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Winter Hardy Cacti

I came across this blog while surfing. "The focus is primarily on typical winter hardy cacti like Opuntia, Cylindropuntia, Sclerocactus, etc -" but there is some "experiments with e.g Lophophora and Epithelantha." Unfortunately the blogger doesn't have many posts archived and the blog doesn't allow for non blogger members to comment so there doesn't seem to be much of an exchange. But it may be of some use to gardeners who would like to experiment with Cacti in their gardens.

Maybe if the blogger notices this post linking to his blog he'll change his comments to allow anonymous comments and switch on the word verification feature which prohibits spammers from spamming his blog and allows him to communicate with visitors to his blog.

Click the post title to see the blog.


What's in a name?

Here's something that occurred that I just learned about this evening. I hope it it has better luck and the changes that avid gardeners in Chicago have complained about are addressed. Although I think the name change is kind of silly, but I guess they need to attract more suburbanites.

Chicagoland Flower & Garden Show returns March 10 - 18, 2007
CHICAGO—November 17, 2006—After a 12-year run at downtown Chicago's Navy Pier, the Chicagoland Flower & Garden Show is expanding its name (from Chicago Flower & Garden Show) as well as relocating to expanded new "digs" in 2007: the Donald E. Stephens (Rosemont) Convention Center, Rosemont, Ill.

Show dates are Saturday, March 10, through Sunday, March 18.

The move to Rosemont--a major convention facility located near O'Hare Airport that features plenty of affordable parking as well as easy mass-transit and major expressway access--will also translate to a larger show space (220,000 sq. feet) for the 150-plus exhibitors at its "Garden Market" featuring gardening supply vendors as well as the show's wildly popular--and lush--theme gardens.

Also new in 2007: the show is being produced Special Events Management, the region's largest producer of special events.

(click the post title to read the whole press release.)

Now that it's moved all the way out there the chances of me going are dramatically reduced. I found it hard to be motivated to attend when it was conveniently located at Navy Pier I don't see myself making the treck.


Google for Gardeners

After getting tired of scrolling past many search results where dot-coms rule like kudzu. when I was looking up gardening info I decided to join Google Co-op and start a custom search engine for gardeners. Google For Gardeners is for those of us with our hands in the Earth and our trials and joys are highlighted. Whether we garden on a windowsill or have acreage what we do matters. If you're a blogger or run a website dedicated to sharing your love of plants contact me on my blog and I'll see about adding you to this search engine.

Try it by going to the Google for Gardeners homepage on Google by clicking here

Free Wallpapers for your computer

These wallpapers that I've made from my personal photos are free for personal use. You can click them to view the larger size then right click the image and set as your desktop wallpaper or download them to your computer and then set as your background. Please do not alter them or distribute them in any way without my expressed written consent. These photos are not available for commercial use and I retain all rights to them.

These wallpapers that I've made from my personal photos are free for personal use. You can click them to view the larger size then right click the image and set as your desktop wallpaper or download them to your computer and then set as your background. Please do not alter them or distribute them in any way without my expressed written consent. These photos are not available for commercial use and I retain all rights to them.



So picking up this plant was my Christmas Present to myself. I had seen one before that was mostly white and stalled and when I did someone else bought it out from under me. When I saw this little guy in the greenhouse of Home Depot I couldn't pass it up again.
Especially since I'm a sucker for plants already blooming and plants that come with offsets. You can't see the offset in these pics because it's on the opposite side but it's there. I've been looking around the net trying to get an id but the closest I got was to a pick of a similar looking plant on the Lapshin site labeled "GasterAloe Spirit of 88."


Use a Digital Camera to Find Bugs on Plants

If you were really good this year you like thousands of others have probably unwrapped a Digital Camera and you're playing around with the things right now. You're probably thinking of all the family and vacation photos that you will be taking with it but have you thought about what a great resource it is for you as a gardener?

Study Ophelia's garland

The San Francisco Chronicle had an interesting article about the meaning of flowers that are used by Shakespeare among the most interesting pieces are:

William Shakespeare mentioned more than 200 species of plants in his plays. Twenty-nine scenes take place in groomed gardens and well-tended orchards. Plants, and plant lore, were important sources of metaphors for Shakespeare. Often, as in Ophelia's "garland speech," plants served as extended metaphors for the human condition. Here's what the plants in Ophelia's garland would have signified for an Elizabethan audience:
Any man who couldn't smell the fragrant shrub was considered incapable of loving a woman. Rosemary in front of an English cottage indicated that the woman was head of the household, a folk belief that caused more than a few uprooted plants. Its special qualities also included the ability to repel plagues and certain types of witches. Sleeping with a sprig beneath your pillow chased away bad dreams. But for Ophelia, distraught and depressed over her father's death and Hamlet's odd behavior, the mention of rosemary indicates to her brother and the Elizabethan audience her brittle self-image and lack of confidence: "Pray you, love, remember."
Pansies, as Ophelia states, are for thoughts. The pansy was also used medicinally to relieve cramps, hysteria and diarrhea in children. In "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the Fairy King Oberon makes romantic use of the flower's juice: When applied to the eyelids of sleeping people, it was said, they will fall in love with whatever they see first after waking. This is how Titania, Oberon's wife, managed to fall in love with a donkey. Caution: The pansy's aphrodisiacal powers may apply only to fairies, nymphs and wood sprites. Please consult your physician before using in this manner. Results may vary.
Pansies, as Ophelia states, are for thoughts. The pansy was also used medicinally to relieve cramps, hysteria and diarrhea in children.
Fennel appears often in Shakespeare. Although Falstaff mentioned the herb in "Henry IV, Part 2" as a seasoning for conger eels, the plant represented false flattery.
The columbine is symbolic of ingratitude and was known as the "thankless flower." Perhaps this name derives from the fact that columbine seeds consumed with wine brought on labor pains more quickly. A newer, tragic and senseless, association with the word "Columbine" entered our language on April 20, 1999.

