.

I told her I would buy a bed for her so today I picked one up at Petsmart. I brought it home and she would have nothing to do with it. When I returned from the grocery store this evening she didn’t meet me at the door like she usually does. I walked around to the living room and she was in her new bed smiling. 🙂

 

This is my new flannel quilt just in time for cooler temps. Completely hand made and hand quilted.

I will be working on the cactus and succulent updates and will take several posts as usual.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, and give thanks!

 

Plants From Succulent Market

Plants from Succulent Market on 8-27-20.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I am very tardy in writing this post about the plants I received from Succulent Market on Augst 27. I did sneak in a photo of the box they came in the day they arrived but didn’t say anything about them. I was contacted by Nico Britsch of Succulent Market on July 30 but I didn’t notice his message until August 3. I check my comments sometimes several times a day, but rarely checked the feedback. Well, that’s where his message was. It was like one day I just decided to check the feedback and low and behold there were 20 messages.

He said: “Hi, my name is Nico Britsch and I am a third-generation cactus and succulent farmer. I admire your work to share your gardening knowledge and experience with your followers. The reason I am emailing you is because I have recently launched a website called Succulent Market. It is a website that sells my family’s cactus and succulents online. My family has been growing cactus and succulents for over 50 years and I am trying to get the word out about this new service that we now offer. If you like I would be more than happy to send you guys some of my family’s cactus and succulents. Just let me know what you want and I’ll send a package over! You can check out my family’s website at: https://succulentmarket.com/. If you like my family’s cactus and succulents maybe you could share our website with your followers with a blog post? Regardless I thank you for your time and consideration. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions. Best, Nico Britsch”

Well, as you might expect, the part about sending plants caught my eye. So, I checked out his website and read about the history of his family’s business. At first, I was somewhat reluctant to get very involved after visiting his website, Succulent Market...

I have ranted a lot about the industries mislabeling plants and his site was no different. Genus and species names not italicized, out of date plant names, and so on. I sent him a lengthy email and he replied with his story. I then realized he had a dream and I had an opportunity.

Nico’s grandparents, Hans and Gretel Britsch, started Western Cactus Growers in 1966. As botanists and immigrants from Switzerland, Hans and Gretel started Western Cactus as a mail-order company. Their son, Thomas, entered the business in 1988 and expanded it into an international wholesale enterprise. Nico, the third generation, launched the Succulent Market website in 2018 to bring the family’s wholesale business to the public online.

Nico started Succulent Market while he was a sophomore in college to earn extra money. Now that he has graduated he plans to pursue his own company full time. While his website does have that “industry look”, it is tastefully done and very easy to navigate. When you click on something you are directed right to where it is supposed to go. He offers a very good selection of individual plants, in bulk, cuttings, supplies, and a lot of tips and information. Now, if I can just get him to work on the plant names. 🙂

At first, I told him I didn’t need any plants because of my limited space, but then I checked out his selection of Aloe… I told him I didn’t have adequate light for succulents except for one room. He then mentioned the Haworthia fasciata ‘Super White’ his grandfather had selected over many years. He said their “Super Whites” have wider stripes are more resilient indoors with very little light. Then he asked if I would like him to send me one… Then, I looked at the Aloe selection on his site… I mentioned several in the next email and the next thing I knew I had an order confirmation for five plants…

The box arrived safe and sound and in very good shape. I opened it and saw it stuffed with paper… I will admit, I wasn’t jumping up and down for joy because a plant I ordered finally arrived. When I buy plants online they are rare finds, something I can’t find locally from someone from Ebay or a Facebook group. Opening the box to see how they are packed is almost as interesting as what I ordered. I never will forget the Mammillaria plumosa rolled up in toilet paper. Anyway, here the box is stuffed with paper.

His website says: “Each one of our cactus and succulent for sale is packaged by hand with love and care. We utilize craft and crinkle paper to protect your cactus and succulent order during delivery. Your potted succulent orders are carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and stuffed in crinkle paper.”

I removed the paper and this is what I first saw. Five plants peering up at me wondering what was going to happen next. My face was the first thing they saw after a long trip from California in a dark box. I looked at them for a while because I wasn’t expecting such HUGE plants in 4-inch pots. Well, the website did say they ship their plants in 4″ pots, but I was still surprised. The plants looked great! The pots were stuffed in the box so tight they couldn’t possibly move around. Quite a bit of soil had come out of one pot, but other than that they were perfectly fine with not one single broken leaf. I took the plants out and took their photos then tried to put the pots back in the box so I could carry them to the front porch. I could not get them back in the box… I have no idea how they managed to put five 4″ pots in the box without damaging any leaves

Nico said he is continually experimenting with better ways to ship plants. I told him I had ordered plants for many years and they are all shipped in a variety of ways. I suggested he order plants from a few sources to see how they do it. Shipping cactus and succulents, especially larger succulents, is not like shipping many other plants. They have fleshy stems and leaves and you can’t just fold them up and wrap them. No doubt, there are probably companies that make boxes and shipping supplies for plants.

