Time to Prepare

A few weeks to prepare for the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society 2012 Show and Sale.

March 31, 2012 9:00 AM to April 01, 2012 4:30 PM

Neighborhood: Downtown

Event Type: Festivals
Denver Botanic Gardens
909 York Street
Denver, CO 80206

Hopefully it’s warmer at the Denver Botanic Gardens by then because right now it’s only 37F with an overnight low of 28F.

Here’s the Botanic Gardens Kids Garden in warmer times.


Succulent Rolls

From the OC Register, we find out that you can abuse your succulents for months on end. Good to know!

There is more than one way to roll with succulents. You don’t need to plant them in the ground directly. Succulents can tolerate all kinds of situations in gift arrangements and bouquets where they’ll be happy for weeks before the fresh flowers fade or the plant outgrows its gifty environment.

In fact, the fleshier succulents with fat stems can live for months in floral foam. I made succulent centerpieces for a wedding a few years back, and the echeverias not only rooted in the foam, they lived a long time with water and an occasional feed.

Roses with the Echeverias and Kalanchoes? Never mix cut flowers with cut succulents. That’s my cutting rule to live by. Except for Proteas. And then only for Spring weddings. Winter weddings are another story, which I’ll tell you later when everyone else has left the party and it’s just you and me and a bottle of shiraz. Or vodka. Either one will work for my purposes in the winter wedding story.

Indian Cactus

At Nandi Hills, the large cacti have graffiti written on them…

An official of the horticultural department says that visitors are requested to not harm plants or uproot them, but young people in groups often cause damage to the plants.

Cactus Puppeteering

Here’s a cactus puppet called Kishkashta.


And now here’s another, more recent cactus figure.

Apparently there’s a controversy about these two friendly cactus characters.

Police Blotter

I love blotter paper. It’s very nice to use to blot things with rather than relying on tissues and such. Anyway, on to today’s Police Blotter as it relates to cactus and such.

From Ukiah, a small town far north in Northern California.

SPIT ON BY NEIGHBOR — Caller in the 300 block of South Harold Street reported at 2:19 p.m. Thursday that a neighbor spit on her while she was walking home.

No, not that one. Silly. This one:

$1 STOLEN FROM CAR — Caller in the 100 block of Freitas Street reported at 9:33 a.m. that his/her car was broken into, that $1 was stolen.

Again! No! Not that one. This one:

NEIGHBORS STOLE CACTUS — Caller in the 300 block of East Alder Street reported at 1:53 p.m. Wednesday that she heard her neighbors stealing her cactus from her yard the previous day. An officer took a report.

Somewhat mysterious. She heard her neighbors stealing her cactus and waited a day to call the police. Do you think she went directly to the neighbors first and asked for her cactus back? Do you think they refused and that’s why she went to the police? Do you think the cactus was a Mammillaria?

Reporter Error

I suppose this is why we don’t use common names at the nursery – it’s easy to get them wrong and they can be applied to different plants and it just is less precise and I think that common names are often just silly and more importantly are the stupid trademarked cultivar names like “Keystone Kopper” and “Daisy May” but that’s a story for a different day.

Here’s today’s story from Gannett:

My jade tree is Portulacaria afra, a native succulent of South Africa. It is perfect for adding a decidedly Asian flair to any setting indoors or out.

In case I have to spell this out, Jade Tree is Crassula ovata while this “Asian” plant from Africa actually has it’s own common name, Elephant Bush.

In the wild it is browsed from the top down by elephants in its homeland along the eastern Cape, north to Natal. This illustrates why this plant adapts so well to pruning as a bonsai specimen.

It also illustrates why it’s called Elephant Bush. And since common names vary, invariably, the local common name in South Africa for this plant is Spekboom in Afrikaans. Good to know!

Drug News

Action 4 News from the far southern Texas border region warns you to look for Meth in your Cactus shipments. Or if you don’t get truck shipments, then the grocery store would be a good place to check.

Two men are behind bars after authorities found more than 132 pounds of crystal meth hidden inside a prickly pear cactus shipment….

The truck was carrying 1,380 boxes of “nopales,” which are prickly pear cactus pads used for cooking…

Officials found 94 packages with 132.2 pounds of crystal meth hidden inside the produce.

Cactus Garden

The Cactus Garden Mobile Home Park in Tucson is quite lovely in these photos they have on their website. A nice deserty experience.

I wonder why they’re in the news recently?

Police say they seized more than 100 grams of cocaine on Wednesday night… at a residence in the Cactus Garden Trailer Court. The cocaine had a street value of more than $10,000…

Some $6,500 in cash was also seized


Well, are there other pretty pictures? Yes, why yes there are.