(click the post title to get to the whole article by Rob Loughran)

I found it interest that the author mentioned "Columbine" and the association it now has in our collective minds. For a long time I thought it an ugly name for a plant but it wasn't until recently that I realized that I found it disagreeable because of association we now have with the name. Anyway click the post title to read more of this interesting article.


Boozing bulbs.

So, it's the afternoon before Christmas and if you were a really good plant lover you'll probably be getting a lot of garden related gifts. One of those gifts could be a boxed set of bulbs for you to force indoors to help you get past the winter months or maybe you picked one up or you will pick one up at those after Christmas sales. So here's an article from that explains the benefits of sharing your booz with your bulbs. I'll only copy/paste a small part of it here and you can click the title of this post to get the link to the full article which is pretty lengthy.

March 31, 2006
Why tipsy flowers don't tip over: Booze stunts stem and leaves, but doesn't affect blossoms, study finds.
By Susan S. Lang

Those paperwhites and other daffodils sure could use a drink -- a little whiskey, vodka gin or tequila could keep them from falling over.

A new Cornell study finds that a touch of booze is a great way to keep certain houseplants from getting too tall by stunting their growth. "Dilute solutions of alcohol -- though not beer or wine -- are a simple and effective way to reduce stem and leaf growth," said William Miller, professor of horticulture and director of the Flower Bulb Research Program at Cornell.
"When the liquor is properly used, the paperwhites we tested were stunted by 30 to 50 percent, but their flowers were as large, fragrant and long-lasting as usual," added Miller, whose new study on how alcohol inhibits houseplant growth will be published in the April issue of HortTechnology, a peer-reviewed journal of horticulture.
Miller will be working this spring to see if a little booze works for amaryllis and such vegetables as tomatoes and peppers, as well. His work with tulips so far has been promising but not yet definitive: "I think with a little jiggering -- no pun intended -- of the system, the method will work for tulips, though I think it will not be as simple as with paperwhites."
Last year, Miller received a call from The New York Times about a reader who had written to the garden editor claiming that gin had prevented some paperwhite narcissi from growing too tall and floppy and asked if it was because of some "essential oil" in the gin.
Intrigued that dilute alcohol might act as a growth retardant, Miller and former Cornell student Erin Finan '05 conducted experiments with ethanol (1, 5, 10 and 25 percent) and "Ziva" paperwhite narcissi (Narcissus tazetta), and later with about a dozen kinds of alcohol, including dry gin, unflavored vodka, whiskey, white rum, gold tequila, mint schnapps, red and white wine and pale lager beer, on paperwhites.
"While solutions greater than 10 percent alcohol were toxic, solutions between 4 and 6 percent alcohol stunted the paperwhites effectively," said Miller.
(click the post title to finish reading the article and see the photo)


Forget me not.

I was looking through the posts of BLDBLOG (Click the title of this post to get there) and came across this piece of Direct Marketing for Tur & Partner, landscape architects. Apparently you punch holes in the cover and seeds that are embedded in this business card sprout when buried. It's probably the best business card I have ever. Not only is it recyclable but you get some flowers to add to your garden.

It reminds me of a post I saw on gardenweb where a member had taken a tour of a National Park and was given a piece of paper that had seeds embedded and he was told to do was to bury and water it.

Which makes me wonder if someone could do something similar at home. I remember seeing a HGTV program once where the showed you how to make your own paper. All you needed was a sieve in the shape of a square and a tub filled with water and used paper. I don't think it would be that difficult to just add some seeds in the final step to make your own business cards impregnated with seeds. Although I'm not sure how you would print on the paper and if passing it through a printer would damage the seeds. Perhaps maybe writing on it by hand or using a rubber stamp?

Seems like a good project for some crafters.


When a memory stick is really a stick

I was surfing the net and came across this site selling memory sticks that really look like...well a stick. It looks like this (person or company) carves out the sticks and inserts the USB memory stick into them and then seals them.

I wish I had seen this site earlier because it would have made a great stocking stuffer. If I did it right clicking the title of this post should take you to oooms website where you can buy these memory sticks.

21.12.06 Cactus vs. Moth Cactus vs. Moth

- A tale of nature's revenge, stretching back more than two centuries and halfway around the world, has come full-circle in a battle of cactus, moth and man.

At stake is the survival of a Mexican national symbol.

The dull-colored cactus moth that reached Mexican territory this summer threatens to devastate the country's nopals, the prickly pear plant that graces the country's flag and is deeply interwoven in its history, culture and diet.

The moth didn't migrate here from its native South America; mankind carried it - to Australia, South Africa, and finally the Caribbean. That makes it a cautionary tale about the dangers of transplanting species, even in the good cause of "bio-control" - unleashing one animal or plant to fight another rather than using pesticides.

"It's not the moth that's to blame, but rather people," says Jose Sarukhan, the head of Mexico's National Council on Biodiversity, talking about the first sighting of Cactoblastis cactorium on Isla Mujeres, an island off Cancun, this summer.

"Imagine what would happen if this plague reaches here, and devours all the nopals in a country that's (their) center of origin," he said.

Experts say millions of acres of semiarid Mexican land could become total desert without its approximately 100 native species of nopals, or Opuntia, about half the world's total. Birds and reptiles that use them for nesting, protection or food would also suffer.

The country faces "extreme ... incalculable damage" if the moth jumps the 5-mile strait between Isla Mujeres and the mainland, said Jorge Hernandez, the director of Mexico's plant safety agency, which is hacking and burning affected cacti on the tiny island.

*Continue reading at the link above*

Wow, sounds like things could get very bad for "nopales" in Mexico.


Three new plants needing ID

I have an idea on the third one because I saw a similar looking one on a cacti site just looking for confirmation I guess. The first two came home with me from the Home Depot greenhouse because they were the only two C&S that look like they were still alive, so I couldn't leave them there to suffer the fate of the rest.


Thanks to Cactus Dude these have all been identified and I will be adding them to my pics here


Insect Photos -

Insect Photos -

Here is a pretty cool site about insect photography by (Alex Wild) that I came across while Googling around for info on Ant Plants. The webmaster has made a couple of nice bug images available to visitors as wallpapers. Check them out. I am using the one with the beetle and the water droplet.

Carnivorous Plant Photographs

Carnivorous Plant Photographs

Here's a neat site with very nice photographs of Carnivorous Plants and some very useful info. It reminds me that I that I killed two CPs this year. Both times because I was lazy...I bought a Mexican Butterwort from Lowes which I forgot to acclimate to the air. The second was a pitcher plant that I forgot to bring in or protect when our first frost hit.

Next year I'll try better.

Maybe. - The king of all the meats. - The king of all the meats.

I came across this blog when searching lithops andI'm sure that it's so cool that I just don't get it but among the entries I noticed that he (Michael Malice) had a list of plants which I assume he owns.

On the main page they are listed on the right hand side under "Lucifer's Garden."

I'm jealous that he has an Dioscorea elephantipes.


The Prince and the Pauper

Home Depot has been carrying a lot of newer and much nicer Cacti & Succulents with the addition of The Cactus Collection. One of the things I picked up was an Echeveria "Black Prince." I had been lusting after this Echeveria for a while and I was pleased to have found it. Today I noticed there is another Echeveria, that look similar to "Black Prince," that is called "Black knight." I wanted to pick it up but they had been suffering from neglect already but the next time I see a fresh shipment in my local Home Depot I will make sure to pick one of those up too.

Click here for pic of new Echeveria in my collection


Christmas comes earlier every year

Both of my Schlumbergias are in bloom now. I bought them last year at Walmart for a dollar after Christmas and they were in really bad shape. They even survived getting sprayed with Febreze that I mistook for a water bottle and have forgiven me by putting on a flower show. One is all white and the other has a red variegation to it.


Trade List (under construction)

Seeds I have to trade
Allium: "Schubertii" "Cernuum"
Asiatic Lily: Mix
Castor Bean Red (1 trade collected)
Cathedral Bells (left over commercial pack few seeds)
Celosia Crested (few seeds)
Chinese Lanterns (1 trade collected)
Cleome: Mix White, Pink & Purple
Datura: White and Purple (both from trade)
Delphinium: "Magic Fountain" (from trade)
Echinacea: "White Swan," "Tom Thumb," "Double Decker," "Magnus"
Euphorbia Obesa*
Hibiscus: Trionum "Flower of an Hour" & "Confederate Rose"
Malva Zebrina (from trade)
Marigolds: "Petite Orange" & "Cracker Jack" & "French Vanilla" (FV is from trade)
Morning Glory: Purple white center "Scarlett O'hara"
Nasturtium: "Jewel Mix"
Nicandra Physalodes: "Shoo-Fly Plant"
Oriental Poppy: Mix of pastel colors (same colors also in doubles)
Passiflora: Edulis and Manicata (few seeds)
Sunflower: "Evening Sun" "Lemon Chiffon" (both from trade)
Yucca: "Filamentosa" "Louisanensis" (Both collected)
Zinnia: "Green Envy" "Giant Cactus" (GC is commercial)

Seeds I'm looking for
*Black, Green or Brown: Perennials/Annuals and Tropicals*
Akebia Quinata
Aristolochia: "Brasiliensis," "Fimbriata"
Arum Italicum
Campanula "Kent Belle"
Drimiopsis Maculata
Eccremocarpus Scaber

Plants I have to trade
Adenium Obesum
Amaryllis: Seedlings of my crosses
Ceropegia Woodii
Euphorbia Obesa
Huernia: X (cuttings)
Saxifraga Saramentosa
Staghorn Fern
Wandering Jew

Plants I'm looking for

*Black, Green Brown: Perennials and Tropicals and Bulbs*
Aeonium: "Zwartkop"
Allium Atropurpurem
Aristolochia Fimbriata
Asarum Canadense
Amaryllis: Any except "Red Lion" & "Apple Blossom"
Begonia: "Martin Johnson," "Rajah"
Cerinthe Major "Purpurascens
Crinum Asiaticum
Dahlia: "Bendall Beauty"
Dorstenia Crispa
Dischidia Pectenoides
Epidendrum "Plastic Doll"
Epiphyllum Anguliger
Gasteria Glomerata
Haworthia: "Truncata," "Chocolate"
Larryleachia Marlothii
Ornithogalum Arabicum
Orchids: In particular "Lady Slipper" & Pansy Orchids
Peperomia: "Columella," "Asperula"
Papiopedilum: "Avalon Mist," "Calloso-Argus"
Rhodochiton Astrosanguine
Sansevieria Fisheri
Sinningia Bulbosa
Streptocarpus Wendlandii
Tacca Nivea & Chantrieri: "Bat Plant"

Bulbs I have to trade

Amaryllis: X seedlings from my crosses
Eucomis: Bicolor*
Gladiolous: Mix- Yellow and Purple
Gloriosa superba "Rothschildiana"*
Peruvian Daffodils*
Voodoo Lily: X (offsets)*
Zantedeschia: Pink (maybe "Dusky Pink"?), "Blackjack" (looks like "Hot Chocolate")*

Bulbs I'm looking for
Allium: "Hair"
Arisarum Proboscideum
Dracunculus Vulgaris

Fritillaria Meleagris: "Snakes Beard"
Gunnera: Tinctoria/Chinensis
Haemanthus: "African Blood Lily"
Iris: "Green Halo," "Green Spot"
Kniphofia: "Green Jade," "Percy Pride"
Ornithogalum Viridi Florum
Ranculus "Green Petal"
Sinningia: "Douglasii," "Guttata,"
Tropaeolum Tuberosum

Non plant items
100 Flowers and how They Got Their Name- Diana Wells
Gardening Made Easy-Jane Fearnley~Whittingstall
Annuals, Bulbs& Perennials-Richard Bird/Kathy Brown
The Bonsai Workshop-Herb L. Gustafson
Growing & Displaying Bonsai- Colin Lewis~Neil Sutherland
Bonsai From Native Trees and Shrubs- Werner M. Busch
Non Gardening Books:
Sim City 4 Strategy Guide
4 (12 inch) new terracotta pots
* denotes special trades only
I like just about all plants but have a soft spot for Black, Green and Chocolate colored plants. I like the unusual and I am in serious zone denial so I grow plants that can't survive the harsh Chicago winters. The list is kind of long and some plants are rare and hard to find but don't be intimidated by it is mostly to give an idea of what I like, and that's just about anything. But I can always find room for caudex forming plants, bulbs, and plants that are native to Africa and anything weird looking.


Cleome Seeds & Junk Mail

After many unsuccessful attempts at collecting Cleome seeds I discovered a little trick. I'd go out and pull what to me looked like a ripe seed pod only to discover that the seeds were still white inside. What I found was that if you take a seed pod in your thumb and forefinger and gently squeeze if the pod is ripe it will start to split. If you apply pressure and it doesn't split in your fingers the pod should be left and checked later.


While looking for places to dry seeds I had collected I ran out of paper plates and used an envelope from some junk mail I had received. The envelopes worked great because I could set many of them in one spot side by side and because they are made of paper they absorb the excess moisture on your seeds or seed pods. When the seeds are dried you can take the paper envelopes and compost them.

Green roof saves green in Chicago - Nightly News with Brian Williams -

Green roof saves green in Chicago - Nightly News with Brian Williams -

By Kevin Tibbles
NBC News
Updated: 7:43 p.m. CT oct 17, 2006

CHICAGO-It's like a scene from a peaceful meadow: Where wildflowers bloom and the bees are busy. But to reach this slice of Eden, one doesn't travel out of town, one travels up, 12 stories up.

"I talked about building a green roof," says Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, "and everybody kind of looked at me whether or not I kind of lost it, ha ha ha."

But the crazy idea is paying off. Since Chicago installed a 20,000 square foot "green roof" atop City Hall five years ago, the city has saved about $25,000 in energy costs.
(full story and video at link)

Da Mayor is getting some positive press for one of his green initiatives. Say what you will about him and the goings on at City Hall but you have to love what he's done to make the city greener. Too bad the only time I get to see this roof top garden is on television.


Fungal Disease Killing L.A. Palm Trees

Fungal Disease Killing L.A. Palm Trees

Fungal Disease Killing L.A. Palm Trees
by John Rogers, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The city's palm trees-as much a symbol of L.A as the automobile, movie stars and the beach-are vanishing. The Trees are dying of old age and fungal disease, disappearing one by one from parks and streets, and city planners are replacing them with oaks, sycamores and other species that are actually native to Los Angeles and offer more shade, too.
(full story at link)


A couple of "firsts."

So in a season of interesting happenings in a first year garden I had two first happen this weekend. The first was finding a slug on a plant and squishing it between my fingers. Why didn't anyone tell me about the perverse pleasure you get from hearing the crack and squishing sound of killing a snail between your thumb and forefinger? It was gross but it felt so good at the same time.

The other "first" was stepping on the metal end of a shovel causing it to catapult up and smack me in the face and nether region. OUCH! I think what hurt more was that I did it within view of many of my neighbors who let out a howl.


KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa - Pot Plants Found at Police Station

KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa - Pot Plants Found at Police Station

The first marijuana plants found growing in Duluth, Minn., in about 10 years were thriving in public view-- in a planter outside a police station.

A reporter for the Duluth News Tribune head talk during the weekend about "something interesting" growing outside the West Duluth police substation, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

Unaware of what was so "interesting" about the dozen or so 6-inch high plants in the planter outside the front door of the station, Janna Goerdt plucked a leaf and took it back to the newspaper office with her.

Duluth City Gardener Tom Kasper confirmed the "weed" was marijuana Monday and took the news to the police Lt. John Beyer, who said the plants went unnoticed because nober ever uses the front entrance of the station, which is usually kept locked.

"The only thing I can say is somebody has a sense of humor," Beyer said.

Kasper said it's been about 10 years since marijuana has been found growing in northern Minnesota.

In 1990, a 3-foot-tall marijuana plant was found thriving in the Civic Center courtyard near City Hall.
United Press International

Oh man talk about right under your nose.


Flower bandit leaves thank you note - Yahoo! News

Flower bandit leaves thank you note - Yahoo! News

Thu Aug 31, 3:13 AM ET

DES MOINES, Iowa-At least the people who took flowers from a historic neighborhood left a thank you note. Jason Jasnos said he found the note in his garden Sunday, a day after he caught two women holding a bunch of posies taken from outside his 1880s-era home, near downtown Des Moines.

The note was on a white piece of paper etched in pink marker with a lone pink-and-yellow flower.

"Thank you for the flowers," it read. "Many others will enjoy them."

The note was signed: "The flower bandit."

"We've heard some stories of bizarre plant thefts," said Stephanie Bruner, vice president of the neighborhood association, who said she has had tulips taken from her yard.

Jasnos said he asked around and found that other neighbors also have had flowers and plants stolen from their yards and porches.

One neighbor had ornamental grasses stolen a few years ago. Another neighbor had plants taken from a hanging basket on her porch. The thief had smoothed out the dirt so it appeared nothing was disturbed.

Jasno's wife, Sherry, tried to be positive about the theft.

"I'm assuming she's going to brighten someone's day," she said.

Now there's a twist in the whole gardener/plant theif dynamic. I've had all kinds of things yanked from my garden this year and didn't once get a thank you note. And people say note writing is a dying art. If you're interested the DesMoines Register also has this story on their website along with pictures of Jason and the note the flower bandit.

The Shreveport Times

The Shreveport Times

Record state watermelon growin in Converse patch
Father, son have hopes of beating world record.
August 26, 2006
By Vickie Welbron

CONVERSE-- Donnie sistrunk Jr. and his 15-year-old son Rusty Sistrunk set out this year to raise a state record watermelon--and they did it in July.

But hidden in a patch behind their rural Converse home was a still-growing monster. It's growing no more.

With family members, Sabine County Agent Paul Morris and two representative of the Lousisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry hovering around him at noon Friday, Rusty cut the vine to the whopper of all Louisiana watermelons. At 252.4 pounds, the melon is a new state record.
(click link above for the rest of the story and pic of the youth with his prize winning melon)

Here's a story for all those people who want to get their kids involved in gardening in one form or another. On message boards I read a lot about how today's youth are just not interested in the hobby and how most clubs are desperate for new blood. Since I don't move in gardening circles I'm not really sure if it really is a problem or something that every generation of gardeners comes across and notices. But here is at least one father and son team that dispells the theory.


Bat, trimmer, hammer used in lawn brawl - Yahoo! News

Bat, trimmer, hammer used in lawn brawl - Yahoo! News

FRUIT COVE, Fla-The supervisor went for a bat. The employee whipped out a weed trimmer. Another worker used a hammer to break up the fight.

That's the scene St. Johns County authorities described Tuesday after a lawn service supervisor critized one of his worker's grass-cutting skills, the Florida Times-Union reported.

Lance Tywan Wamley, 26, of Hollywood, Fla., is charged with threatening several men with 34-inch baseball bat and then hitting one man in the chest. The worker Eric J. Torres, 23, defended himself with a weed trimmer, authorities said.

Another worker, armed with a hammer, broke up the scuffle, authorities said.

Torres was treated at a hospital. Wamley was charged with felony assault and battery. Information on his legal representation was not available Thursday.

LOL, it's a good thing I cut my own lawn.


Trees are stripped for medicinal bark - Yahoo! News

Trees are stripped for medicinal bark - Yahoo! News

By SAMIRA JAFARI, Associated Press Writer

DANIEL BOONE NATIONAL FOREST, Ky.- The 20-foot tree stands half naked, much of the bark stripped from it's trunk. It has only months to live. "It doesn't know it's dead," says the U.S Forestry Service botanist David Taylor, pointing to the healthy leaves overhead.

The slippery elm has fallen victim to thieves who tore off it's bark for profit in the lucrative and burgeoning herbal-remedy market.
(full story at link above)

Wow, this is really sad that this is being done to our forests and I can't imagine the level of frustration the forestry workers must feel. I know I feel like knocking people upside the head when I see that some small plant has been torn from my garden or see a bloom is missing.

List of garden plants - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

List of garden plants - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I was looking around for tropical plants and came across this HUGE list of garden plants on Wikipedia. The best part is that so many of the entries have pics so you can see the plant in question and read up on them.


Unknown Canna Drawing

This Canna started blooming in the yard during the past couple of days. I'm really fond of the orange spotting on the yellow petals of the flower. I got this Canna from a garden center when they went on clearance towards the end of spring. I love the foliage and spectacular flowers of Cannas. I don't know if I will grow this one next year but there definitely be others.


unkown flower drawing

This flower popped up in my yard and I think it may have escaped from my neighbor's yard. She buys those pack of wild flowers from Walgreens and tosses the seeds around. The day I noticed this flower I was going to toss it but out of nowhere a large humming bird moth appeared in the yard and started feeding from it. I'd never seen one of them before and I was surprised by how fearless the insect was as it landed and probed all the blooms on the stalk.


NPR : Mustard Plants to Boldly Grow Where…

NPR : Mustard Plants to Boldly Grow Where…, July 24, 2006

On board the space shuttle that lifted off July 4 was a black plastic briefcase marked "critical Space Item." Inside were 600 seeds.

(Full story at link)

When I save my seeds I put them in those little 2x3 baggies the briefcase sounds a little like overkill to me. And trading seeds with people in Canada seems hard enough I can't imagine trading with someone in space. :-)

A Porch and Flowering Meadow, 6 Floors Up - New York Times

A Porch and Flowering Meadow, 6 Floors Up - New York Times

Wow, If you have a second check out this story at the link above. David Puchkoff and his family have put a porch and miniature meadow on top of their west village apartment building. Considering how much my Mayor is pushing roof top gardening as a green conservation method it's great to see people doing this. Truly inspiring.



Feline felon suspected in glove thefts - Yahoo! News

BY Jim Fitzgerald, Associated Press Writer

PELHAM, N.Y. -A pink-and-white gardening glove was missing Thursday morning from Jeannine Goche's front porch. But there was absolutely no mystery about who had taken it. Willy, the cat who loves gloves, had struck again.

"It has to be him," said Goche, an attorney. "I've heard about him."

As if gardeners of Pelham don't have enough to worry about, with the rocky soil and the slugs and the big trees casting too much shade, a feline felon has been sneaking into their back yards and carrying off gardening gloves.

(full story at link above)

I got this story e-mailed on Friday and laughed at because it was a cute animal story but it was gardening related. I guess if you live in Pelham and you're missing a gardening glove it was probably stolen by Willy.

When I was younger I had a cat who liked to steal things too but he would bring back kittens. I know, weird my (male) cat was a kidnapper. He'd show up from time to time with a litter of kittens that he'd be hiding in the basement.


I want mutants in my garden

La. garden yields yard-long ... cuculoupe? - Yahoo! News

Mon Jul 10, 4:43 PM ET

HOUMA, La. They're a yard long and a good few inches across. The skin is waxy, sort of like a cucumber, but yellow and ridges like a canteloupe. A half dozen of them grew between the cucumbers and cantaloupe in a Houma home garden.

"We call it a cuculoupe," Karen Dusenbery said.

As good a name as any.

"Science is strange sometimes," LSU AgCenter agent Barton Joffrion said after examining the whatsits.

"You see crosses like that. What happens is they planted them close in proximity, and they are in the same family," said Joffrion. "But it's not that common.

Both are members of the Cucurbit family, which includes pumpkins and gourds as well as melons and cucumbers.

Cucumbers and cantaloupes are closely related enough to swap genes, Joffrion said. He'd never seen anything like the Dusenbery's whatever.

"In the first generation, they'll cross and you'll get an unusual fruit," Joffrion said.

The firm flesh inside is yellow and somewhat sweet but has a flavor more like a cucumber than cantaloupe, Tim Dusenbery said.

The Dusenberys said they are saving seeds and hope to get more next year.

However, Joffrion said a crossbred plant usually reverts back to one of its original forms in subsequent generations.

"It'll be interesting to see what it does revert to," Joffrion said.

(read/rate story at link above)

I think this is so cool. I wish there would be lots of crossbreeding in my garden but I don't think I have many things that are closely related.


ABC News: Arizonans Fight to Save Native Cactus

ABC News: Arizonans Fight to Save Native Cactus

The Fast Rate of Development is Encroaching on the Cacti Territory


July 8, 2006-Cacti have been called the original inhabitants of Arizona: Saguaro, barrel, hedge hog, ocotillo, prickly pear and cholla are all native flora of the state.

But now, the newer residents are competing for space.

More than 170 new homes are being built in Phoenix and Tucson every day, and they are crowding out the flora.

Enter the Cactus Rescue Crew-an all volunteer force whose mission is to save what's growing before homebuilders bulldoze the desert.

"We're hurrying as fast as we can to get as much off as we can. Said group member Patsy Frannea.

"I Can't stand the thought of these guys going to a landfill and being wasted," said another group member, Jerry Estruth.

The destruction of the cacti poses a serious problem for the fate of the species because it takes some of these plants decades to grow.

"That's about 7-feet tall," Cactus Crew member, Joe Frannea said of one specimen, "so that saguaro has probably been groing for 60 years or so."

(full story at the link above)

I lived in Northern Az for a short while and the memory of driving south and seeing the Saguaros lord over the mountains as you get lower in elevation is one of those memories that will always be with me. This group is doing good work I remember wondering what would become of the large Cacti that lived along the highway that were in the path of construction. It's good to hear that the future of some will be very bright.


The Bulb Hunter - New York Times

The Bulb Hunter - New York Times

By Ginia Bellafante
Published:July 6, 2006

A few weeks ago Chris Wiesinger traveled to the most forlorn area of Lufkin, Tex., an old railroad town not too far from the border of Louisiana, and from the window of his Ford-F-150 pickup almost immediately noticed Zephyranthes grandiflora. At 25, he is rarely prone to effusion, but the sight of the flower caused him to smile in such a way that his whole face rippled, like a pool of water into which a pebble has been thrown.

The plant, more typically known as a rain lily, was blooming on a vacant lot surrounded by four bungalows, all of them boarded up. "There's nothing else here," Mr. Wiesinger said as he walked towards the flowers. "It never gets touched or cared for, and just look at it. Well, my goodness."

Mr. Wiesinger makes a living finding pretty things in ravaged places. In 2004 he started the Southern Bulb Company with the aim of reintroducing flowers long out of vogue, committing himself exclusively to those that have ably asserted themselves against the particular cruelties of exceedingly hot weather for decades, even centuries.

While the pursuit of heirloom botanicals may have an air of elitism about it, Mr. Wiesinger goes after what one might think of as the Barbara Stanwycks of floriculture: resilient flowers without patrician connotation that thrive in areas largely lost to the economic revival of the New South. His is the world of cotton towns, condemned properties, abandoned buildings and houses where torn sofas crest on bowed porch fronts." Most of the time you're not finding this stuff in the fancy neighborhoods around Dallas," he said,"but in places where people couldn't afford to plant new things."

(Full article at the link above.)

In a time when plant hunters no longer create front page news I think this story is incredible and important so the big box garden centers that is mostly available to many of us create McGardens.


Guerrilla Gardening

Guerrilla Gardening

I was cleaning out my bookmarks and came across this link I had been saving for a while. If you garden you may get a kick out of what these crazy green loving Europeans are up to.

I haven't done anything on this scale but I have thrown handfulls of extra seeds I had in neighbor's yards who have nothing growing and in an empty parking lot near my house. Mostly the Asclepia Syriaca that I find near the rail road tracks, but it's better than nothing.

Check out Guerilla Gardening by clicking the link above. They have lots of neat info and cool pics of the work they do. Maybe they will inspire you too.

29.6.06 | Chicago's WB | WGN-TV City in the Garden | Chicago's WB | WGN-TV City in the Garden

WGN is sponsoring a garden contest for locals. They're giving a way a weekly prize-one 14 carat white gold jeweled flower. Only front lawn gardens are eligible.


An apple a day...

I'm not a fan of Fiona Apple but I saw her on Jimmy Kimmel Live a couple weeks ago. I was struck by how simple but wonderful the album cover art is. On the show she said she took the photo in her garden and well I like gardens and I like taking pics. So Fiona gets mad props from me.

I don't know about the music inside but the cover is nice :)

Nice Topiary

I came across a feuding neighbors thread in a gardening forum. The poster was asking what he/she could do to get even with a neighbor who had put up some ugly yard decorations to be annoying. One poster suggested growing a topiary like the one in the pic. I love topiaries and I got a kick out of the pic.

Questions On Tulips

Questions On Tulips

I attempted to pollinate my flaming parrot tulips and today the pods cracked open and I collected the seeds. They were lighter and softer than I would have imagined so I Googled to see if I could find a pic of what mature Tulip seeds looked like. Well I haven't been able to find a pic to compare my seeds with but I came across this site with lots of questions about Tulips and answers for them. It's worth a look.

Click the link above.

24.6.06 - Americans obsessed with their orchids - Americans obsessed with their orchids

"BOLINAS,Calif(AP)-They're tempermental, but tough. Sensitive, yet strong. They bloom infrequently, but beautifully. Some say figuring out how to make orchids thrive at home can be as challenging as rasiing kids. And like parents packing children off to camp, orchid lovers across the country are paying hundreds of dollars each month to professional to take care of plants when they're not in bloom.

"I have the sickness,"says Jeff Doney, a San Francisco architect who estimates his collection of 200 orchids is worth $10,000. He spends $300 a month on boarding his plants at California Orchids in Bolina..."

I found this article to be interesting and decided to post it incase any orchid lovers come across this post. You can click the link above to get the whole story.


7 arrested as deputies evict urban farmers - Yahoo! News

7 arrested as deputies evict urban farmers - Yahoo! News

"Los Angeles-Sheriff's deputies began evicting people from an urban garden early Tuesday and arrested at least seven as protesters chained themselves to barrels of concrete and others, including actress Daryl Hannag, sat in a large walnut tree.