This is the first time I have received succulents in the mail that weren’t damaged in some way. Cactus ship much better. Normally, I photograph and measure new plants as soon as they arrive or after I bring them home but I didn’t measure these until October 6.

Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ from Succulent Market at 7 1/2″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 6-20-20, #746-1.

I had a pot of Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ for several years and they really did great. I like their growth habit and the bluish hue of their leaves. They are somewhat slow to offset which isn’t a bad thing. Some Aloe’s offset A LOT and need to be repotted often. There were three of these in the same pot before and they look much better that way because of their upright growth habit. The problem is… This plant doesn’t look like my former Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’. It looks more like photos of Aloe x ‘California’ online…

Aloe x ‘Cha Cha’ from Succulent Market at 3″ tall x 63/4″ wide on 10-6-20, #746-2.

Information online says Aloe x ‘Cha Cha’ is a rapid grower to 6-12″ tall and wide. This should be interesting because it does not look like a plant that would grow to that size… I can already tell it will be quite a clumper and I need to resist the urge to remove its pups. Some Aloe do much better with their pups removed while others don’t like it. This may be a difficult Aloe but time will tell.

Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ from Succulent Market at 2 1/2″ tall x 5 1/2″ wide on 10-6-20, #746-4.

This one is an Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ and it looks really great. A few years ago I bought a small pot of an unlabeled Aloe that looked similar that I kind of decided was Aloe x ‘Wunderkind’ developed by Brian Kimble. There are several miniature hybrid Aloe that are similar to the Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ developed by several well-known hybridizers. This will definitely be a miniature plant and I was pretty excited with I saw a few buds already. Aloe ‘Doran Black’ has very good reviews and if you are looking for a nice miniature, it should be on your wish list. I accidentally killed my Aloe x ‘Wunderkind’ when i watered my plants in the morning instead of later in the afternoon when they were in the shade. It completely boiled once the sun was overhead…

Aristaloe aristata from Succulent Market at 3 1/2″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 10-6-20, # 746-6.

Aristaloe aristata… I already have one of these but it started ailing after I removed its pups and put it in a larger pot. I thought I would die over the summer but it seems to be doing better. The plant I already have was getting very wide with several pups so I definitely needed to repot it. But, the pot I put it in was too deep and it didn’t like that. Some Aloe have an extensive root system and need deeper pots while others do not. I have learned that miniature Aloe’s need shallower pots and kind of like cramped quarters. My Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ drives me crazy for this reason!!! This particular species was moved from the Aloe genus into a genus of its own a couple of years ago but the industry continues to call it an Aloe. It was originally named Aloe aristata by Adrian Hardy Haworth in 1825 but testing showed it was not an Aloe. It was given the name Aristaloe aristata by James S. Boatwright and John Charles Manning in 2014. So, now its scientific name is Aristaloe aristata (Haw.) Boatwr. & J.C.Manning. A little useless information for you. 🙂 I really like this species with its very pointed leaves ending with kind of a string. The species name “aristata” comes from the Latin word meaning “bristly” or “awned”. Its common name is Lace Aloe, Guinea Fowl Aloe, and Torch Aloe. It is a good grower that will fill a pot pretty well in no time. Just don’t put it in too deep of a pot or you may be sorry…

Haworthiopsis ‘Super White’ from Succulent Market at 3 1/4″ tall x 5 1/2″ wide on 10-6-20, #746-8.

Last but not least in any way is the Haworthia ‘Super White’. This is the Haworthia fasciata Nico said his grandfather selected over a period of time to tolerate low light levels. It was selected to have more “white” on its leaves thus making it better in low light situations. I have not grown Haworthia species or cultivars for many years, since 2009, and had difficulty with them which is why I have been reluctant to bring any home. Well, I was a succulent newbie back then and my choices were difficult species to grow in the first place.

Actually, and I am no Haworthia expert, but from doing some research I think this Haworthia fasciata is actually Haworthia attenuata. Their leaves are different…

BUT, actually… I have to break the news to Nico. This Haworthia fasciata, or Haworthia attenuata, ‘Super White’ is no longer a Haworthia species. Like the Haworthia limafolia I brought home last year, the Haworthia fasciata (AND H. attenuata) was transferred to the newly formed Haworthiopsis genus by Gordon Douglas Rowley in 2013… Mr. Rowley authored and co-authored over 300 publications including 20 books. He named many plants, cactus and succulents becoming the focus of his life after the mid 1940’s. He passed away on August 11, 2019 at the age of 98.

So, I am going to give this ‘Super White’ a shot. I have passed over many similar-looking Haworthia over the years so this one will be my first of this “type”. I have no clue what I am talking about.

I know I get a little carried away sometimes with I talk about plant taxonomy but I enjoy doing a little research.

I just want to finish this post by saying if you want some really great plants you should head over to Succulent Market. While most online stores ship very small plants in 2-2 1/2″ pots, this company ships larger well-grown plants in 4″ pots. While most people probably pay no attention to details like non italicized scientific names and improper names, some do and may not buy from online stores because of that. Then again, I can’t italicize the plant names on the list to the right nor in the titles… But, Nico is very young and is the 3rd generation of a well established and experienced company. Hopefully, he will take the initiative and work on the names on his website (and a few other areas) and will be a great success. He is in a competitive business and he should do something to make his site stand out above the rest.

Unfortunately… We have an “F” in the forecast for Thursday night so I will have to start preparing to bring the potted plants inside. Fortunately, I did not add many new plants in 2020. I am considering building maybe two new shelves for the other two bedrooms like I did in the back bedroom. Using tables just doesn’t cut it. The old Western Auto building is being torn down and a good friend is helping with that project. I am hoping I can get some boards from it to make the new shelves. I like using old lumber especially if there is some known history behind the boards…

So, I better end this post and start preparing to bring the plants inside. I probably won’t bring them inside until Thursday because the forecast might change. I noticed last night three different weather websites all had different temps predicted, anywhere from 32-34° F. Yesterday, one site said there would be an “F” but today it doesn’t say that… GEEZ! Today’s high is 86° which is probably going to set a record. Tomorrow’s low may also set a record… You never know especially this time of the year.

So, until next time, be safe, stay positive, give thanks and GET DIRTY as much as possible…

Trying Out Orange Glazed Chicken Thighs From In Dianes Kitchen

Orange Glazed Chicken Thighs. Recipe from In Dianes Kitchen.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. While I was reading a few posts from other bloggers I ran across one of Diane’s newest posts about Air Fryer Chicken Thighs. Then, I saw her recipe Air Fryer Chicken Thighs. While looking at that one, I saw her recipe titled Orange Glazed Chicken Thighs. Well, I must say that one caught my eye.

I must admit I didn’t do a whole lot of cooking over the summer because I was busy outside until it became too dark to see. By then it was almost 9 PM. Then, as it started getting dark earlier, I wanted to start cooking regular meals again but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to eat. It was similar to having writer’s block only I had a cooking block.

I decided I would give Diane’s recipe a try. Now, for those of you who don’t follow In Dianes Kitchen, I suggest you head over to her blog and see what she has been up to. If you are bored with the same old thing, I am sure there is a recipe on her site that will catch your eye.

 

YUMMYLICIOUS!

I am not going to write down the recipe because you can find it on Diane’s blog. It is very easy to prepare and I think you will like it. The only thing I changed was substituting chopped onions for the green onions. I didn’t see any point in buying a bunch of green opinions when the recipe only calls for four. I already had onions… On, and I used thighs with the bones and skin while her recipe calls for boneless skinless thighs.

Along with the Oranged Glazed Chicken Thighs, I had green beans, sweet corn, and okra which I cooked in the steamer. They are all from the garden…

The ‘Jing Orange’ Okra is delicious, by the way. It is unique to most other okra I have grown. The plants are fairly short compared to the other varieties I have grown. Some believe red okra more tender than green varieties after the pods get fairly long. Personally, I think when it is hot and the pods are growing very fast (GEEZ) the pods of any variety are fairly tender up to about 6″. Okra grows the fastest when the temps are hot but slow down as the temps cool. When the growth of the pods slows down, they seem to become tougher at a smaller size. At least that is what I am finding out. When it was hotter, even the 6″ or longer pods were very tender and seemed to get that big after 1-2 days. Well, that’s the way with most okra and you have to pick them every day. The ‘Jing Orange’ pods seemed to have smaller seeds, even when longer, until their growth rate slowed down. Their flavor is great and they didn’t seem as gooey as some. Well, they are still somewhat gooey but seem more solid. I have no idea how to really explain it… Maybe my taste buds are out of whack, but they seemed to taste like vanilla ice cream. It was like eating creamy warm ice cream that didn’t melt. 🙂 PLEASE don’t quote me on that. I will say I can neither confirm nor deny. 🙂

I have been working on another post for a week so I better get it finished. We had a warm spell, but now the wind has picked up and the temps are going to drop again. Soon, an “F” will be in the forecast and I will have to bring the potted plants inside for the winter. That means I will need to photograph and measure all the cactus and some of the succulents like I always do this time of the year. They like it because I am giving them some attention after being neglected all summer.

SO, until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, and GET DIRTY if you can.

To Use The Classic Editor…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well, maybe even better than before. Shortly after I wrote the last post I figured out what I need to do to do to get to the classic editor. Even though I had sent an email to support I didn’t check it until today and man was it long. Things had only changed a little and all I had to do was pay attention to what had changed. But, after you have been doing the same thing the same way for so long you don’t always notice one small, little detail…

Your dashboard may not even look like this. When I first started blogging in 2009 then moved and started a new blog in 2013 the dashboard looked similar to this. Then, when I started the current blog in January 2017 it was all different and blue… I got on a chat with support and they gave me a link to what I was used to. This is just part of the page and there are more features below the Feedback. If your dashboard looks different, I think you have to type https://yourblogname.wordpress.com/wp-admin/ and it will take you to this style dashboard.

