I love Stanford's Arizona garden. Every time I go there, I notice something different. It's possible that they're planting different things all the time... and I suppose it's also possible that I'm only semi-observant. Either way, I snapped some cool pictures. Enjoy!
My dear succ-ers, I have been wanting to share these three plants with you for quite a while, but didn't get around to taking pictures of all of them until a couple of days ago (plus, I wanted to share them all in one go, so I had to wait for the second one to bloom).
As some of you know, I have a bit of a pet interest in growing plants from seed, various propagation methods, and hybridization. I also tried my hand at grafting, and some of the results have been awesome.
The plant at left is one of my favorites. It's so colorful and bizarre that it practically looks fake! I took a variegated haworthia cymbiformis and sliced off the uppermost leaves with a scalpel. Then I took an echinocereus rubispinus that I'd taken the roots off of due to root mealybug (which is basically impossible to get rid of, so you're best off just getting rid of the soil and affected roots). But instead of rooting my gorgeous pink cactus in dry soil, I set it on the (dried) incision I'd made at the top of the haworthia. Following the same procedures people use to graft cacti onto cacti, I used a piece of string to lightly secure the cactus onto the haworthia and left it for several weeks. Then I cut off the string, tested the echinocereus, and--presto!--the roots had grown into the haworthia. It's now been two and a half months and it's still going strong.
I can't take credit for "making" this second plant, though. I bought it a few months ago at a nursery in Half Moon Bay. It was simply labeled "non-monocarpic agave, variegated." I bought it--even at $30!--because I thought all agaves were monocarpic (meaning that they only bloom once, then die, like sempervivums do, leaving numerous baby succs in their wake), and I wanted to see what the blooms of a non-monocarpic agave looked like. Well, yesterday I got to find out! The blossoms are pink and look nothing like other agave blossoms. In fact, they look more like echeveria blossoms. I was assuming that it was an agave attenuata, given its shape and the lack of spines. But the flowers make me think that maybe it's actually a yucca doing a really good agave impression. Any ideas? Is it a hybrid? Does anyone else have one of these?
I've saved my favorite of the three for last. I created this on a whim after successfully growing some haworthias, euphorbias, and agaves from seed two seasons ago. Last season, I decided to try something a little more ambitious. I pressed two seeds together in several different iterations to make what I call a "uni-seed." It sounds biologically implausible, but after reading quite a bit about metallurgy online, I began wondering if the same principles might apply to plants. At the very least, it seemed worth a shot. I tried haworthia + euphorbia, crassula + echeveria, crassula + agave, and euphorbia + echeveria, The only one of these that germinated was the last of these. Until February, it looked like a regular echeveria "fleur blanc," so I assumed that the whole "uni-seed" idea was kind of dumb. But then a weird-shaped blossom began to sprout in the center of it. And when it opened a few weeks ago, it wasn't a flower, but a euphorbia! Is that cool or what?? I checked for roots, but didn't see any. It's literally growing out of the center of the euphorbia just like a flower does.
...And if you believed that these three wonderful succulent creations were real, you just got punked! April Fool's, dear succ-ers! I hope you had as much fun reading about these fake hybrids as I did writing them. (And a special shout-out to my awesome partner, Liz, who not only cooked up the idea for the April Fool's joke, but created these great plants in Photoshop.)
My blue flame agave isn't doing that well, I'm afraid. There appear to be two issues.
Does anyone have any idea what might be going on with my blue flame? I'd welcome any advice...
Ah, succ-ers. As you know, I LOVE taking pics of my succulents after a nice rain. Here are some that I took a few days ago.
Aren't those gorgeous? I particularly love the collection of droplets on the spider web that some little critter wove near my Agave lophantha "Quadricolor."
You've seen our dog Maisie helping me garden, right? Well, as of about six months ago, we have a second succulent dog as well: Dexter. He helps a little less directly than Maisie does, but he definitely provides moral support.
Don't you love running into succulents when you least expect them? A few weeks ago, I ran a conference for work, which we held in Troutdale, Oregon at McMenamin's Edgefield. The grounds were lovely, and included a golf course, spa, trails, breweries, restaurants, a pool hall, and more--definitely a great place for a conference. But Kara Cactus notwithstanding, I don't think of Oregon as a place where succulents abound. Happily, I was wrong! Here are some pics I snapped on the Edgefield grounds as I was running hither and thither: