Debra Lee Baldwin’s column in the LA Times features “ANNA GOESER’S process for creating the retro container gardens she calls Mojave bonsai.” She has a step by step procedure laid out for you to create adorable dioramas.
I’m telling you, it’s so easy, even you could try it out. And send me your photos of the finished product, please, since I’m too busy to try it myself right now. Maybe around the holidays…
Here’s an example of one of the steps, so you can see for yourself how easy it is.
4. Buy three to five small cactuses. Leaving them in their pots, arrange the cactuses as you like. To make the plants appear larger — as in a perspective drawing — position them toward the back of the scene you are creating, so there is ample foreground.
And I like this one too:
7. Position accessories to suggest a desert experience, such as a car trip.
How it works: Extracts of prickly pear cactus have been shown by one U.S. study to alleviate the symptoms of hangovers, though it’s not clear why.
Tester’s verdict: Eimear O’Hagan, 26, from Belfast, says: “Waking with a dry mouth and a sore head, I ate a few pickled cactus slices and went back to sleep.
“They were OK if you like pickled food, but had no impact on the hangover. I had acid reflux later on.”
Expert’s verdict: “Extract of cactus is rich in antioxidants that can neutralise damage caused by free radical cells. Better taken before drinking not afterwards, so the body’s defences are primed.”
Is there any science behind this prickly theory? Why thank you for asking, in fact, yes there is.
A study published in the June 28th, 2004 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who took a dietary supplement containing extracts of a species of prickly pear cactus before consuming alcohol, had reduced symptoms of alcohol hangover compared to individuals who drank but took placebo.
So there you go. You have to take it ahead of time, but it works! And it appears that an extract works better than a pickled cactus. Sorry I forgot to tell you about this yesterday before you got drunk.
Life on the Balcony‘s Fern Richardson has a book out, Small Space Container Gardening. And judging from this video she really does have just a small space to garden. So small that she’s planting herbs underneath succulents. Interesting!
Where can you get the book? We carry it. Not that you have to come all the way down to our store on a rainy day to buy a book, but you could.
We prefer to water less often, but with more water. Drench the cactus and let the water drain away, never sitting in water. We water cactus only every 2 to 4 weeks. That’s what we do. But then, we don’t live in Australia where the water drains from the bowl counterclockwise.
Tools and Materials Needed:
(long list deleted in this excerpt. click through for full info.)
Step 1 – Collect Seeds
Step 2 – Remove the Seeds from the Pods
Step 3 – Soak the Seeds
Step 4 – Prepare the Potting Soil
Step 5 – Set the Seeds
Step 6 – Distribute the Seeds
Step 7 – Wait for Germination
Step 8 – Transfer to Pots
Step 9 – Final Positioning
Wow, that’s a lot to keep track of. I wonder how the plants do all that themselves in the wild?
Here’s a picture of a barrel cactus seed pods.
You can see the “seed pod,” also known as the fruit, in the back to the left behind the bloom. I was looking through all my ferocactus photos, and that’s the only one I can find with a fruit in the shot. I normally focus on the flowers or the spines.
The garden now closes for one month each autumn while workers cover the particularly frost- and rain-sensitive plants as protection against a cold snap.
“It’s worth it,” Kemble says, “to grow all of these wonderful plants.”
And if a bad frost comes, as it did in 1972 and 1990, you accept your losses and move on….
Protecting your plants from frost damage is very important. The Ruth Bancroft Garden puts many specimens under plastic-covered wooden frames from November through March. The clear plastic lets light in and helps trap warm air inside. The bottom of the cover is raised above ground to allow for air circulation. Because the garden has so many plants, the covers are routinely placed, but in a home garden, covers can be added only in a threat of frost or extremely cold temperatures.
Make your very own succulent container. Learn from an expert how to plant an attractive container of these wonderful plants. All materials will be provided including a nice selection of succulent plants suitable for a mixed container, pots, special soil mix, plant labels and top dressing. Aftercare instructions will be included along with information about how to propagate succulents and how to exhibit your container at the 2013 Boston Flower & Garden Show!
<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1812&entry_id=1631" title="http://www.homebysunset.com/home_by_sunset/2008/01/get-more-than-s.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.homebysunset.com/home_by_sunset/2008/01/get-more-than-s.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Sunset Magazine</a> traveled to San Francisco to help a homeowner build a light well for a cactus, becuase you know, there’s never enough sun in the city and light wells will help your cactus to thrive. If you can afford the $7200, I say it is a wise investment for your cactus.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">It took $7,200 and about 10 full days to complete. Although the cost was high, the rewards are great….<br />
A handmade bench serves as a… place to sit and admire the… cactus, and assorted succulents.</span><br /></div><br />I may have edited that one a bit much. But you’ll never know unless you click through the link.<br /><br />
Keith sent me this photo of a Ferocactus pottsi and a carnivorous dinosaur and a fossil. He says this is the proper way to use a fossil in a cactus pot. Did he come up with this himself? Or did a customer ask him to repot this cactus along with adding the two toys?
I shall never know for sure. It is a mystery.
I wonder if that is a mammal fossil? It is a mystery.
No, I don’t understand why someone put a cactus costume on their adorable pet pygmy hedgehog.
I don’t understand!!
Even more amazing is the whole thing is at a site for DIY and they give instructions on how to make your own cactus costume for your pet pygmy hedgehog. Awesome is not the right word I’m looking for, but it will have to do for now.
Just so you know, these cute little animals are illegal in California. I know this because I had one back before I lived in California and I was sad to learn I couldn’t have another pet pygmy hedgehog after we moved here. They are the cutest pet in the whole wide world ever, but nocturnal so not the greatest pet ever. Plus they eat mealworms which was OK since we also had geckos at the time.
I know what you’re thinking – you never know what you will find on the Cactus Blog! Woohoo!
CactusBlog reader Elizabeth saw these cactus cupcakes and for some reason thought of us! They do look delicious.
The secret ingredient is a lot of frosting.
And the Alanna Jones Mann website this is from comes with a full, complete and fully daunting set of DIY instructions so you can make these yourself.
As I mentioned on Wednesday, I took inspiration from a recent gardening project to make a variety of house plant cupcakes. And it resulted in a whole bunch of cacti cupcake cuteness! Click below to check out a tutorial for these delectable edible house plants
I don’t give a lot of gardening advice on this blog, unless someone asks a question directly. But here you go.
If you like to take cuttings of your plants and propagate new ones then you should know that we’re taking our final cactus cuts of the year so they’ll be rooted before winter – any later than this and they’ll rot away to nothing.
Not much going on in the news. People are focused on other things this time of year. Maybe a christmas cactus or two, but that’s about it. Well, let’s look a little deeper and see if we can’t find something in news.
Well, now this is interesting. Giant Jeans Parlor has turned a breadpan into a succulent trough. I’ll bet they drilled holes in the bottom, and then you’ll never be able to use it for bread again. They do have instructions along with this nice picture I’m borrowing:
Now it looks like they have an Aloe, a Anacampseros, and a Fenestraria (aka Baby Toes) in there. I’d worry about the baby toes getting too much water, but with a little careful care, it should do well.
Roots: Cactus roots help to gather and preserve water in several ways. In some cacti, shallow, extensive root systems spread laterally away from the plant (e.g. some prickly pear roots spread 10 to 15 feet away). In brief showers which only wet a few inches of soil, the shallow roots help the plant maximize water intake from a large area.
Cactus roots also change characteristics as the water supply fluctuates. After a rainfall, existing dehydrated roots become more water conductive and new rain roots are formed to help soak up water. In times of drought, the rain roots shrivel and fall off and the existing roots dehydrate. The shrinkage of the existing roots creates an air gap that helps to prevent water in the roots from escaping back to the soil. A corky layer on the roots also helps to prevent water loss.
Now that may be true in the desert, but we have found in a densely planted garden where there is water down in the (fast-draining) soil (that you’ve added or amended in your garden), the roots can be deeper. Competition between adjacent plants will cause roots to try deeper than wider, and when they find water down there, which they won’t in the desert but they will in your garden, they’ll want to stay down there.
In fact, we notice that they will go down until they hit the water table in winter, and then they’ll rot off back up to the drier parts of the soil, which also tends to match up with the depth to which you amended your soil to make it faster draining.
This will then cause them to spend the early part of spring growing new roots before they start growing new branches. Every year this cycle repeats, and if you haven’t amended your soil deep enough, then eventually the cactus will fail.
The Lesson: make sure you have amended your soil to be fast draining deep enough that the roots will have plenty of depth to establish and survive the winters. For larger cactus, we recommend at least 2 feet of depth, and don’t crowd them too close to each other either. Give the roots room to grow above the winter water table.
We were not having a lot of success with our pitcher plants this year so Hap tested the water. In the past, EBMUD’s water was nicely neutral, but this year it has become a lot more alkaline so we’ve had to start correcting the water.
Everyone recommends distilled water for carnivorous plants, and we agree.
But we’re using a teaspoon of vinegar in a gallon of regular water at the nursery since it’s cheaper. And at home we’re using our refrigerated drinking water – we put lemon slices in the water and that works too!
Nepenthes alata growing a new baby pitcher, finally. It’s only about an inch right now, but it will eventually get to 12″.
Apparently gardeners in Ohio are lazy because the Plain Dealer recommends you replace all your difficult to grow plants with the easy to grow Sansevieria.
One reason for the drop in popularity of house plants is that so many varieties were just too difficult or demanding to grow….
Probably the easiest house plant to grow is the… extremely hardy houseplant is sansevieria….
Low light, low water – easy is right.
Size-wise there are two types, low-growing Bird’s Nest (Sansevieria trifasciata) that is perfect for a desk or table, or the old-fashioned taller varieties that look spectacular in an 8-inch or larger pot….
The taller types are definitely old-fashioned, but the bird’s nest types can actually be very modern and quite appropriate even for your well-designed home.
A study by NASA found that it is one of the best plants for improving indoor air quality by passively absorbing toxins such as nitrogen oxides and formaldehyde.
NASA got in the act studying sansevierias too? Nice!
Tillandsia stricta “Green” is huge. And it has purple blooms! What more could you want? You could want for nothing more. I assure you.
People ask us how do you take care of airplants? And I tell them to keep them in bright indirect light, a little direct sun is OK but not too much. Mist 2-3 times per week, or dunk in water once per week – I usually run my under a faucet weekly and then shake it off. Always make sure they dry out within about 4 hours of watering them or they might rot. And finally you should add nutrients to the water once per month. We use an organic Liquid Seaweed at low strength.
Cotyledon orbiculata v. spuria has gorgeous flowers this time of year. Wow!
And then there’s the pest problem. Aphids. Don’t scroll down if you don’t want to see the gruesome little buggies in closeup. But just so you know, these are on a different plant than the one above.
As it is, aphids love succulent blooms, especially those in the Crassula Family (Crassulaceae) like Cotyledons and Echeverias. Often when the blooms get aphids I will just cut the bloom stalk off and be done with it. In the case of the flowers below, though, they are too pretty for that and too early in the bloom cycle, so we dipped a soft paintbrush in rubbing alcohol and very carefully wiped them off the flowers. Then we sprayed the stalk and area below the flowers with neem oil to try to prevent them from coming back. Good luck!
The Amateur’s Digest has some interesting information about cacti and succulents. For instance, here we have an article about Ceraria namaquensis, a plant that we grow but have had trouble rooting, and right there is some advice that we might have to try out.
This year I have been using commercial peat blocks for rooting more difficult items such as rarer euphorbias, Madagascan thorn bushes and stems of Pachypodium succulentum. While I was at it I put some of the ‘unrootable’ stems of C. namaquensis into the blocks. The cuttings survived well in the moist peat blocks and after about three months began to root and grow.
The Arizona Republic features DIY home renovations.
The cactus wall-hanging is made of leftover wood-flooring slats that Michelle attached. She covered the whole piece in contact paper. Then she projected the cactus image onto the piece, drew around the image with a pencil and used an X-Acto knife to cut around the design. She peeled off the background and painted it white, then peeled off the cactus design. She figures she spent less than $10 on the piece. Michael McNamara / The Republic
Seems easy enough. If you have a nice branching cholla that you can put a strong light behind to get a shadow on a piece of paper.
Let that be a lesson to you all to not get Euphorbia sap in your eye. Don’t get it on your hands and if you do wash your hands thoroughly and immediately. Don’t wait ’til later because you will have forgotten long enough to touch your eye and then look at what happens.