 

Scroll down to “Posts” and click or click on “All Posts”… DO NOT CLICK ON “ADD NEW” OR IT WILL TAKE YOU THE NEW EDITOR.

 

After clicking you will see “Add New” with an arrow next to it. This is the small detail I had previously missed…

 

When you click on the arrow you are given the choice to click on “Block Editor” or “Classic Editor”.

 

There it is… The Classic Editor. Without having to upgrade to the business plan.

Thank goodness WordPress is meeting the needs of its seasoned bloggers and allowing us a choice instead of making us learn to use the new editor.

Ummm… The green dot is from Grammarly and not part of WordPress.

So, that’s how it works. I am working on a new post and all is well. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, be well and you know the rest…

Wildflower Walk: I Love You, I Hate You

Argiope aurantia (Black and Yellow Garden Spider).

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. It’s approaching fall and the temps are doing their silly fall dance. I thought I would take a walk to the back of the farm on Sunday afternoon since I haven’t been back there for a while. The hay was cut a while back so walking through the grass wasn’t as hard as it was before. Ummm… Just between you and me, I took the walk and the photos on September 20. 🙂

Sometimes It is hard to decide what title to give a post, but this one because easier as I walked. By the end of the walk I had it figured out. 

I walked around the back barn and noticed a Cocklebur. The plant itself wasn’t it great shape but that wasn’t what caught my eye. There was a HUGE Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) with a Praying Mantis in its web. The Praying Mantis was even longer than the spider. I haven’t seen any of these spiders around the house this summer which doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Truthfully, I have been busy and haven’t paid much attention to anything around the house.

From there I walked into the main hayfield…

Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin’s or Western Ironweed).

Most of the wildflowers have run their course but there are still several that are still going at it. Some regrow after they are cut and start flowering again. The milkweeds, even though they won’t flower again, are some of the first to spring back into action after they are cut and they start growing like their life depends on it.

Vernonia baldwinii, commonly known as Baldwin’s Ironweed or Western Ironweed, is another wildflower that grows back quickly. There are quite few small colonies scattered throughout the pastures and hayfields and the butterflies were very busy on their flowers. They wouldn’t sit stilling enough to get a photo, though.

Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin’s or Western Ironweed).

I uploaded the above photo on iNaturalist and it suggested it was Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed). The Missouri Ironweed has appressed bracts while Baldwin’s Ironweed has curved bracts.

 

Vernonia baldwinii (Western Ironweed).

Of course, I had to go back to the pasture with my camera and a magnifying glass to make sure. I have been taking photos of these ironwoods for several years and they are indeed Vernonia baldwinii… But just to be safe, I checked numerous colonies…

 

Vernonia with appressed bracts.

Of course, there had to be a couple of colonies with flowers with appressed bracts. So, could they be Vernonia missurica? Hmmm…

 

Conocephalus fasciatus (Slender Meadow Katydid).

Besides butterflies, there were numerous grasshoppers, beetles, and other small and odd looking creatures on the plants and flowers. The sun was pretty bright and the wind was blowing so I didn’t get many good bug photos. The above photo of the Slender Meadow Katydid (Conocephalus fasciatus) came out very good. This is a third common species of Katydids that I see here. It is pointing out this Ironweed has appressed bracts… Thanks for pointing that out, buddy.

I went on to the pond in the back pasture to see what else I could find…

 

Bidens aristosa (Bearded Beggarticks, etc.).

This time of the year many pastures are aglow with the golden-yellow flowers of Bidens aristosa. It has many common names including Bearded Beggarticks, Western Tickseed, Long-Bracted Beggarticks, Tickseed Beggarticks, Swamp marigold, and Yankee Lice. Although the flowers look amazing in mass colonies, the seed is what most of the common names indicate. The seed has a couple of small stiff stickers that stick to anything crazy enough to walk through the colony. Can you imagine how many seeds you would have to pull off your clothes? Since I am aware of this I avoid getting to close when there are seeds present. The biggest colony here on the farm is around the back pond, but I have seen them in the lower end of the south hayfield as well. They prefer damp soil, especially in low areas.

A friend of mine sent a photo a few weeks ago asking if I could identify the plants in his pasture. I went to have a look in person and the entire low area along the highway and his pasture was filled with Bidens aristosa. It was quite a sight… Well, his woods are where I took most of the wildflower photos this past spring. This area was standing in water at the time.

 

Penthorum sedoides (Ditch Stonecrop).

One of several interesting wildflowers on the farm, the Ditch Stonecrop (Penthorum sedoides) likes growing along one particular area of the back pond.

 

Penthorum sedoides (Ditch Stonecrop).

As usual, there were very few of its very odd-looking white flowers left but its fruit is also quite interesting.

 

Ludwigia alternifolia (Bushy Seedbox).

I wanted to get photos of the Bushy Seedbox (Ludwigia alternifolia) flowers earlier but I could never find the plants. For a while, I thought maybe they didn’t even come up. Fortunately, I was able to locate a small colony again but the wind was blowing so I couldn’t get good close-ups. The common name comes from the fruit being square like a box. Strange but true…

I always thought it strange the Bushy Seedbox is in the same genus as the Floating Primrose Willow (Ludwigia peploides) that grows in the ponds.

 

Eupatorium altissimum (Tall Thoroughwort).

There are plenty of the Eupatorium altissimum (Tall Thoroughwort) on the farm mainly closer to fence rows and areas that aren’t mowed. To me, its flowers look like Ageratum which is now Conoclinum… When I uploaded this photo on iNaturalist, a member disagreed and said it was Eupatorium serotinum (Late Boneset, Late Thoroughwort). He said to check the petioles… Hmmm… If I had have taken more photos like usual with I am identifying plants he wouldn’t have said that. The E. altissimum has narrower, lance-shaped leaves while E. serotinum has leaves that are broader at the petiole and taper toward the tip. I took photos of that species last fall growing along the fence behind the back yard.

Walking away from the pond, about halfway to the swamp…

Symphyotrichum sp.

Hmmm… There are multiple species in the Symphyotrichum genus that look so much ake I gave up on trying to tell them apart. Missouri Plants lists 14 species. Some have longer petals and some have shorter petals and some species are “variable”. They can have purplish or blueish flowers as well… They flower pretty much all summer right up until a hard “F”. There a lot of these on the farm and sometimes even the hayfields and pastures are full of them. Not just the hay fields here but other hayfields and pastures as well. This Aster species loves roadsides, fence rows, edges of pastures, and just about anywhere that can’t be mowed. They aren’t very showy because of their small flowers and to me, they just look like a weed. It is very bad to have a nice hayfield or pasture then all a sudden it gets covered with these.

I continued walking along the fence toward the southeast corner of the farm toward the swampy area. I had hoped to figure out what species of Panic Grass is growing in an area close to the electric fence that runs across the south end of the back pasture. But, no luck with that. It’s somewhat hard to explain this area and I suppose I should have taken a photo… The southeast corner is a grown-up mess that would like to get worse. Dad put up an electric fence between the boundary fence along the east side and hooked it up to the electric fence that runs along the trees between the back pasture and south hayfield… DEEP BREATH! Anyway, tree seedlings and blackberries just started taking over, and the deer continually ran through the fence. The largest Mullberry tree is also in this area with low limbs so moved the electric fence up past the tree. Limbs continually fall out of this tree and it was kind of a pain to always have to be repairing the fence.

 

Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed).

A few years ago, Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) covered the swampy area but no more. The Canary Grass has taken over the swamp but the Jewelweed, being an invasive survivor, has escaped and is growing mainly along the edge now. It is also trying its luck along the south edge of the front pasture. Many low wooded areas along creeks are a great environment for the Jewelweed. They have neat flowers, but they become quite invasive and can displace native species after a few years.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal).

One of the neatest wildflowers on the farm is the Prunella vulgaris commonly known as All-Heal or Common Selfheal. It doesn’t get very tall but it manages to grow among taller plants and grassy areas along the edge of the pasture, fence rows. I even noticed a small colony close to the back pond last year. They have neat flowers that seem to pop out anywhere on the inflorescence with no particular plan in mind. I found these for the first time last year and what a find they are.

I wanted to walk along the edge of the south hayfield but I had to find a place to cross the fence when I am not met with poison ivy or some kind of stick tights or beggarticks…

 

Silphium integrifolium (Wholeleaf Rosinweed).

Hmmm… Don’t see many of these here especially where I found it. Normally the Wholeleaf Rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium) is growing along the edge of the hayfield where it hasn’t been mowed but this one is right out in the grass. I found the first one after it had flowered a few years ago along the edge of the back pasture (where I just left). The plant looked like it had neat green flowers but come to find out the petals had already fallen off.

 

Silphium integrifolium (Wholeleaf Rosinweed).

The Silphium integrifolium is quite a majestic plant that can get quite tall and can be found growing along back roads along fences.

 

Silphium integrifolium (Wholeleaf Rosinweed).

Their flowers resemble small sunflowers… Well, once they become flowers.

 

Lonicera maackii (Amur or Bush Honeysuckle).

The Lonicera maackii (Amur or Bush Honeysuckle) flowers are all gone but their red fruits dot their stems now. This honeysuckle is not invasive and has stayed put in the same spot along the trees in the south hayfield since I have been here.

Walking west along the edge of the south hayfield where it becomes a mess of blackberry briars, Japanese Honeysuckle, and whatever has managed to overwhelm or survive the border between the old railroad right-of-way. In some areas, the blackberries are growing out into the hayfield.