[Late Update from the Editor: We apologize for any misunderstandings from this post. The cocaine bust was from an entirely different trailer park. In an entirely different state. This was not from Tucson, Arizona, but from Powell, MN. Sorry for the confusion.]

[2nd Late (Later?) Update from the Editor: Once AGAIN I must apologize. The cocaine story was not from Minnesota at all. It was from Wyoming. There, that should set the record straight. Are we OK now?]

Cactus Art in L.A.

Barry Goldwater was a Senator from Arizona, so it makes sense that if he was sketching he might sketch a cactus. And now that cactus sketch is in a gallery show in Los Angeles. Anyone from the gallery have a picture they want to share with us?

Art Made by U.S. Senators
Every once in a while, Margo Leavin Gallery pulls out one of the most precious artworks in its vaults, Jeffrey Vallance’s Drawings and Statements by U.S. Senators. In 1978, Vallance sent letters to senators in office, telling them he was working on a project about art and government, and asking if they’d send a drawing to support his project. The result? A quirky, almost intimate portrait of our elected leaders. One senator sent a snowman drawn by his daughter; two assigned their staff members to draw the Capitol (Jake Garn’s staffer was particularly precise); Dick Stone sent an autographed photo. Jesse Helms took the opportunity to espouse on regionalism, Barry Goldwater drew a delightfully abstract cactus (with a caption, in case Vallance didn’t recognize it), and Ted Kennedy explained that he used to paint but hadn’t had even “a moment to make a sketch” since taking office. 812 N. Robertson Blvd.; through March 10. (310) 273-0603, margoleavingallery.com.

Miami Terrariums

Miami is in on the terrarium bandwagon.

Terrariums, miniature gardens enclosed in glass, are bigger than ever in home decor. And the current crop of indoor displays for your house or office feature an amazing selection of containers.

Everything from succulents to ferns and moss can be grown in these indoor gardens, which have been popular as far back as the 1800s. Elegant Victorian-style cases remain popular, but contemporary styles include delicate hanging orbs, hand-blown pitchers and simple jars.

Actually, the article was a wire service article, written in Kentucky, so it probably has been published in newspapers across the country and not just in the Miami Herald News Local Times of the Day.

Here, have a photo of one of our terrariums.

Wait that’s not really a terrarium at all. Here, try this one instead.

That’s better!

Ohio Succulents

In Ohio they recommend you plant your succulents in large stone troughs. That way you can put them on wheels and move them inside for the winter, so I presume, since the Aloes in their aren’t going to survive. Now the Sempervivums on the other hand…

This large stone trough features a number of different Sempervivum plants as well as small aloes.

Followup on the Local News From Grand Junction

Another article about Don Campbell! With video! From KJCT TV News Watch Eye Over Colorado.

Don Campbell founded the Chinle Cactus & Succulent Society on the Western Slope.

Now he’s been presented with the very first Mary Ann Heacock lifetime achievement award by the Colorado Cactus & Succulent Society for his contributions.

Now that is Awesome. And what about the promised video? You’ll have to click through the link to view it, and see Mr. Campbell Live on TV because they won’t let me embed their videos. Stupid KJCT TV News Watch Eye Over Colorado.

Local Man Makes Good Cactus

I think my winter slowdown is coming to an end. Maybe. For now. We’ll see. I guess I shouldn’t make any promises. Here, have some local news.

All around the country local communities have individuals who are the go-to people for cactus and succulents. They also make good subjects for the local newspaper, as long as the local newspaper still survives, which it still does in Grand Junction, CO.

Don Campbell among the many cacti he has grown at his house in Grand Junction.
Photo by Dean Humphrey

That is a very attractive looking collection. I’ll bet Mr. Campbell has lots of knowledge to share with you if you join the Grand Junction Cactus and Succulent Society and go to their monthly meetings too.


Aeonium “Sunburst”

We had a bit of a freeze last night. In fact, it’s still below freezing as the morning wakes up here at my house. You may be losing some leaves on these Aeoniums if you didn’t cover them, but then it depends on where you are in the Bay Area. In Berkeley and Oakland the  low temperature ranged last night between 29 and 34. In Orinda it dropped to 25. In SF it stayed above 35.

Holiday Mashup Video Blogging

(via PATSP)

Merry Christmas

Editor’s Note: Blogging will be light this week.

2nd Editor’s Note since blogging will be light this week: Happy New Year

Columbus, Indiana

The Columbus Republic has an article about succulent fountains from a writer in California. I liked this picture:

Layers of blooming succulents dress up a courtyard fountain. (SHNS photo courtesy Maureen Gilmer)

But I can’t find where this fountain is located. Any ideas?