"I'm very confident this is the morally right thing to do, to take a principled stand in solidarity with the farmers" Hannah said by cell phone. Asked if she willing to risk arrest, she said "I'm planning on holding my position"

About 350 people grow produce and flowers on the 14 acress of privately owned land, in a gritty, inner-city area surrounded by warehouses and train tracks. The garden has been there for decades but the landowner, Ralph Horowitz now wants to replace it with a warehouse..."

Rest of the story at the link.


You'll always remember your first.

Just yesterday I collected my first seeds of the season. They were Daffodils and out of the seven plants I tried to pollinate I only got one seed pod to develop, and out of that seed pod I only got a handful of seeds -but I'm proud of them.

I haven't updated because my digi-cam died on me and I'm waiting on getting another one. I've missed out on getting some flower pics captured. I have some kind of Allium that has been blooming and not having an ID for it is driving me crazy.

Anyway I hope to have a new cam soon and get more pics especially since so many plants are blooming around me.


Good bulb info site.

A couple of weeks ago I bought some Anemone (bulb or corms?) and the package referred you to a website. So I went and checked it out and I have to say it was kind of informative, especially to someone like me who doesn't have much experience with bulbs.

There is a pic of a 'Queen of Night' Tulip on their site that makes my mouth water.

Check out if you would like to learn about Spring/Summer bulbs.

Yellow Tulip w/red variegation

The past couple of days in my garden has seen the rise of these other Tulips in my bulb bed. When they were unfurling they were completely yellow but after a day a red variegation appears on the edges of the pedals. I'm not sure if these have a name but they were given to me by the same gardener that gave me the flaming parrots I pictured below. If memory serves me right Diene also gave me some Daffs and Alliums. Unfortunately I didn't remember to photograph those or I would have added pics.

It's been interesting to see the ladies who garden on the block pass by and ask me what the bulbs are because they've never seen these varieties before. So a big "thanks" goes out to this generous gardener.


Bugs in my garden

When I was a kid one of the pass times that was engaged in by the kids in my 'hood was catching bugs and torturing them. I remember friends catching soda 2liter bottles full of grasshoppers and stuffing fire crackers inside and well you know...


Using the home made greenhouse I posted about below I've started a lot of seeds. Since blogger stinks and you can't copy and paste I took a screen shot of my note pad file. The names with an asterisk are seeds that have germinated for me already. I'll update this with the complete list once I am done sowing the more tender seeds. I don't know what I'm going to do with all the plants and where they're going to go. My gardening space has been reduced to your typical Chicago front yard- basically the size of a postage stamp. I still have about a hundred annual seeds that have to get started and I'm finding I don't have enough time to get them started.


Tulip from trade.

Last fall I received a few bulbs and some Day Lilies from another gardener. When I planted them I had no idea what they were. So far I think an Allium has come up and now I have these Tulips(?) blooming. The blooms are huge and on some that have opened the petals have unfurled into something that reminds me of a bat in flight. The variegation is interesting and I wonder if it was crossed to look like this on purpose. Anyway what ever it is it has been a pleasure to watch and check up on daily.


This Tulip has been IDed as a Flaming Parrot Tulip. Thanks for the help.


Weed Wacker

I was taking a walk in the neighborhood taking photos of the bulbs that were showing off, when I spotted something a little different. By now you've probably figured out this entry is about a rabbit, but this is not your ordinary rabbit-it's an inner city rabbit. I came across this guy (or girl) out on a busy street where it was sitting beneath a bush eating the Dandelions. This is the third or fourth wild rabbit I have seen in Chicago in all my years here.

I know in many parts of the country this rabbit is a common sight and pest in gardens but here in my neighborhood it's a rarity. It paused it's lunch to allow me to get up close and be able to take a few pictures of it. I'm impressed by it's presence in my 'hood when I take into consideration the loose cats and dogs that it must have avoided to get this far in life. Seeing it brought out the kid in me and made me want to have a rabbit, especially one that goes around the garden eating weeds.


Home Made Greenhouse

When starting out with growing from seed it's easy to go way get caught up and buy everything on a shelf to help you grow from seed. One of the things that I always want to buy are those plastic mini-greenhouses for seed starting. The thing that keeps me from buying them is the small size and usually the price.

I guess I'm too cheap to spend the money on them, so like many people before me I decide to make my own. The one in the photos attached is made from an ordinary soda bottle I cut in-half, poked drainage holes, filled with soil and added seeds to it. The top I just slid inside the bottom half to close the bottle back up. I know some people use tape to seal it but I don't find it necessary. If you cut a few vertical slits along the rim of the bottom half it will make it easier to slide the top half down.

What you end up with is basically a little seed starting greenhouse that works just as well as the ones you buy at the garden centers but it only cost you about a dollar. The money you save you can spend on more seeds, pots, soil etc.

I leave my tops off of my home made greenhouses, and I find that even with the top off enough humidity gets trapped while allowing air circulation. No need to constantly be venting like with the commercially available ones.

I've added a picture of what the seedlings look like inside. The seedling you see are mixed Scabiosa seeds I traded for.


First Sign of Spring

Last fall I came across some bulbs at the discount grocer ALDI. They came 60 in a box for about 3 dollars. I bought two boxes and planted them and hoped for good results. I think it was 3 dollars well spent. I will have to check with them this year to see what they carry. I've been waiting since the weather has warmed up for them to bloom. I've seen lots of other bulbs around here flowering for a while now and I kep wondering if mine would ever bloom. Well, this week mine all seemed to have sprung out of the ground overnight. They're only about three colors blue, yellow and white. There are a couple of blooms that look more purple than blue but I'm only considering them one color. Here are two pics of my first ever bulbs to bloom. Hope you enjoy them. I have some other bulbs growing I'll post those seperate because I can't remember what those were suppose to be.


A rose by any other name...

I have seen this plant in the Home Depot Garden Section many times and have wanted to buy it but never was really serious about it. Yesterday I saw it in another store and this time looked closer at the name. The tag from Exotic Angel names it as Senecio String of Nickels, it's origin is suppose to be Namibia (where the heck is that?). I bought it since I already have a Senecio Rowleyanus String of Pearls and figured I could have a collection.

It turns out that this plant may be a Dischidia (a family of epiphites from S.E Asia) and not a Senecio, as it is labeled. Last night the plant stayed in my room, it smelled like a handful of candy which I can't really put my finger on. It was a very sweet and intoxicating smell. If you look closely in the picture there is a little white flower. I'm not sure if the candy like smell came from the flower or the plant but it was very strong and quiet welcoming. I think I love this plant, even if I am a little disappointed in it not being a Senecio. I'm guessing the plant I've seen on line commonly called String of Bananas is also not a Senecio. So much for collecting all three. LOL.


Party Of Five plus a booster seat.

Just the other day I had been thinking that I wanted to concentrate my buying to specific plants. I was thinking I would only buy AOs, EOs and Lithops. Then today I went into a garden center and came across these Euphorbias. There were so many nice looking Cacti & Succulents, I saw six EOs and I came home with five of them today. I couldn't decide on which ones to buy so I bought most of them. These five Euphorbias are about the diameter of a soda can and if you look closely on the left there is a little baby plant peeking out. So I guess I technically came home with six of them.

You can click on the picture if you care to get a larger view. I'm going to set these next to the two little EOs I already have to give them an idea of how they will look like when they grow up some.

Euphorbia Obesa flower

This is the second time since this winter that this little guy has bloomed for me since I got it late this past summer. I know these blooms to most are nothing all that special but I'm a big fan of these plants and I appreciate the bloom just as much as if it was on an Orchid. Technically this is my first C&S that has bloomed for me. I'm still waiting on that pot of Hens & Chicks to bloom. I think I may be waiting for a while more.


Chicago Throws A Garden Party

Chicago will be host to the first Urban Gardening Show. The show is aimed specifically at gardeners in city lots and small spaces like, decks and patios. It will be held May 13-21 at Butler Field in Grant Park.

Garden in a City, as the show is called, "is an in-ground show will provide a unique and engaging visitor experience..." I guess that means the displays will hold some of the things that are commonly found in gardens in Chicago like; loose newspapers, empty aluminum cans, condoms and drunk Cubs fans peeing on your lawn at 3 am?

For more info check out the Garden in a City website for a list of sponsors, vendors and location/directions or call 312-742-4817.


Feeling antsy?

When I was a kid I wanted an Ant Farm really bad. I don't know if my parents were too cheap or too poor to waste money on something so trivial. Either way I wasn't ever given one. So one day I took an empty mini aquarium and filled it with dirt and placed it outside. In the center of the home made terrarium I placed a piece of candy. Soon I had a swarm of ants crawling all over the ghetto ant farm and I placed a piece of glass I found over it. Satisfied that I had won over frugality or poverty and got what I wanted I headed inside with my farm.

I placed it on a shelf near a window and watched it daily as the little ants went about their days building tunnels and eating the tiny scraps I placed inside. I was more than pleased with the little community that was living ontop of my shelf. That was until one day when I forgot to close the bedroom door and I came home to an empty ant farm that was toppled over and the ants had escaped. The usually suspects were my siblings, but since they were in school with me it could only have been my cat. Once my mom found out about the farm and their escape of the farm I was barred from ever having one again.

Since then whenever I see an ant farm in a store I have to fight the urge to buy one and send away for the ants. Now that I'm grown up I fear buying one farm that will lead to many additions that completely take over my room. I think I'd turn into the ant keeping equivalent of the crazy cat lady. But I came across and I have the urge to build one of these cool Claustral Cells. Part of me really wants to do it but the other part of me fears another escape. Maybe I'll just leave the ants in the garden where I can feed them pieces of candy and watch them march up and down plants.

I was telling some people over the weekend about my new hobby of collecting Cacti & Succulent plants. Of course no one understood why or was really interested so I didn't talk to much about it. But I got an e-mail from one of the persons that was there asking if I had something like the pic attached to this post. She wanted to give a Cacti just like this as a gag gift to a friend. Unfortunately (or is that fortunately?) I don't own any Cacti shaped like these but I found the pic to be pretty funny.

That's some "passion".

I happened across this site that had a lot of cool plants in it. There is a huge collection of Passiflora pic (which I have no luck germinating, btw) and some cool carnivorous plants. His growing set-up is crazy looking and something that either came out of the mind of a mad man or a serious plant lover. You can decide for yourself.


Three New Additions

I happened to be by a large nursery in the suburbs of Chicago. I was there a little early so I decided to wait for them to open. I was a little over whelmed with the plant selection especially when I noticed just how many C&S they had.

Unfortunately that early in the morning they couldn't make change so I came home with only three smaller plants. I got one good sized hanging planter of Ceropegia Woodii, one smaller pot of Lithops and an unknown. Here is a pic of the Lithops and the plant I need IDed. I had been looking for Lithops for the longerst time and now that I know where I can find them I will have to go back. Especially because the price was pretty reasonable. Both of the plants in this picture were $2.99


Amaryllis Seeds.

It seems like I have finally gotten seeds from my attempt at crossing my two Amaryllis that were in bloom at the same time. Unfortunately, the tags on each seed pod fell off and I can't remember which were the crosses and which were the ones I pollinated with the same flower. I should get some more Red Lions and more of the X I have, and maybe some interesting crosses from these batches of seeds. Here is a pic of the two flowers I crossed.


My first flower?

I think my pot of Semps is trying to flower. There are three rosettes that are pushing out a stalk. If it does bloom it will be my very first succulent to bloom for me. This was the second succulent I bought this past summer. I know the plant is nothing special but for me it is a big event, that I hope is repeated many times over. It has survived unfavorable living conditions and being unpotted and torn in half by some garden snatcher.


My Cacti & Succulent Collection

These are pics of the Cacti & Succulents that I own. I'll add more photographs as I take them.