Tag Archives: succulent

Nature's Geometry: Succulents, by Russel Ray

Nature’s Geometry: Succulents

It looks like I finally am finished doing the final editing and design layout for Jeff Moore’s fourth book, Spiny Succulents. It only took all of February, March, April, May, and June!

Now that I’m finished, I am endeavoring to write my own book. Originally I was going to title it Nature’s Geometry: Flora. However, after doing a presentation on Nature’s Geometry: Succulents on June 22 for the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society in Escondido, California, I realized that I actually can make three books out of the Nature’s Geometry subject: Succulents, Flora, and Fauna. I could even exclude people from Fauna and do a fourth book on People & Their Creations.

I have started fifty books previously. Chapter 1 is complete in all of them. I just couldn’t decide where to go with Chapter 2, so I gave up. With Nature’s Geometry: Succulents, I don’t have that problem because my Powerpoint presentation for Palomar C&SS is my outline. So it’s just a matter of writing the text, which was my narration for the Powerpoint presentation, and formatting the text and pictures for an 8½” x 8½” square book.

I already created the cover, which I think will help me go forward. Looks like this:

Nature's Geometry: Succulents, by Russel Ray

I also have written the Dedication. Many readers probably know who I am dedicating the book to.

Dedication, Nature's Geometry: Succulents, by Russel Ray

I hope to have this book completed by August 1, which I think is possible since I have the Powerpoint presentation as my outline. I’m letting BookBaby do the publishing and printing because they can do print on demand, which means I don’t have to order many thousands of books with the subsequent shipping charge. I can order 250 softcover books with an ISBN, printing, and shipping, for just $11.76 per copy. The only reason I’m ordering that many is because I already know what my initial demand and my promotional give-away total is. One can order as few as 10 books or so, but the price per copy goes up, of course. This enterprise should keep me busy for a little while.

Of course, Olivia also is keeping me busy, or at least entertained with her photogenic antics.

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Nature’s Geometry: Flora—Who is Russel Ray?

Since January 28, 2019, I have been doing the final editing and design layout on a 350-page book titled Spiny Succulents: Euphorbias, cacti, and other sculptural succulents, and (mostly) spiny xerophytic plants. I finished it yesterday. It will be on sale in late October or early November, and is the fourth book by the author, Jeff Moore, on cacti and succulents. As with his first three books, there are lots of beautiful pictures, over 1,340 of them.

Seeing how easy it is to publish a book in today’s world—one can even get an ISBN for as low as $4.95—encouraged me to do what I have always wanted to do: write a book. I actually have two books in mind, Nature’s Geometry: Flora and Nature’s Geometry: Fauna. They basically will be picture books, with a little writing thrown in for good measure, and will allow me to combine a lifelong love of photography, nature, writing, and mathematics. My first task, then, was to ask myself, “Who is Russel and why does he get to write these two books?” In other words, “About the Author.” I sat down last night while watching the movie “Silent Hill” and wrote about Russel (that’s me!), a long diatribe that obviously will be edited for brevity for the final book. Following is what I came up with, still in first person:My Heartleaf Ivy

I was born in 1955 in Kingsville, Texas. After my dad died in 1961, mom moved us to northern Utah where her family was from. It was in Brigham City, Utah, where I became fascinated by nature. Our neighbor next door was Mrs. Larson, my first grade teacher. She had beautiful plants in her yard, and one day she gave me a “heartleaf ivy,” Philodendron cordatum. That started my fascination with plants.

My paternal grandmother adopted me in December 1965 and took me home to Kingsville. In September 1966, the principal of the grade school was going around to home rooms and asking for volunteers to learn photography. The school provided Nikon cameras, a darkroom, supplies for the darkroom, adult supervisors for the darkroom, and, most importantly, free entry to all school events, including football, baseball, basketball, and tennis (my four favorite sports). I was an easy sell, and that was my start in photography.

In September 1968, my first class in eighth grade was botany. My teacher, Mrs. Bajza, presented a slide show of many beautiful plants, all growing in her gardens. When I got home that afternoon, I asked my grandmother if I could have a small garden in her yard. I was Cooling condenserexpecting a loud and definitive, “NO!”. However, granddad and I had installed central heating and cooling earlier that year, and grandma gave me the 100-ft square section where the cooling condenser was located. If you’re familiar with cooling condensers, nothing had been growing around ours for about six months because of the hot air blowing from that condenser. I was depressed and went over to visit my best friend, Richard. He and his parents listened to me complain and invited me to go with them to the Rio Grande Valley the coming weekend to visit nurseries, which turned out to be specialized cactus and succulent nurseries. I was mesmerized. Richard’s parents allowed me to pick out plants that I liked and they bought them for me. I created a rock wall surrounding the cooling condenser to force the hot air up, allowing me to plant my cacti & succulents on the other side of the rock wall, protected from the hot condenser wind. Eventually the plants grew and bloomed, and that was the start of my fascination with cacti & succulents.

My math addiction came about because I had been good with numbers from a very early age. I was quite adept using a slide rule when I was in first grade.

Slide rule

In twelfth grade, I won a math competition in South Texas for my presentation, “Tips & Tricks To Help You With Math.” That allowed me to go to a statewide competition a few weeks later, where I came in second. First place was taken by a girl in twelfth grade in Dallas for her presentation, “Fibonacci Numbers & Nature.” Her presentation resulted in me combining my three loves of math, nature, and photography.

This book will explore nature’s geometry using math, specifically the golden ratio created by the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, but also the golden angle, the reverse golden angle, the golden rectangle, and the golden spiral, all derived from the Fibonacci number sequence.

Throughout these pages are pictures, most of them my pictures of plants in my collection, showing how the Fibonacci number sequence expressed itself in our cacti & succulents as the number of ribs on a gymnocalycium, the number of spines in a cactus areole, and, of course, the spirals prominently displayed in many species, most notably in the center of the sunflower (Helianthus) and the spiral aloe (Aloe polyphylla).

Sunflower

Aloe polyphylla - Spiral Aloe

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….stuck in the kitchen

I live in my own little world

If the weather is good in the morning, I pot or plant in the ground at least one plant. The big ones first. This morning I got quite a few planted in the ground. Here they are.

Cactus

Cactus

Cactus

Cactus

Trichocereus sp.

Mammillaria magnimamma

Mammillaria hahniana

Mammillaria pilcayensis

Oreocereus species

Notocactus leninghausii

Echinocereus reichenbachii v. albispinus

When I came in from the gardens, planning on working in the office, I found an unknown creature at the end of the hallway giving me the evil eye.

Zoey the Cool Cat

There was no way to get to the office, so I was stuck in the kitchen, but at least that’s where the margaritas were.

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Come to papa, mama!

I live in my own little world

Jim, Zoey the Cool Cat, and I moved into our new home in July 2017, which coincided with my retirement.

Retirement sucks.

So in my quest for things to do in my retirement years, I have gotten heavily involved in landscaping, especially with cacti and succulents. I have gotten involved with several cactus and succulent societies, of which the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society is my favorite.

At their monthly meetings, they provide an opportunity to bring in plants to show off — their “Brag Table.” Plants get categorized into Cactus or Succulent; their owners get categorized into Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced; and plants are awarded first place, second place, and third place in each plant category and each owner category.

Normally it takes something like 10 blue ribbons before one advances into the next category. There are exceptions, though. I’m an exception.

After just two months in the Novice category, I was asked to move to either Intermediate or Advanced. I moved to Intermediate, but after one month there, I moved myself to Advanced.

We had our monthly meeting yesterday, and I took in four plants to show off, one dish garden, two cacti, and one succulent. My dish garden took first place in the Advanced division:

Dish Garden, first place, advanced, Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society, November 2018

My Opuntia polyacantha var. erinacea, won first place in the Cactus, Advanced division:

Opuntia polyacantha var erinacea, first place, cactus, advanced, Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society, November 2018

My Sedum morganianum won third place in the Succulent, Advanced division:

Sedum morganianum, third place, succulent, advanced, Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society, November 2018

Sedum morganianum is a very common plant, and common plants rarely win anything, so this was a nice surprise. The judge did tell us that the staging was exceptional and that he really liked how the sedum trailed over the edges and down the sides.

My Mammillaria magnimamma is feeling sad and depressed because it did not win anything.

Mammillaria magnimamma

How can one discriminate against a plant with such a great name? Mammillaria magnimamma. Come to papa, mama!

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Macro photography – Raindrops, but not on roses

I live in my own little world

The fact that San Diego gets about eleven inches of rain each year is one of the reasons why I moved here in April 1993 from Texas, where eleven inches of rain sometimes was an afternoon thunderstorm.

Here in the East San Diego County boondocks, though, we get a little more rain. In fact, over two days in February this year, my rain gauge indicated that we got nine inches of rain. Certainly haven’t had to deal with that in 25 years.

There are only two good things about rain: my plants love it, and I love taking macro pictures of raindrops on those plants. Following are ten macro raindrop pictures from February 2018. The first picture won first place in the Photography category at the June 2018 show of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society. The last one (remember, there are ten pictures) might not be safe for work.

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

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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 

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Friday Flower Fiesta (4-17-15)

Friday Flower Fiesta

Ten Photographic Art stamps created from pictures of flowers taken this past week in San Diego County.

img_0408 yellow orchid stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0411 purple orchid stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0417 camelia purple white stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0434 wisteria purple stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0538 succulent stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0539 hibiscus yellow red stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0544 flower stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0545 flower stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0551 flower stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0558 coral tree flower stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift? Birthday? Graduation? Marriage? Anniversary? Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

Photographic Art logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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