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Gardeners Share Garden Memories

Like gardens, garden blogs all reflect the gardeners that tend to them. In our garden blogs we record the highs and lows we experience gardening; the plants that arrive, the seeds we sow, and everything you'd expect to find in a garden journal. Sometimes you come across a garden blog entry that goes beyond the standard "garden journal" entry and the gardener shares something personal that gives you insight into the heart and mind of the gardener.


String Of Hearts Vine Propagation

String of Hearts Vine, along with Rosary Vine, is a common name for Ceropegia woodii. Ceropegia woodii is a popular hanging houseplant because it is easy to care for, beautiful and being a succulent it is very forgiving to being under-watered. When being grown indoors as a houseplant it is recommended to grow it in a very bright area where it receives direct sun. I grow my plant in a west facing window and don't supplement the low light levels with grow lights and it does pretty good for me. If you're interested I've written a previous post titled Ceropegia woodii: String of Hearts where you can see a photo of the flower. While better known for the foliage and tubers this plant does produce a small flower that is as interesting, if not more, than the tubers and leaves.
String of Hearts,Rosary Vine tubers


Don't Quit Your Day Blogs

Growing up in an urban area you quickly learn who your friends are by noticing "who has your back." Having someone's back can range from being there for moral support to putting yourself in harms way to protect your friends. One of the instances where I have trouble having someone's back is when a friend is obviously in the wrong or I don't support their position. And right now I don't like the OpenID comment feature on Blogger but I can't help defend it against other garden bloggers who don't seem to have a firm grasp on technology in general.


A Call For Garden Blog Entries

I've recently come across an entry on a blog that I found to be particularly touching and I'd like to link to it (and others) in a post here. Have you read an entry on a garden blog where the gardener shared something personal and touching? Maybe they talked about who the first person was to nurture the gardener inside him/her, wrote about a plant they are growing that once belonged to someone special in their life, anything you found interesting or that touched you.

Propagating Adenium Obesum By Cuttings

In a previous entry I wrote about how the warm temperatures indoors this winter were causing my Adenium obesum to break dormancy. Since my Adeniums don't want to stay dormant and prefer to grow during this time I figured I'd take advantage of the situation and propagate a branch or two from my plant. Normally propagation of plants is done during the spring and summer when plants are actively growing but I think I can have some success with a little extra care. Here I used a specialized bonsai tool called a 'concave cutter' but a sharp pair of scissors or shears should be adequate. The reason I used a concave cutter is because unlike garden pruners you're familiar with a concave cutter doesn't make a flat cut but a concave one. The reason a concave cut is desired is because this help a tree heal faster and when the wound closes it isn't as noticeable. To see larger pictures in this entry click the images to enlarge them.


Houseplant Photography Tip

I received an email from a visitor to this garden blog asking me how I achieve the black background in my houseplant photos. To be 100% honest I do own a high-end photo editing program that I could use to make my backgrounds darker or lighter and sometimes I do use it for that purpose. But most of the time I get my background as close to black as possible using only a piece of black cardboard and sunlight coming in through a window. Then, if I'm not satisfied enough with the results I'll darken the background in the photo editing program.


Donald Trump Loves Ficuses

The City Council of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif has ordered Donald Trump to remove a ficus hedge he installed at the Trump National Golf Club without getting permission. The 10-foot-high hedge is now blocking the ocean view of some of the neighboring homes.

Echeveria 'Black Prince' Propagation

Echeveria 'Black Prince'
Back in August I blogged about restarting an Echeveria where I bemoaned having to take cuttings from this succulent that had become leggy. One of the problems I encounter as an indoor gardener is that I love plants that need very bright sunlight to keep their compact shape. Often times indoors I can provide it and the plants start to stretch or even worse start to deteriorate.


Dot Com Your Garden Blog

Due to the overwhelming demand (OK, one person) I'll briefly touch on turning your garden blog into a custom domain and the benefits. Recently, when I wanted to set up a blog to be exclusively about my Amaryllids I decided to take advantage of blogging with a custom domain. While a great feature on the surface there is one annoying "glitch" that Blogger needs to fix for it to be the great tool that they thought they were going to provide us with.

Rotting Leaves On Aloe Plant

In the post about Aloe Vera Houseplant Care a visitor by the name of Bridget posed the following question:

"I have been having trouble with my aloe lately, usually it loves me, it even bloomed for me over the summer and gave me about 15 little ones I've been having to give to people because I don't know where I can put them. Unfortunately  I accidentally let it freeze, it summers outside, and a sudden freeze came up before I could move it inside. When I did get it inside, it was frozen, and after it thawed it became very wilted, and now it is giving off a smell of rotting, and oozing a dark brown liquid from the tips of it's leaves. There are still viable leaves in the very middle of the plant, but I'm concerned with trimming off the bad leaves and shocking it too much. Should I just give it up and let it go? I would like to try to get it healthy because I've had this one aloe for over 7 years."

Dealing With Content Theft

I said I'd make one last post on this subject and this one should do it for now. When I've found that my text or images have been published in whole on another site (usually without credit) the first thing I've done is contact the webmaster. You can usually find a "contact" page somewhere on the website. I've made sure to keep my tone respectful and maybe even friendly. Recently, I found my posts being republished on a site after I'd been asked and said I wasn't interested. That time my tone wasn't very friendly or respectful especially after I noticed that the website was offering to pay gardeners to create original content while taking mine even after I'd said no.


Christmas Cactus Losing Branches

In the comments section of the entry for How To Make Your Christmas Cactus bloom are visitor asked this question that I thought was pretty interesting.

...Periodically, they insist on dropping branches. They seem fine and then just drop large healthy looking limbs. My plant is slowly getting sparcer instead of larger. Any ideas?-Sue

Sue, since you don't make any mention of disease or pests and say that your plant loses healthy limbs this may be an instance where "it just happens" or we may have to do some plant detective work.

The fleshy stems of Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) hold water and it may be that you're watering too much. But overwatering would usually be accompanied by root rot or some visible signs in the leaf segments of this cactus or flower bud loss.

Also, you don't mention where the stem loss is occurring on your plant. Are the stems that are falling off on the outside of the plant or is it losing stems from within the center of the plant? If it is the outside of the plant have you considered the possibility of people or pets brushing up against it and breaking off a piece? You mentioned in the comment that you live in an area where you can now grow these outside; besides people and pets maybe it is being visited by squirrels, birds or some kind of "garden pest." If the stem loss is occurring within the center of the plant it may be because of low light. When sufficient light fails to reach the center of a bushy plant it will drop leavs from the center and branches die back.

Why I think it may "just happen."

Think about where these plants are native to and how they grow there. They can be found growing overhead in the tropical rainforest. Another clue could be the design of the plant itself. Why did the plant evolve to grow leaf segments that break and root easily instead of a long vine like an ivy? We know that the plant grows high up in tree branches so maybe the stems breaking and falling off is a necessity. If a Schlumbergera is growing high up in a tree and a branch breaks- it falls and perhaps gets stuck on a tree branch below. Withing a few weeks the piece that broke off is rooted, growing and a whole new plant is created. You can use this to your advantage by rooting the branches that break off and planting them back into your potted plant. See my entry on Rooting Christmas Cactus Cuttings by following that link.

Some things I think you can safely eliminate as the cause of your branch loss.

Underwatering: The branches wouldn't look "healthy"- they'd shrivel or turn brown and crisp.
Cold temps: If your plant was exposed to cold temperatures it would also show signs in the branches and leaf segments. The color would darken to a black or brown and become mushy.
Hot temp: Again the branches would turn brown and crisp from drying out.

Hope this helps and thanks for stopping by and asking a question that gave my brain a workout.


How To Shorten Your Feed

If you've been following the controversy involving The Grow Spot garden forum and their use of garden blog feeds you may want to shorten your feed to make your content less desirable to places like this. I'll try to make this simple and short but I have a tendency to ramble and make things more complicated than they should be; if you find that to be the case feel free to say something and I'll edit this post for clarity.


ThanksGiving Cactus Red-Orange Flower

The second to last of my Thanksgiving cactus flowers. The buds on this plant were a nice orange color but when they unfurled they looked more of red-orange maybe it is the addition of the white throat that changes the color temperature? This year I've realized that were these holiday cacti are concerned you can't judge the final bloom color by the color of the bud. My fuschia colored buds were more of an Asian red color and my white buds had a pink hue to them.

Younger Gardeners-Older Gardeners

I came across this entry by Katie at about leaving a comment on this entry by Kathy Purdy at The two posts touch on the observation that older gardeners don't blog much and that we're missing out on the information they have to pass on.


TheGrowSpot.Com Gets TheSmackDown

Luba Spichkin: content thief or web developer?


How To Pollinate Thanksgiving Cactus

Schlumbergera, Zygocactus, Thanksgiving Cactus shape(notice the shape of Thanksgiving cactus flowers)


Desert Rose Breaking Dormancy

Adenium Obesum Breaking Dormancy(Desert Rose (Adenium Obesum) breaking dormancy)


Thanksgiving Cactus Red Flower

The second flower on my Thanksgiving cacti is flowering. I'm really bad at describing colors outside of the primary colors, so this one will be called red. In reality it isn't very "red" but my color vocabulary leaves much to be desired and fails to adequately describe this "red" flower which looks like red satin fabric.


New Comment Feature in Blogger

Blogger is experimenting with OpenID and is trying to make it easier for people who don't blog on Blogger to be able to comment. I just noticed that a non Blogger gardener tried to comment with the old feature and was having trouble. I've enabled the new comment feature through Blogger In Draft to see how it goes.


How To Pot An Amaryllis

How To Pot An Amaryllis(potted Amaryllis bulb)
I purchased an Amaryllis kit at full price instead of waiting until the day after Christmas to buy them when Amaryllis bulbs are discounted 50%-75% off. It feels strange paying full price for an Amaryllis bulb and the cashier practically had to wrestle the money from my hand but in the end I justified the purchase because it would make a blog entry.

Thanksgiving Cactus Pink Flower

Thanksgiving Cactus Pink FlowerI think my Schlumbergera truncata has decided to make a liar out of me- there may be five of these holiday cactus plants in on the conspiracy. After I made the post about which of these holiday cacti were the real and fake Christmas Cactus none of mine flowered for Thanksgiving and I think they did it on purpose. Two of them are flowering now and the three remaining should be flowering on or around Christmas at the rate they are going.