Category Archives: Flora

Four new members to the family

I live in my own little world

Yesterday at the Holiday Party of the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society, I was rewarded for all my volunteer work and plant showings with four free plants.

One for outstanding volunteer,

one for outstanding plant exhibitor throughout the year,

one for outstanding plant exhibitor at the Fall Show & Sale in October, and

one as a paid member.

As if I needed more plants.

Alas…..

There were over 100 plants to choose from. Here are the ones I chose to come live with me, Jim, and Zoey the Cool Cat:

Sanseveria

Gasteria 'gGeen Ice'

Mangave 'Bloodspot'

Crassula muscosa 'Big Form'

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Exhibiting cacti & succulents at the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Show

I live in my own little world

My last post was on October 21. It’s been a long three weeks, most of it having to do with gardening.

The big event was October 27-29. I was getting ready for the Fall Show & Sale for the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society.

These shows are heavy on succulents and short on cacti. The main reason for that is because cacti are difficult to move with all their spines & thorns pointing every which way. Not paying attention, not being careful, can result in some serious and painful skin punctures.

My intent was to exhibit a lot of cacti to make sure that the cactus side of the show room was full. I spent the month leading up to the event cleaning and repotting show-worthy cacti.

I was hoping to enter 50 cactus specimens. Ultimately, I only entered 44 exhibits – 31 were in the Cactus category, twelve in the Succulent category, and one in the Dish Garden category. My Dish Garden, though, had five thorny cacti in it; of the twelve in the Succulent category, six had spines; and of the 31 in the Cactus category, one did not have spines. So it’s not always about those pokey pokey things. My intent, though, was to fill up the Cactus category, and I definitely helped do that.

I exhibit in the Advanced class now, and won….
     12 first places,
          9 second places, and
               13 thirds.

Ten of my plants weren’t appreciated by the judges. Sad and depressed those plants are.

My Mammillaria parkinsonii, below, received one of the two Judge’s Choice awards, and tied for second for the People’s Choice award.

Mammillaria parkinsonii, Judge's Choice & People's Choice second place

…..was awarded the Granddaddy of them all, BEST IN SHOW, my Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’.

Crassula ovata 'Gollum' Best In Show

I created a video of all the plants I exhibited in the show, although I didn’t find out about the second place People’s Choice until recently, so although it’s in the video with its Judge’s Choice award, it’s not in the video with its People’s Choice second place.

Here’s the video:

Russel’s 44 exhibits 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Owee

I live in my own little world

Back in 1966 when I was under the tutelage of my wise old grandmother, I had a little cactus garden. Nothing but cactus. Little plants with spines and thorns. Lots of owees did I get. They were painful, but nothing that a teenager couldn’t handle. If I could handle grandmother whippings with an oleander switch, heck, I could handle just about anything.

Fast forward 50 years and the closest I get to those little plants with those spines and thorns is about four inches away but protected by the lens of my camera.

Last Friday I went to the Super Succulents Celebration hosted by Waterwise Botanicals in Bonsall, about 40 miles north of where I live.

Since waterwise plants include cactus, there were a lot of cactus on the grounds of this huge plant nursery comprising over twenty not-flat acres. Speaking from experience, don’t try to walk all those acres at one time.

Having been there before, I knew to take my Canon 760D camera and all three of my lenses, a Tamron 18-300m, a Tamron 90mm macro, and a Tamron 150-600mm. There were so many plants in bloom that all I used was my macro lens.

Here are four of my favorite cactus spine and thorn macro pictures:

Macro picture of cactus thorns

Macro picture of cactus thorns

Macro picture of cactus thorns

Macro picture of cactus thorns

If you look closely at the third picture, you can see a few translucent circles at the bottom of that spine. Those are raindrops. It had rained earlier that day, so I got lots of extraordinary macro pictures of raindrops on cactus and succulents. I will share them in my next post.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Meet “Cactus Pete,” Joe, Nick, Sheen, Ryan, and Shaun

I live in my own little world

Yesterday I was out working in the gardens, something I try to do every day. Getting out of the house, out from behind the computer, and playing in the dirt with the worms, with bees and birds twittering about, is very therapeutic for me. Keeps me sane.

Two nine-year-old boys stopped by yesterday. They are expert skateboarders and came roaring down the steep street in front of my home, coming to a complete stop right at my driveway. I have watched them for eight months, since I moved in, and almost—almost, I say!—wished I was nine years old again without a care in the world other than being the best skateboarder in the neighborhood.

I was informed that their mom had given them permission to talk to me. That’s nice. It’s too bad that the world is in such bad shape that we have to be wary of anyone and everyone.

So they started talking. Asking questions. Brains and mouths going a hundred miles an hour. I was tired just talking with them.

They asked if I would give them a tour of my gardens. Absolutely! Of course, that would take them to the back and one side that were out of the parental eye of mom, so I waved at her as we were talking to let her know that things were alright. Hopefully.

They were intrigued with Wildlife Corner where we saw several ground squirrels, rabbits, and lizards, but what really got their attention was when I showed them how RR Bee Rescue Service rescued drowning bees from the Wildlife Corner pond. They asked if they could rescue some bees. Absolutely! I think the three of us rescued about twenty bees in fifteen minutes. They really had a good time, and hopefully I taught them the value of life, even the value of a little bee’s life.

We walked around my cactus & succulent gardens with them asking questions about individual plants that caught their attention, like this one, which was their favorite:

Euphorbia ferox

They asked me if I named my plants. Well, uh, no. I had never thought about naming them. They asked me if they could name some. Absolutely! So the little fellow above is officially “Cactus Pete.”

One of my latest creations is what I call my Cactus Condominium Complex (CCC). Looks like this:

Cactus Condominium Complex

Of course, they asked me about names, so I told them:

Front row – Stenocereus hollianus cristata, Espostoa guentheri
Middle – Mammilaria pitcayensis
Back row – Mammilaria elongata ‘Copper King’ cristata, Cereus peruvianus monstrose

“No, no, no! We mean real names.” I said that I had not named them and asked if they would like to. Well, you know the answer to that question, so here are their real names:

Front row – Joe, Nick
Middle – Sheen
Back row – Ryan, Shaun

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Picture of the Moment—Itsy bitsy, teeny tiny, little, & beautiful

Picture of the Moment

It’s amazing how having a great macro lens for one’s camera causes one to see things that one has never seen before, like these itsy bitsy teeny tiny little beautiful flowers.

Itsy bitsy teeny tiny little beautiful flowers

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Agave utiliensii

Picture of the Moment—The very rare Agave utiliensii

Picture of the Moment

The city of San Diego, as well as its suburbs, love to paint their streetside utility boxes.

I’m not complaining.

I love ’em, and I’m always on the lookout for the coolest of the cool ones.

Utility boxes are usually at street corners or in heavily trafficked areas where there is no parking so they often are difficult to get a picture of.

I have been known, however, to go around the block several times looking for parking so I can get out and take a picture.

Here’s one of my favorites from this past weekend:

Agave utiliensii

I believe it’s the very rare Agave utiliensii, not normally seen in cultivation.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post