Thursday, June 18, 2009

well, howdy strangers...

I'm afraid I haven't been a very good blogger lately.

The truck is back in the shop, and there's some family issues that I am most definitely not going to go into here, but I've been distracted to say the least.

Anyway, I decided that today I would take some personal time with my plants. Here's the Escobaria vivipara... bloomin like a darned fool. Some years it puts out blooms in masses of 15 to 20 at a time, and at other years, like this year, it puts out a few at a time every few days... I have no idea what triggers this behavior. Maybe it's got something to do with winter rain...

This is the Dallas Red crepe myrtle in the front yard...

This is the Notocactus leninghausii (Golden Ball) cactus in the back rock garden. The tag it came with said it was winter hardy to 20 degrees farenheight. I'm not too sure. What I'll probably do is get some clear plastic bowls to put over the top of the plants this winter if it looks like its going to get too cold...
And this is a Ferocactus latispinus ( Devil claw) cactus. Ditto on the 20 degrees on this one. I'm really not sure of this, because I can't find any online resources that say it's that hardy... again, clear plastic bowls may be put into service.

And this was marked as a Trichocereus grandifloris hybrid. Which means that its really an Echinopsis, since all the trichos were moved into that genus recently. Again, it's supposed to be hardy to 20, and again, I'm not sure...

This is a cholla. Not sure what species, but it's a 'start' from someone down the street, so I know it'll be fine.

And these are the napales in the tub, putting out new growth. They're definitely not winter hardy, so I'll have no qualms whatsoever about eating all the pads that come out... The varieagated grass is Stenotaphrum secundatum 'Variegatum' - in other words, common St. Augustine lawn grass except it's variegated. kind of cool... but not all St. Augustine grass varieties are winter hardy in Texas, so it's an experiment.

And that's about all for the moment.

Really, I just wanted to let everybody know that I'm still around. Haven't fell off the side of the planet yet.



  1. OMG! I'm so glad you are still alive...been waiting for you to show yourself!!!

    I love all your cactus and that variegated St. Augustine...I almost didn't think that could be what my yard is made of, but it really is (except mine is all green).

    I like your idea for the plastic bowls in the winter!

    I saw a truck that was driving around town today and it had a sign on back that read "Looking for new drivers"...I thought of you!

    TGIF tomorrow...have a great weekend too!

  2. The crepe myrtle is gorgeous! I would like to have your Escobaria- the flowers are great! A few mexican restaurant serve the naples and when I am on Aktins I always order them!

  3. Glad you're doing okay. I've not been too with it myself lately. Your plants are wonderful, and it's clear that they help you keep your chin up. We're here to do the same.

  4. Great photos. Everything looks so healthy and lush. It's good to know all is going, if not well, as least ok.
    I've been in a blog posting funk myself. Our temps are heating up and that's when I start getting a summer depression. In cold climates, people have seasonal affective disorder--and I get something similar in the summer. Unlike the SAD, special lights don't help! The only thing that does is to get out of town for 3 months!

  5. I live in zone 7 south/west of Waxahachie, and I put my 10 yr. old Ferocactus Latispinus outside (cause "they" said it was hardy to 20 degrees) and after a few days of slightly below freezing temps, it turned black! Sadly, it never recovered. I was bummed.
    Have you tried the clear plastic bowl trick before? I'd be interested to know if that would works.

  6. antvee... you don't seem to have a blog so I'll have to respond here and hope you get my answer...

    putting a bowl or somesuch over a plant (referred to as a cloche)and effectively making a mini-greenhouse, is fairly common in the spring to combat late frosts... The real problem may be our wet autumn and winter. Many cactus can take cold temps, but cannot take cold and wet at the same time. Ferocactus wislenzenii is much more likely to survive the winter in our area, but I haven't been able to find one locally.

  7. Claude, No, I don't have a blog, I live way out in the boonies and only have dial-up for access and I think I'd go nuts trying to publish a blog. It's bad enough trying to read other folk's blogs.
    I've been collecting cacti for 30 yrs and have some really large, really beautiful specimens, but only recently have i ventured into the the hardier cacti outside. I built a cinder block bed to start with and it has excellent drainage, with a gravel mulch, and I'm considering putting a "roof" on it so I can control mositure and sun. Right now it has a very hardy hedgehog, cholla and spineless puntia in it and a huge blue agave. The bed is in it's
    3rd. yr.
    I have several cacti that say they can go down to 20 degrees, but I'm afraid to put them out there after what happened to the ferocactis. I actually put it on a shelf, in front of a window in my 3-sided garden shed that's open on the south side, so it wasn't getting rained on at all. I guess you can say I sacrificed the poor guy, just to see if it really was hardy. I felt bad about killing it. Anyway, thanks for the tips. I was curious about the cloche method. The reason I ask is because I have a large aquarium that i could potentially set down over a few cacti and see if they'll make it thru the winter like that. Think it will work? I hate to sacrifice more of my collection.
    Thanks, v.

  8. auntvee... The aquarium might work, but you'd have to closely monitor it so that it doesn't get too hot... the winter sun here is pretty strong sometimes. For winter hardy cactus, I'd recomend Escobaria vivipara, Escobaria missouriensis (native to our area)Echinocactus texensis (also a native, and hardy way up to zone 6)

    This post that I did awhile ago, has plants which all survived last winter. Usually those tags that say hardy to 20 seem pretty accurate.

  9. Thank you very much! I'll check it out. I'll let you know if I decide to try the aquarium, but I'd be more satisfied going with selections that I know for sure are hardy in our area --rainy winter and all. I don't rally want to have to baby anything along. I'd just like to throw it out there and know it's gonna be just fine, ya know?
    I appreciate the suggestions and the link.
    Btw, I wish you could see my peruvian old man - he's 25 yrs. old and over 6 ft. tall but he's never bloomed. I'm gettin' old, I hope he blooms soon! haha