Friday, March 29, 2013

a very unfortunate order of events...

Last Sunday was one of those days when I head out to the garden with a specific task to accomplish, but soon found myself caught up in 100 small projects. In the end I accomplished what I had set out to do, but not before a bit of drama unfolded.

My first cylindropuntia was a gifted cutting, that’s it above in a photo taken last spring. I stuck it in the ground (like I do regular old opuntia pads) figuring it would root. Last weekend I noticed instead of sticking straight up, or out to the side, the arms were deflated and facing downward. I pulled it out of the ground and found this…

Instead of rooting it had died, the flesh gone and the dry skeleton remaining.

At the top of the skeleton there were still spikes.

Of course I thought that dried bit of plant skeleton was pretty cool and took it up by the house to save it (that was my first mistake). Then I went back to work, sticking the sad (but possibly still living) cylindropuntia arms in the ground, figuring maybe they’d root and live on (ever the optimist). That’s a few of them at the bottom middle of this picture…

As I was planting I had a flip-flop blowout…

So I tossed the dead flip-flops aside and finished what I was working on, barefoot. That was my second mistake. Because I then stepped on one of these which had fallen off the skeleton and was lying in the driveway…

There was much swearing, loudly. You cannot imagine the pain. Really. I’ve stuck a few opuntia spikes or glochids in my feet before, and been poked by agave tips…but to be walking along and put your foot down full force on a cluster of these spikes…it was intense. I was home alone so I hobbled into the house to get the tweezers. Those spikes were in my foot as far as they could go and did not want to come out. It took all my strength to pull and pull and pull again. Finally after the last one came free; I nearly passed out from the pain. I am not exaggerating.

For just a fleeting moment, a 100th of a second, I was regretting my love for the spiky things. Naturally once I was sure I would live to walk another day I got over that. However I do thank my lucky stars I am the one to have stepped on it, not these furry feet which regularly walk up and down the driveway with no shoes on…

So since we’re on the topic of the cactus let’s have a look and see how they’re all doing, post-winter...

First up the cylindropuntia I bought at Hillside Desert Botanical Gardens last summer, both of them are looking good!

Guess it helped to buy them already rooted.

I am thrilled the Echinocereus hybrid (also from H.D.B.G.) made it and looks good!

Opuntia basilaris ‘Sara’s Compact’ is happy, although I did recently cut off an ugly pad.

Opuntia Engelmannii lives on, actually all the opuntia look pretty good…

Opuntia humifusa

Opuntia x rutila

Maihuenia poeppigii

And a couple of misfits, this one pulled from my in-laws driveway when it was about an inch tall…

And this one, who came along with the care package of opuntia sent to me last spring from David at The Desert Edge...

After a few days of swelling and pain my foot is back to normal, the pain just a memory. The moral of the story…don’t walk barefoot through the desert, even in Portland, Oregon.

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chelsea Physic Garden, London

Honestly I didn’t plan for it to happen this way…I looked at the topics I had to post about and decided it was high time I go through the photos I took at the Chelsea Physic Garden. As I started to write “it was about 6 months ago…” I looked at the date on the photos and realized it wasn’t “about” it was exactly 6 months ago that I visited, on Thursday, September 27th, our last day in London. How quickly time passes.

The same could be said about the day I visited. By the time I made my way to the garden (having left Andrew a few blocks away at the Army Museum) I only had a little over an hour before they closed. I wasn’t sure what to expect…this is what I’d read online: “The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673, as the Apothecaries' Garden, with the purpose of training apprentices in identifying plants. The location was chosen as the proximity to the river created a warmer microclimate allowing the survival of many non-native plants - such as the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree in Britain - and more importantly, to allow plants to survive harsh British winters.” There is much more to read here.

It was a lovely afternoon and I thoroughly enjoyed wandering the pathways through the garden. There is a plan to the layout but I’m afraid it won’t be terribly obvious from my photos, and I tried to scan the map I picked up but you still couldn’t read the labels. So just join me as we bounce around checking out the plants…

Eryngium lassauxii from S. South America

Eryngium eburneum, South America

Phoenix canariensis, Canary Islands

Echium wildpretii. There was a sign nearby saying "these plants are from the Macronesian Islands"...

Echium pininana, Canary Islands

Most of their Echium had these sicks stuck in the ground near the plant. It took me awhile to figure it out but they must be for securing the plant once it sends out it's tall bloom?

Like this!

Genista aetnensis, native of Sicily. And to think I have two of these planted in the front garden, they do get large!

Anthyllis barba jovis, from the Mediterranean

Pandanus amaryllifolius


Luma apiculata, (Chilean Myrtle)...look at that bark!

Colletia paradoxa, from Brazil and Uruguay

Colletia infausta, Chile

This was part of the section called "garden of useful plants"


Jubaea chilensis, Chilean Wine Palm

Butia capitata, I think it's been a bad palm to be tied up like that...

Dasylirion acrotriche, Mexico

Now we're over in the fern corner...

And inside the "cool fernery"

The outside of the fernery...

So many cool plants mashed together!

You've been warned...

It's just about closing time, but I've got to peek in the glasshouses!

Leucadendron argenteum

Beshorneria tubiflora, Mexico

As I was leaving (having been told it was closing time more than once…) I noticed this huge clump of what has to be Acanthus sennii (I couldn’t find a label)…

Wow! I would be thrilled if my tiny plant ever achieved this size. Maybe I need to reconsider its location.

With that we wrap up our visit to the Physic Garden as well as my trip to London. It’s been grand fun reliving it all over again. If you’re curious about any of the other places I visited they can all be seen under the label (lower right sidebar) of London 2012.

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.