Sticky Fingers

Sunday, August 26, 2007

After the storm....

The "stumpery" was the area where there was the greatest damage to my cacti. Ended up with two Cereus broken, but I have cut them and will re-root the heads and expect the bases to branch so it's not all bad.

The Poor Man's Orchid had to be cut back totally since so many branches and limbs were twisted and damaged - hoping it will spring back soon.

More tomorrow. Will look at the backyard and some non-cactus issues.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Some Haworthias

I'm happy to report that we survived Hurricane Dean quite well with minimal damage, but I'm still in the process of uploading the photos I took during and after the hurricane, so until I have those ready for posting I thought I would go ahead and share these Haworthia and Aloe plants that I was planning to write about just before I was interrupted by Dean's approach.

I keep these fairly sheltered from the sun and rain and water regularly (kind of), but I rarely take the time to really look and see how they are doing. So I lifted out some of them into this saucer and they are now more exposed but also more accessible. I just need to watch out for sunburn.

A closer look at some of them:

Haworthia retusa geraldii - one of the gems I got at one of the CSSM meetings while I was in Boston last year - now twice the original size.

Haworthia obtusa - got a tiny offset from my aunt and it has flourished - hers has since perished so I should be preparing an offset to return to her. See why it's good to share plants??

Haworthia coarctata v coarctata - Do I even remember where I got this?? All I know is that it is a very slow grower for me, but it is still considerably bigger than when I got it, shows no signs of distress, and I have set one of the offsets to make a new plant.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I guess I'm ready

Within the next 12 hours we will be truly into storm conditions, and I guess I'm as ready as I can be. Well, not really - there are a couple more things to do around the house like seal the windows that might leak when the rain gets very heavy but that can be done in the morning.

My plants from seed have been "secured" - or at least moved out of harm's way.

These are the biggest ones:

The smaller ones in trays:

The babies less than a year old:

The taller plants in pots have been lain on their side out in the garden because they would fall over anyway. Everything else just has to tough it out where they normally are and I hope for the best.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Preparing for a hurricane

Tomorrow I will be moving all my exposed plants to the shelter of the verandah, as we prepare for Hurricane Dean to affect us starting early on Sunday. I'm mostly concerned about making sure the plants I grew from seed are okay, and any others I might consider to be delicate or special.

Apart from that, all there is to do is clear up anything that might become a missile in the wind, and batten down in the house while the storm passes. Hope there won't be too much damage, and there's still time for the storm to divert and not affect us so severely.

I have been taking photos of my plants from seed to update my Webshots page - it's more than I realised and taking a while. I suppose I just need to do a little at a time all the time and I'll be able to keep everything fairly up-to-date. I'm now up to just over 250 plants from seed that are now over two years old. At the rate I'm going, with the improved survival rate of my seedlings, I'll have quite a lot in another year or so.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I lost the bird's nest battle!

For months now, I have been doing battle with a bird on a regular basis, trying to keep my Euphorbia baioensis clear of twigs and other stuff being used to make a nest. Every time I would remove them, they would re-appear few days after.

Well, it seems as though she had no more time to wait (guess the eggs are due or something), so last weekend she worked for two days straight (in the pouring rain) so that when I got out in the garden on Saturday evening when the rain eased up, her nest was completed, with roof and all! I can't dismantle it now, after all her hard work.

I haven't been able to take her photo, but it seems to be a grass quit that has chosen this particular plant as her preferred abode. Hope she does not plan to make it permanent, because I will have to get rid of the nest after she has laid her eggs and had her babies. HH thinks it might be two birds at work, but I'm not sure - although it does look like a condo. I guess we will know soon enough.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It opened!

The Lobivia managed to open its flower since I moved it under the shade of the verandah awning. It seems to be an early morning flower that closes by early afternoon. or maybe that is because it has still been overcast and rainy.

Best photo I could get this morning without using the flash...

Wish I had an ID on this one, but I'll just consider it a hybrid unless otherwise advised. The flower on the parent plant is a lot brighter and redder than this.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The "stumpery"

It was a lot of work to clean up this area - the stumpery had become overgrown with Cissus cactiformis and the Opuntia was out of control! Even the Apsaragus fern was trying to take over the place.

