On Facebook, something called the "Gardeners' Photo Challenge" has been making the rounds. The idea was to post five plant photos per day from your garden, for five days in a row. I thought I'd share some of my own favorite contributions here.
A few friends have posted on my Facebook page about a new video game, the purpose of which is to "take care of" fake electronic succulents. You can check it out here. (And lest you think you're off the hook, you can kill these digital plants by overwatering, too.)
Has anyone played this? It's kind of like that tamagotchi phenomenon, where people take care of electronic pets. I find this kind of thing half bizarre and half hilarious.
In general, I like banana slugs (or at least, I like them a lot better than other slugs). They remind me that I live in the redwoods, they provide UC Santa Cruz with a delightful mascot, and they add color to the backyard. I never find them on my succulents... until the other day, when I found not one, but two, of them conspiring to eat my crassula deceptor and my crassula columnella.
While it was admittedly a little gross to pick them off, at least they were unsubtle in their advances. I'll take these guys over mealy bugs any day of the week.
I took a few shots of some gorgeous blooms last time I went to the Stanford Arizona Garden. I find something new every time I go there!
I've gotten the following question twice in the past week, once on Facebook and once in a nursery: "I want to plant this succulent in full sun, but I'm not sure it can handle it. What do I do?" While not all succulents love full sun, most can get used to it if (a) they are properly inured and (b) you don't live somewhere that gets 120º heat.
I've used three main methods, and I'll list them here from most effective to least effective. Unfortunately, that means I'm also listing them from most time-consuming to least time-consuming, since like many things in life, time investment and quality of outcome are directly correlated.
The process of exposing a plant to more and more sun is known as "hardening" the plant. It can be really effective for bringing out the beautiful, redder hues of everything from haworthias to crassulas to echeverias. Just take it slowly, or you'll bring out the irreversible crispy brown hues instead. But even if this happens, don't lose heart! Burned leaves don't recover, but burned plants do. And new baby leaves that start while a plant is in full sun are likely to be fine in full sun. Case in point: two weeks ago, I inadvertently fried a gorgeous, double-headed echeveria dondo. The center rosettes were toast. I cleared out the brown yuckiness, and a week later, new rosettes had started to form in the center of the dead one. So far, they're in tact!