I contacted a man from the Missouri Department of Conservation about the area to see what could be done. The old Rock Island Railroad is now a trail that is part of the state park system. There is at least 30 feet between the boundary and trail that is overgrown mainly with blackberry briars, vines, and small trees. It is quite a mess and would make a great native wildflower habitat. The man I emailed replied and said he would love to visit but because of the virus he wasn’t able to come until restrictions had been lifted. That was back in April so I think another email to him is in order.

 

Argiope aurantia (Black and Yellow Garden Spider).

Lady in waiting. There were two more Black and Yellow Garden Spiders fairly close to one another hanging around in the vegetation along the hayfield. They were HUGE! I really love seeing these spiders and they bring back memories of when I was a kid. I never will forget the one that was in a web under the eve of our old chicken house where we lived when I was a kid. I would catch big grasshoppers and throw them in the web and watch the spider pounce on them and twirl them up like a mummy.

 

Solidago sp. (Goldenrod).

There are still quite a few Goldenrods (Solidago sp.) flowering but many are also starting to go to seed. There are numerous species of Solidago in Missouri that are very similar so I haven’t ventured to figure out which one(s) are growing here. The Missouri Pants website list 13 species. I have noticed some differences between some of the colonies here but they may also be variable. Last year there was a HUGE colony next to one of the Mulberry trees in the front pasture where they hadn’t been before. This year they didn’t even come up… Weird.

 

Symphyotrichum sp.

This is another of the complex Symphyotrichum genus. This colony has purplish-pink flowers. Kind f hard to explain the color. They have kind of a bluish, purplish, pinkish color. GEEZ! Now, while most of these plants grow between 24-36″ tall, some can get much taller. Along the fence in the front pasture, I have seen them grow well over 6 feet tall. I would say 8 feet but you would think I am exaggerating… There is another genus with similar flowers, also beginning with an “S”, but I cannot think of it at the moment…

 

What a variety…

This photo is where I came up with the title “I Love You, I Hate You” and maybe should have been the first photo on the post. Probably my favorite wildflower in this photo is the white flowers of the Eupatorium altissimum. They really do look like white Ageratums. The worse is of course the seed of the Desmodium species or Beggarticks… Of course, the blackberry briars by themselves would keep anyone from diving in… It is just incredible how many species of plants you can name in some photos… I see at least five in this one. 🙂

 

Darn it!

I looked down at my pant legs and no matter how much I try to avoid it, I always manage to wind up with beggarticks… It’s not the ones you notice and not walk in that get you. It’s the ones you don’t see that wind up on your clothes.

I reached the end of the south hayfield journey and decided to walk along the fence in the front pasture. So, I went through the gate and around the fence to the south side of the front pasture that borders the trail. Again, the area between the fence and trail is a jungle of briars, vines, and small trees. There are big trees along the trail, of course, but it is the area between that you don’t want to walk in…

I walked along the fence then crossed the ditch that runs from the big pond and behind the smaller one. The ditch goes to a culvert that runs under the trail that goes to a ditch that drains into the park lake. When I crossed the ditch I saw them… I had seen them last year but I didn’t take their photos.

 

Humulus lupulus (Common Hops).

It is pretty funny to think I had contemplated buying hops seed to grow on a trellis a few years ago only to discover a vine growing in the trees over the fence. This is Humulus lupulus also known as Common Hops. It is pretty unmistakable when you come to think of it, but I couldn’t think of what it was because it never entered my mind that there were hops growing in the wild along the fence.

 

Humulus lupulus (Common Hops).

I uploaded the photos on iNaturalist and it gave me two choices for Humulus. One was this one and the other was the thorny species Humulus japonicus… The two also have different leaves.

Up a little bit from the hops is probably the most interesting plant on the farm and I was glad to see them again. I first identified this species in this same location in October 2018…

 

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard).

This is the awesomely amazing Verbesina virginica commonly known as White Crownbeard AND Frostweed. The name Frostweed comes from its peculiar frozen “flowers” that emerge from the stems during the first hard “F” (OK, freeze). I have only seen photos so I must remember to go and have a look when that dreaded time comes. It may very well be the highlight of the winter. It is actually caused as the water inside the stem freezes causing the stem to bust creating an icicle.

 

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard).

This species grows very tall and produces large clusters of white flowers. Its cousin, Verbesina alternifolia known as the Wingstem, produces very interesting yellow flowers. I photographed that species for the first time at a friend’s farm in September 2019. I found another colony along the Tebo Creek when on the wildflower hunt this past spring. I really need to go to Jay’s farm where I photographed their flowers last September or to Kevin’s woods along the creek (s) to see if I can get new photos of their flowers.

 

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard).

There were quite a few interesting critters on the White Crownbeard’s flowers.

 

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard).

One of the interesting features both Verbesina virginica and Verbesina alternifolia have in common is their unique winged stems. For some reason, I am amazed by weird stems…

 

Ancistrocerus campestris (species of Potter Wasp).

Several wasps were busy snacking on nearby asters. This particular wasp is Ancistrocerus campestris which is one of several species of Potter Wasps.

 

Clematis terniflora (Autumn Clematis).

The Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) has not gotten too out of hand which has surprised me. Please don’t quote me, but I think it is a neat vine. It has been in this same spot for several years without spreading that much…

 

Clematis terniflora (Autumn Clematis).

Well, it did spread a little… Now it is growing on the fence along the street where it gets more sun which apparently made the flowers fade sooner. The flowers are nice, but the fruiting phase is plain weird.

 

Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean or Trailing Fuzzy Bean).

Walking on up the fence in the front pasture I realized I missed the Strophostyles helvola flowering AGAIN. Its common name is Amberique Bean or Trailing Fuzzy Bean. I first noticed it last September when there were a few flowers and beans on dead stems just like now. I looked for it earlier in the summer but couldn’t find it. I need to tie a piece of material on the fence to mark its location…

 

Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean or Trailing Fuzzy Bean).

Maybe I should take some of the seeds and scatter them along the fence here and there. 🙂

 

Torillis arvensis/Torillis japonica (Japanese Hedge-Parsley).

While I don’t like the velcro-like seeds of Beggarticks, I really dread the seeds of the Hedge Parsley. There is somewhat a controversy of whether Torillis arvensis and Torillis japonica are the same species or distinct species and which one is the Upright Hedge Parsley or the Japanese Hedge-Parsley. Even whether or not to use a “-” between Hedge and Parsley. Plants of the World Online list both species as accepted for the moment… It doesn’t matter to me which is which I just try to avoid them this time of the year. I have hated getting the stick tights on my clothes ever since I was a little kid. I would come inside with the stick tights on my socks and throw them in the hamper like that. Mom complained about it because she had to remove the stick tights. Then she decided to teach me a lesson and she left them on my socks… GEEZ!!! After that, I picked them off myself but soon learned not to get them on my socks in the first place…

 

For crying out loud! Now I have stick tights on one leg and beggarticks on the other… Believe me, I have had them much worse. I am still learning to wait until I am finished walking before removing them.

 

Xanthium strumarium (Rough Cocklebur).

NORMALLY in the spring and during the summer when I see a Cocklebur I get rid of. However, with the pasture being leased for the past couple of years I have neglected to do that. When I had cows they kept the grass short and I could easily walk through the pasture and cut the thistles and pull up certain weeds. Some are easier to spray. BUT, with the pastures being used for hay now, walking through the tall grass isn’t so easy. I guess that is a pretty good reason for being neglectful. Reason or excuse, I still don’t like unwanted weeds. The difference between a weed and a wildflower, in my opinion, is that a wildflower has more than a few benefits to the environment, insects, not too invasive, doesn’t have seeds that stick to your pants, etc. A weed, although it may be a wildflower of sorts, produces massive amounts of seed and becomes invasive and hard to control, has awful fruit or seed that sick to everything, and a plant that I just don’t much benefit from it. What is a cocklebur good for? I have no idea and I don’t really care to do research to find out…

 

Eleusine indica (Goose Grass, Crowsfoot).

As I as getting ready to end my walk, I stumbled upon a patch of the DREADED Crowsfoot. Of the multitude of grass species growing on the farm and in the yard, Eleusine indica is the worse. It’s blades are very tough and its roots are firmly anchored into the soil. You can’t pull it up and when you mow it with a lawnmower you have to mow over it several times.

WHY DO WE HAVE TO CHANGE WHEN WE DON’T WANT TO?

Well, this post started out well even though it took a while to get it finished. When I started to finish up this afternoon I only had two more photos add. BUT I was greeted with something I had managed to escape from for quite a while… There it was happy to greet me and help with my post… The new block editor. I figured sooner or later I would have to accept things not looking like they always do when I am writing a post. I don’t want to figure it out… I don’t want Facebook to change the way it always looked worked for me either. Why don’t we have a choice? You would think with all the negative reviews and feedback they would get the hint and make the new look optional. Or at least make the old way optional.

You can tell where I added the photos with the new editor because the captions are different. GEEZ!!!! NOT FUNNY even though I had to laugh. 🙂

Well, I was at the end of this post anyway… Until next time, stay well, be safe, stay positive, always be thankful and GET DIRTY if you can.