The Kalanchoe pinnata/Bryophyllum pinnatum had been blooming and blooming and every time we waited for it to finish another flush would appear. Strangely enough, though, the Kalanchoe tubiflora has grown very tall but just will not bloom!

Eventually we could wait no more, and this task had to be done. Good thing, too, because now it is raining like crazy and it would have been more difficult to deal with it.

HH dropped an Opuntia pad on his foot while cutting and clearing, and suffered from a swollen foot for a few days. The area is now even cleaner than shown here, and hopefully we will figure out how to keep it like this - the Kalanchoe is hard to contain but we have to try. Also still need to cut back the Consolea, because it might blow over in a storm and one plant is already leaning on the fence.

Now that I can see the Myrtillocactus cactiformis and the Opuntia subulata, I realise how much they have grown, as well as the Cereus pernambucensis that I grew from seed.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Little Lobivia about to bloom

This is such a tiny plant - not even an inch across and it is about to give me a lovely red bloom. That is, of course, if the rain lets up over the weekend to give it a chance to open. Although if it opens just before a downpour, I'm sure it is doomed to destruction - will need to keep a close eye on it and try to get a photo.

The parent is terribly misshapen - long and etoliated but with lots of offsets around it. I am surprised to see this offset blooming already. I think I need to do something about the parent pot and get it back looking like a plant that is cared for - will probably have to cut off the original plant and reset in another pot, then let the babies all grow and clump up together.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Recent seedlings

I'm feeling good about my seedlings so far this year. For the most part, they have germinated well, and are growing quite well. Must be a combination of improved technique and conditions, good quality seed, and the new fertiliser that I have been using.

A quick look at some of them, mostly sowed between April and June this year:

Turbinicarpus pseudomacrochele

Mammillaria boolii

Gymnocactus beguinii

Mammillaria (Dolichothele) baumii

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sowing and grafting done

Today is a public holiday so I decided to be productive and get the grafting done as I had planned. Then I sowed some new seed and some old ones (although they might no longer be viable I just figured I should finish them and see if I get any results).

Three grafts done – Obregonia denegrii, Astrophytum asterias, and Copiapoa hypogea. No photos but will do so when I think they have actually bonded.

I sowed mostly Mammillaria (just one Gymnocalycium and one Frailea). I still have all the Notocactus seeds to sow, but some still have to be extracted from their pods and cleaned up and all that so I’m not quite ready with those. Maybe next weekend.

When I finished doing that, I decided that I want to prepare a presentation on “The Genus Mammillaria – Some examples from my garden” and then walked around selecting some of the plants that I would “feature” since I will want to actually take them along to the Horticultural Society meeting to go along with a Powerpoint presentation highlighting the different species, their similarities and differences. I think it will make an interesting talk.

So far I have decided to include Mammillaria albilanata, Mammillaria decipiens and subspecies, Mammillaria karwinskiana and subspecies, Mammillaria plumosa, Mammillaria magnimamma, Mammillaria longimamma, and Mammillaria prolifera. When it is drafted out I will figure out what else to add and how to present my information. I’m off to put some photos together!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Going to try some grafting

I think I will try to graft a couple of my seedlings tomorrow. I now have several Pereskiopsis so I will experiment with two of them and see how well it works out. Now I just have to choose which of my many seedlings will get the honour - maybe the last of my Coryphantha mix seedlings since the others have all passed away and this one is holding on but I'm so afraid to do much with it since I have little luck with these. Or maybe the Obregonia denegrii, Gymnocactus, Turbinicarpus, Glandulicactus - so many to choose from that I don't know will make it on their own.

I still have a lot of seed that I got from Jordi and need to sow those before they are no longer viable although I am really wondering where I will put so many plants of they all (or even half) survive. Last week I got the seed that Bill sent for me and I've been cleaning them out for the weekend so I will be starting those soon - maybe on Monday.

There are still so many species that I don't have but want to get and will be trying to grow from seed if I can get my hands on any. If I find that I am successful with my grafting experiment, then I will be able to work with some that I find difficult to keep alive while small seedlings.

Will keep you all updated in my progress with this.