From my gardens yesterday.
From my gardens yesterday.
Another selection of colorful cactus blooms (and Fibonacci spirals!) from my gardens today.
Ignore the weeds.
Clearing out weeds now that some of the days are warmer and unrainy is how I discovered some of these beauties. So out came the camera!
I thought I would share some pictures from my gardens this past week to cheer us up in these dystopian times we seem to be living in.
Of course, cactus are my specialty, and this is cactus-blooming season. I have included the name of the plant if I know it. The ones that are unnamed probably are species of Mammillaria, Rebutia, Sulcorebutia, and Notocactus since I know I have some of those in my gardens.
White flowers never have been my favorite colored flowers, so it’s obvious that I did not know the color of the flowers on this plant when I bought it. However, the flowers are gigantic and beautiful nonetheless.
Trichocereus grandiflorus (Thai hybrid)
There is a microclimate on my property in the corner where the garage attaches to the house. Temperatures are about 10-20°F lower than elsewhere. It’s so cool and shaded from our hot East San Diego County boondocks sun that I can grow geraniums, begonias, fuchsias, and ferns in that corner. Here are a couple of my geraniums that are starting to bloom.
I love mass plantings of flowering plants but at this stage of my life, I have decided to live without the room required for mass plantings. However, I do have fifteen Aloe striata planted in a row in front of a fence. They are awesome when they bloom with a billion orange flowers on top of tall stalks (inflorescences).
My Aloe striatas started throwing up inflorescences in early March. It takes a couple of weeks for them to reach height and start blooming. Then it takes three or four weeks for all the flowers to bloom and green dohickeys (fruit) to show up, providing that the bees and hummingbirds have been doing their jobs.
Thank you, bees and hummingbirds.
I went camping for three days last weekend in Anza-Borrego Desert in Southern California, perhaps the best ever camping trip I have been on.
Out of several hundred Ferocactus cylindraceus plants I saw in the desert, I found these two that clearly show spiraling flowers, rather unusual in cacti.
Go, Fibonacci, go!
When I moved out here in the East San Diego County boondocks at 682′ elevation in July 2017, I started landscaping with my favorite plants. Keep in mind that, at that time, I had 62 years of experience growing my favorite plants.
Well, two of my favorite plants, Agave attenuata and aeoniums, don’t like it out here. Agave attenuata simply doesn’t like it when it gets below 40°F, of which we have had several weeks, and aeoniums don’t like it when it gets too hot, of which we have had several weeks of 100°F+.
After trying to will them to live and look nice, I gave up in October 2019, and I’ve been replacing all of them with cacti, mostly Ferocactus.
One of my purposes in going desert camping was to get a good look at Ferocactus cylindraceus since it’s native to Southern California just 80 miles from me. I am officially in love (but don’t tell my husband).
I found the tallest ferocactus I had ever seen, standing six feet and six inches tall, four inches taller than me.
I’m the one in red.
Additionally, I found the clumpiest clump (with seven heads!) and the tallest clump.
And, to top things off, I found the desert rains and a desert rainbow!
When I was in Bakersfield, California, on February 11-12, 2020, high on my list of places to visit was the California Living Museum, or CALM for short. It specializes in California native fauna and flora.
Although the California Living Museum is only 14 acres with 250 animals representing 80 species, I can highly recommend it.
Keep in mind that I have been a member of zoos, arboretums, aquariums, and animal sanctuaries since I was 13 when my wise old grandmother got me a membership to the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. After that it was the San Antonio Zoo and the Houston Zoo. Also keep in mind that I have been a member of the San Diego Zoo since May 1993.
When I was searching for things to do in Bakersfield and found the California Living Museum, I immediately compared it to the San Diego Zoo at 99 acres, 3,700 animals, and 650 species, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park at 1,800 acres, 3,500+ animals, and 400+ species.
I had convinced myself that I would be disappointed, but I just cannot bear to miss a zoo, arboretum, or sanctuary, so off I went, thinking that since it specialized in California native flora and fauna, maybe I would see something that I had never seen before. At $10, the price was right, too!
I spent four hours at CALM, which breaks down to $2.50 per hour. That’s entertainment that doesn’t break the bank!
Following are some of my best pictures of CALM.
Seeing a saguaro (Carnegia gigantea) in the parking lot gave me great hope
and it only got better.
Northern Mojave Rattlesnake
Northern Pacific Rattlesnake
Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake
Sonoran Gopher Snake
Desert Bighorn Sheep
Nelson’s Antelope Squirrel
Western Scrub Jay
Did you notice that I got a picture of both a coyote and a roadrunner?
1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 – 8 – 13 – 21 – 34 – 55 – 89 – 144 ….
One of the cool things about spirals based on Fibonacci numbers (i.e., the golden spiral) is that in many plants, one can see both clockwise spirals and counterclockwise spirals.
The number of spirals in each direction in a mature plant almost always are consecutive Fibonacci numbers.
In the following picture of a mammillaria seen at the Los Angeles County Arboretum on February 13, 2020, there are 34 clockwise spirals and 21 counterclockwise spirals.
In 1966 when my wise old grandmother was helping her 11-year-old grandson (me!) set up his first company, she told me not to solicit comments, saying that if someone wanted to comment, they would. Unsolicited comments are the best.
So here are unsolicited comments about my book and presentation:
From my Facebook page
From the Facebook page for San Gabriel Valley Cactus & Succulent Society
Here is my updated “Nature’s Geometry in Succulents” speaking schedule. Come see me if I’m in your area!
Whenever I go to speak to a club, I always take plants, books, and shells to create a display about Nature’s Geometry. The plants and shells exhibit the golden spiral.
Here’s my display from the 2/13/20 meeting of the San Gabriel Valley Cactus & Succulent Society: