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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.