 

 

 

IT WORKS! New Watermelon Test!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I went to Jay Wagler’s a few days ago since he grew a lot of watermelons as part of his business. We talked and laughed about the many ways people have to tell if watermelons are ripe. He laughed when I told him, “Yeah, but none of them work for ‘Black Diamond’. He said one of his neighbors grew ‘Black Diamond’ last year and he said they were really tough. He wasn’t sure, but he thought maybe he didn’t even get a ripe one. Then he gave me the way he used to tell if a watermelon is really ripe…

Making videos is kind of new for me so sometimes I forget what I intend to say. When he said to press down on the top of the watermelon, I asked him what if you press too hard. He got a laugh out of that but it is kind of like the scratch test. How hard do you scratch? The older a melon is the harder you have to scratch it, but it still leaves a mark. So, how hard do you press on a watermelon? Well, here’s the thing I forgot to mention since I had already found out the watermelon was ripe on Friday morning. This video was taken Friday evening and it didn’t make a sound then because it already did it that morning… The first two melons I pressed down on didn’t make a sound but the third one did. It didn’t hardly take any pressure at all. In fact, I was very surprised that I barely had to press down on it. I pushed harder on one because it didn’t make a sound, and when it did I think it was the inside of the rind that split instead of the flesh inside.

 

If you have grown watermelons before you may know I exaggerated somewhat when I sampled the melon and said how good it was. Truthfully, when you pick a watermelon and it has been in the hot sun all day it doesn’t taste all that great. That’s why when watermelon growers pick melons they let them sit in a cool place or in the shade so they will cool off. Once this watermelon was in the refrigerator overnight it was much sweeter.

‘Black Diamond’ is an heirloom variety with sweet pink flesh and is known for being called the king of the watermelons. At this moment I have to honestly say I have had much sweeter watermelons. This particular one weighed 26 pounds and I picked another one later that weighed 28. I gave half of this one to a friend and the bigger one to the neighbors across the street. The biggest one in the patch didn’t make a sound yet…

I made another video today to try and find one that would make the sound while recording. I walked around the entire patch pushing on melons and didn’t hear anything. It was very windy so maybe I just didn’t hear it. That would not be good because they may not do it the second time.

Linda, who has a blog titled “Life On A Colorado Farm”, said in a previous post’s comment how her grandfather taught her how to tell if a watermelon is ripe.“He taught me to hold the melon against my stomach and pat it. If the water sounds and feels like a rock skipping across a lake…the melon is good to eat!” Well, I couldn’t quite get that or even picture it in my head.  So, I asked her a little more about it . She replied, “Pick up the melon, try not to tear the vine, hold the melon close to your body on your stomach. Pat the melon sharply several times. If you can feel the water in the melon moving through the melon like ripples then it is ready to eat.” SO, I tried that with one of the ripe melons after I had picked it and you can actually feel the water in the melon vibrating… So, I guess I need to try that with one on the vine that isn’t ripe to see what it does. She said he taught her that trick when she was 8 or 9 and she is still using it. Linda has a great blog about her and her husband’s life on their Colorado farm (obviously). Thanks for the tip, Linda!

That’s it for this post! Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well and GET DIRTY if you can.

90 Days And 38 Pounds And Breaking Rules…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. So, how many rules can a ‘Black Diamond’ Watermelon break?

DAYS TO MATURITY

Hmmm… Information online says says “Black Diamond’s’ reach maturity from90-95 days. OK, so maybe I don’t know exactly when they came up but I know they were a few inches tall on June 7 because I have a photo to prove it…

SCRATCH TEST

Well, no one ever said how hard to scratch…

 

YELLOW/WHITE BELLY

Well… It has only been light green, and tonight it was kind of dark and I thought it was more yellow. One of the bigger melons like this one has a white belly, however, I know it isn’t as old as this one. The flower didn’t make a melon for a couple of weeks after the one here. Besides that, there are smaller melons with white and yellow bellies and they can’t possibly be ready.

DRIED TENDRILS

HA! Information online says when the tendrils are brown they are as ripe as they will get BUT… For some, including the ‘Black Diamond’, that could signal when they are beginning to ripen. The tendrils opposite the stems where the watermelons are attached have been brown for weeks and most of them have completely fallen off. One thing for sure, there is a lot of difference  and days between “ripe” and “beginning to ripen.”

WHAT ELSE?

A few days ago I was talking to this older guy at a store in town about the watermelons. He said, “Don’t you know how to tell if a watermelon is ripe?” I gave him a list and he gave me a rather disgusted look almost as if I were an idiot. He said, “When the end of it turns brown or black it is ripe.” He further said you can also tell by thumping on it. Well, for his information I have been thumping on watermelons all my life. Well, maybe not all my life… I had to learn how to walk first. OK, so maybe we can add that one to the rules.

THUMP TEST

Now, after watching everyone thump on watermelons since I was a kid, I always figured it was just the right thing to do. Tonight, I even thumped on the one that was rotting and it sounded like an old flat tire or maybe my stomach when I have eaten too much. Well, so did the one I just cut, and the bigger melons all sound like an old flat tire… When I actually get a ripe melon I will remember what it sounds like.

 

BLACK OR BROWN END

Wait until I see George! He will ask “Was it black?” I will say, “You said black OR brown. What if it is black and brown?”

SO, WHAT HAPPENED?