It’s a lot of Echeverias and Graptopetalums with a few Crassulas thrown in for good measure. It looks like it’s been growing like this for a few years.

By the way, if you’ve never seen the architecture collection in Columbus, Indiana, then you’ve missed this gem.

Cat-on-a-Cactus Video Blogging

I always love cat-on-a-cactus videos. LOLCats should have a section just for these remarkably entertaining videos of cats on cactus. Now this is an especially valuable cat-on-a-cactus video since it’s a rare black cat.

Aeoniums Featured

Horticulture Week Magazine has featured Aeonium “Atropurpureum”. I suppose that makes it their Plant of the Week.

Whenever I talk to gardening groups or friends people never fail to mention how much they admire the ornamental value of Aeoniums. They belong to the family Crassulaceae, the genus contains about thirty species. These plants are a succulent with woody stems from the Canary Islands, Madeira, and North Africa.

Over the last three years I have really enjoyed propagating these plants from stem cuttings. I have tried propagating from leaf cuttings by nipping off the succulent leaves and simply inserting them into a John Innes number 1 compost, waiting for the leaves to take root. My brief trial at this stage has not yet been successful , but I will return to that method trying various techniques, temperatures, and growing mediums. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has had success using this method.

I can assure you that we never grow these from leaf cuttings. It’s never worked for us even when a leaf has some aerial roots started. Stem-cuttings rule.

Here’s a sad picture of the Aeonium parent plant in question from Hort Week.

It’s a beautiful plant, just a sad picture.

More From the SF Chronicle

Not only is our ad in today’s paper, but they featured Haworthias in the garden section. Now that’s the best news out of the Chronicle in years!

H. turgida v. pallidifolia Photo: Erle Nickel

Consisting of more than 100 species and subspecies, this hardy, small succulent boasts an impressive range of forms and a devoted following in the world of horticulture. For us novices, what makes haworthias such an attractive houseplant is that they are easy to care for and can take some direct morning sun but can also handle lower light conditions. And once you begin searching them out, it quickly becomes apparent why they have a devoted following – they are some of the coolest-looking succulents out there.

We use Haworthias as the basis of our entire shade-tolerant succulent section. We grow about 20 types although they often look very similar to each other when grown together and can be hard to tell apart.

Great Falls Sedums

Succulents in Montana? I suppose the sedums and sempervivums are a good fit, if it doesn’t get below 20 below.

Chris Hansen of Great Falls is a big fan of sedums. “A lot of sedums are just blooming now,” she said….

“I wonder how they’re going to handle 16 degrees,” she said.

The only way to know for sure is to try it out. Let some die and some survive and then you’ll know more for next year. And the year after that.

Tagged Cactus

It’s not pretty. Phoenix got tagged.

These saguaro cacti along the Pantano River Park Trail are likely to remain marred with graffiti for years. Any effort to remove the spray paint would further damage the plants. DOUG KREUTZ / ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Grocery News Update

Cactus at the grocery store? Now new and improved.

The cactus pear is the Rodney Dangerfield of the fruit world, beloved by immigrants from parts of Latin America and the Mediterranean basin but largely ignored by most consumers in the United States.

That may be changing, however, as the leading domestic cactus pear producer, Salinas-based D’Arrigo Bros., has introduced four new, greatly improved varieties — orange, red, purple and green — that are firmer, sweeter and juicier than the traditional variety it has marketed for the last 80 years.

The old style was pretty tasty; I don’t know about a new sweeter variety. Count me skeptical.

California is a Good Place to Grow Succulents

Aeoniums do pretty well in coastal California, don’t you think?

It’s a tiny space, but highly visible to everyone crossing the footbridge to the beach at Corona Del Mar, Calif.

“I want it to be colorful year-round,” Mom said. “So let’s use plants with powerful foliage colors so I never have to wait for flowers.”

Blackish-purple aeoniums provides opportunity for contrast in this tiny garden. Photo by Maureen Gilmer

Crime Bulletin

Cactus Thieves Caught in the Act!

Prosecutors in Mexico have charged two German citizens with wildlife trafficking after they were detained at Mexico City international airport with 543 cacti.

The attorney general’s office… said some of the species found in their four suitcases were considered endangered.

Never pull plants out of the wild, or try to take them out of a country without a proper permit. That would be the lesson, if there were a lesson to be learned, by The Case of the Cactus Smugglers.

Malta Cactus

Tucked away in a quiet street in Għaxaq is a treasure which Renè Zahra has nurtured for the past 60 years… into one of Malta’s richest collections…. (of) succulents and cacti… Photo: Jason Borg

It’s nice to keep busy with the same thing for over 60 years.

June 2023

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