This year I went to the show for TWO days! My son in-law gave me two tickets. At first I didn’t know what to do with TWO tickets, and he suggested I either invite a friend or go on two days! DUH!!!
I chose the two days because I tend to be a “loner” at things like this. I hate to wait around for someone else to finish looking when I’m ready to move on. Not only that, I’m a “Seminar” kind of gal. I’d prefer to just look around at the displays quickly; check out all the things for sale; and then head for the Seminar rooms to learn something new and see some pretty spectacular gardening photography! So, that sounded like a great idea. I did it, and I’m so very glad! I had two days of seminars, as well as checking out the displays. I attended 7 in all, and learned a LOT!
Walking into the venue has the usual effect. Scents of Spring and color enough to blow your socks off. The exhibits were lovely, as usual. Even little children find them attractive!
I went to a number of seminars about Succulents. I have chosen to make my little garden here at Horizon House an “easy care” garden, and I chose to do that with various pots filled with SUCCULENTS! In these classes however, I learned that I wasn’t exactly doing it correctly. Right now everything is growing properly, but according to the “gurus” it probably won’t last that way. So, it’s back to the drawing board for me.
I need more sand and some gravel. That might be a bit tricky, but I’m up to the challenge. I have to remember that someday, someone else may garden my little plot, and they may prefer not to have gravel! (Gravel is a nightmare to remove.) Of course, the reason I’ve chosen pots is that the soil is root-bound from a neighboring tree. There will be no cutting back of those roots, because the tree is going to STAY! SO, the pots will have to have some sand and gravel added. I’m not in any huge rush. It will wait until the weather is cooperative, to say nothing of my body!
Which brings up another seminar I attended about “Adaptive Gardening”. This is a topic I am pretty conversant with. I edited a book on this topic awhile back. It ended up never going to print because the publisher ran into rough waters…but I learned a lot. Perhaps this is a topic I should give a little talk about here at Horizon House. Maybe in June, which the Garden Committee has dubbed “Garden Month at Horizon House”.
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Crab Cactus, Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus, or Thanksgiving Cactus whatever you call it will (probably) have to do with when it blooms. They are ALL Schlumbergera bridgessii which is MUCH too hard to pronounce, to say nothing about spelling! So any title you choose to give it will work!
They come in many flower colors, sizes, and leaf shapes, but they are popular enough that even the greenest (pun intended) of gardeners can identify them!
I bought a white one last year, in full and massive bud for a little plant.
It was dirt cheap (no pun here!) since it was past the season (whatever season that might have been, knowing this plant). I picked it up at the local grocery store for about $7.00! I couldn’t resist, especially since I’ve never owned a white one. Actually, when it blooms it has a blush of pink. So much for white! But it was very pretty, and still is. However, this year instead of about 30 flowers it only has 5.
I’m sure it’s because it was raised (before I got it) in a greenhouse, where on my shelf it doesn’t get much sun at all.
My purpose for this post today is to help all of you who have one of these Schlumbergera bridgessii treat them so they give you as much pleasure as possible.
- Sun exposure should be moderate.
- Temperatures should be 60*-70* which is perfect for a home environment. Note: most bud drop is caused by temperatures being too high, or light being too low.
- Humidity should also be moderate.
- Fertilizing should be done when it’s in a growth period, which is commonly between April and October. A complete indoor plant fertilizer will be fine. Less is more as far as strength!
- Watering-it should be moist when in a growth period, but NEVER allow the soil to be WET! When it’s “resting”, cut back on the water, only watering when it’s dry.
- Propagation-can be easily accomplished by cutting a section (at a joint) of more than 2 or 3 segmented stems, after letting them dry out for a few days, root them either in water, or damp sand. Once they are rooted they can be planted in a peat based compost, or potting soil.
- Resting Period is after they bloom. At that point they need to have less water; cooler temperatures; darker location and perhaps a summer vacation outside in a sheltered spot, hopefully safe from snails. This can be difficult to offer a plant for many people, meaning that blooms may not be as prolific. I’m sure that is what happened to mine! We live in a small apartment with limited exposure to sun on the window space. It did NOT get outside this summer-next summer it will!!! I’d check the soil every two weeks or so in our Pacific Northwest climate to be sure it doesn’t get TOO dry. They can stay outside until temperatures drop below 50*.
- Blooming Period-as soon as buds appear, cut back on the water, and don’t allow the temperature to drop below 55*.
So, there you have it. I hope all these tips help you deal with Grandma’s Christmas (or whatever) Cactus. It shouldn’t die on YOUR watch if you pay attention to all the advice I’ve given you here.
Maybe this is the year to make cuttings for next Christmas and give each family member their own piece of that family “heirloom”! Enjoy!
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Posted in Container gardening, Drought Resistant, Drought Tolerance, Gardening, hens and chicks, succulents, Trees, water conservation, tagged apartment living, container plants, drought tolerant, plant roots, water conservation on September 20, 2016|
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I did it! I jumped for a “garden” here at Horizon House! Actually, it’s a plot that cannot be gardened in the usual sense. It has roots from a Japanese Maple that we like a lot. We don’t want to cut out the roots, as we’d lose the tree! Drucilla, who had that plot, was moved to a place where she could actually dig. Now, what to do with that useless plot???
Just cover it with mulch? Why not place some pots there?
We had just cleaned up the three (3) decks so they could be resurfaced, which meant that all the pots sitting on those decks had to be removed. There was ample time for folks to claim their pots. I didn’t really want to buy new pots, when all those unclaimed pots were just sitting in the storage room. So I picked out a few, and pressed them into service!
Betty had a pot that she was not going to be able to use. It had some geraniums in it. I asked if I could use it in my “new garden”. She consented. At first I was going to remove the geraniums, but then decided to keep them. I would lay that container on it’s side, and put the two other pots around it.
Charlie and August helped me by moving heavy pots, and filling them with wonderful new soil. I trimmed back the geraniums and am hoping they will reach for the sun and begin to grow in that direction. They will hopefully provide some color. I planted drought resistant plants (mostly succulents) in all three pots. I’m hoping they will require very little care, and after they settle in, should look pretty nice!
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Posted in Container gardening, Environment, Gardening, hens and chicks, irrigation, Patio Gardening, raingarden, rock gardens, succulents, tagged drought tolerant on July 17, 2015|
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We have struggled with water needs over the last few months in our HH garden beds and levels; we have been seeing the Environmental Group’s concerns “Living Dangerously” documentaries; we have been “enjoying” red sunsets caused by smoke from fires in Canada, mostly exacerbated by drought; and we have read articles about climate changing and global warming. But, what can WE do about that?
Well, we CAN do our little bit. In our apartments we are trying very hard to separate our trash, turn off lights, conserve water, etc. But, how about in our gardens? Are we being water conscious there?
Perhaps the next time you decide to purchase a plant for your garden, you should get one that is DROUGHT TOLERANT
. I have found a wonderful article from Washington State University Extension Service that addresses just that issue. I will give you the link here
. It is for a PDF. The flowering shrubs, vines and ground covers start on about page 13, but these are plants that would happily grow in your HH garden, with a lot less need for water.
Think seriously about the purchase of one of these next time you go to the nursery for plant replenishment!
I received an advertisement from Molbak’s
this past week. They are having a sale on “Hens & Chicks”. They are lovely little, drought resistant plants that would love a spot in your garden!
This PDF also shares many good tips, mostly targeting large gardens…but many of the techniques can be tailored to our little beds. Give it a try. Read it seriously, and see if you can’t make your little piece of paradise a little less dependent on so much water!
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Posted in Container gardening, Environment, Gardening, greenroof, hens and chicks, Indoor Gardening, irrigation, Patio Gardening, rock gardens, succulents, tagged apartment living on July 16, 2015|
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Succulents! If you are concerned (which you SHOULD be) about use of water in your garden…think about planting some succulents.The picture I have here is of what I call “Hens & Chicks”. I had these guys planted in many corners of my garden! They were in stones, by the sides of steps, in gravel, in places where nothing else would grow.
Here is a picture of some Hens & Chicks where you can see the little chicks peeking out from within the fleshy leaves of the mother plant. I would just gently pull these little guys out and stick their rootlets into the soil where I wanted them, and voila, before I knew it, I had a new “Hen” making her own “Chicks”!
Succulents are plants that have evolved into what is called “Xerophytic”. What that means is that they do not need much moisture at all in order to grow. Their roots are extremely shallow, which allows them to take advantage of very light rainfalls. Their leaves absorb that liquid, creating the “fleshy” leaves, the liquid of which can be drawn on during extended periods of drought.
Succulents can be indoor plants as well as outdoor plants. They are easy to grow, because of their seemingly total disregard for water. This makes for a GREAT (indoor OR outdoor) plant for a new gardener !
In this age of concern for use of water, there could not be a better choice! TRY them…you’ll LIKE them!
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