Friday Flower Fiesta (2-10-17)—Living stones

Friday Flower Fiesta

Many decades ago when I was but a youth of 11 and living with my wise old grandmother, she gave me a small area in her yard where I could have a garden. She had the most beautiful yard, except for that one area where she could get nothing to grow.

She delegated that area to me, and I went to work, turning it into a cactus rock garden. I had dry rivers, a dry lake, and lots of rocks.

I went with a friend and his parents to a huge cactus nursery almost a hundred miles away and came home with some unique cactus to plant in my little garden. I had no idea what kind of flowers, if any, those little plants would have.

The sun hit my little garden from about 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It was relentless, and hot. This was deep south Texas.

One day I came home from school at 3:30 and found my little cactus garden all abloom with flowers of all colors and sizes. Some of the smallest cactus plants had the biggest and brightest flowers.

Ever since that day I have been a fan of cactus and succulents.

At one point 18 years ago I had a 3,984-SF house on 1.83 acres of land with a 35,000-gallon pool and a 5,000-gallon spa. The whole place, inside and out, was an arboretum with over 500 different species of plants. When Jim and I no longer could physically take care of that property, and downsized, I decided to depend on the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, SeaWorld, San Diego Botanic Garden, and Balboa Park for my gardening fix. I have only a few plants at home now, all of them succulents so that Zoey the Cool Cat won’t get a cactus needle in her nose.

After all the rain we have had this year, my little succulents seem to be perking up, and yesterday one of them bloomed:

Succulent orange flower

That is a Lithops species, commonly known as living stones, pebble plants, mimicry plants, and flowering stones. They have only two thick leaves and no true stem, and the flower comes up between the leaves. They are small plants, usually no more than an inch above the soil surface. Very easy to grow with a unique appearance and beautiful flowers.

All succulents are cactus, but not all cactus are succulents. For the most part, succulents do not have those nasty thorns, which makes them that much more pleasant to grow. For more information and pictures of these little ones, see the Wikipedia entry on Lithops.

This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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4 thoughts on “Friday Flower Fiesta (2-10-17)—Living stones

  1. Darlene Jones

    So cool!!! Coming from the depths of Canadian winters, I have to say that I find cacti fascinating. I remember trying to grow (unsuccessfully) a tiny jade plant. Then, in Old Town San Diego, I was blown away by a hedge of jade plants that were taller than my 8 and 9 year-old kids.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I was always proud of my plants back in Texas. My Schefflera was 5 feet tall, my Norfolk Island Pine was 6 feet tall, and my jade plants were 1 foot tall and 1 foot wide. Then I got to San Diego. Scheffleras grew wild in the canyons and were 30 feet tall and blooming. Norfolk Island Pines also grew wild in the canyons and were as tall as 50 or 60 feet. Then those jade plants in Old Town and Balboa Park. Taller than me and also blooming. Sad and depressed I was, and happy, too!

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  2. europasicewolf

    What a beautiful plant 🙂 Positively brought spring into my space amongst the sleet and snow lasing around outside my window. And very thoughtful of you to consider the nose of the Cool Cat lol it would not have been good for her to have had a needle in her nose!! I was treated to a whole array of cacti of various shapes and sizes when I visited The Barbican Conservatory in London. It’s a serious brutalist archticture jungle out there so to find this beautiful area hidden amongst the concrete (great for photography though! I loved it. It was a recommended photography spot from a guy I met at a Photography Society I visited. We shared an interest in brutalist architecture and this didn’t disappoint, though it was very eerie at times! I think you’d have liked the conservatory, it was pretty big and still well hidden 🙂

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