Thursday, December 26, 2013

Year-End Activity

Following up to my last post, here are more status reports on what I have been doing and what the plants have been doing as we approach the end of 2013. When I was at Tree of Life a couple months ago they had a plant that I have never heard of before and is not listed in their catalog. It is Munzothamnus blairii. I assume the genus is named after the famous botanist, Philip Munz.  It seems to occur only on San Clement Island off the coast of San Diego County. It's an attractive plant so I bought it to add to the Channel Island section of the garden. It is in the Asteraceae family and has composite flowers, the ray flowers being pink to white. The leaves are also quite nice. Interestingly, this one was in bloom when I bought it and is continuing to put out new blooms. I'm excited about this one.

I also bought a couple of new cacti recently. The first one is a Cardon (Pachycereus pringlei). I bought it from Anderson's La Costa Nursery which is not a native plant nursery but occasionally has some California or Baja natives. This one was a good size (16 in.) and the right price. Cardons are slow-growing and so are usually somewhat pricey because the nurseries have to grow them for such a long time. Really old ones in Baja can be 60 ft. tall. This one is somewhat top heavy for its root system so I have it propped up for now.

I bought a couple more cacti from via ebay. They sell cacti and succulents from all over the world, including a number of California and Baja natives. I am super happy with the cacti that I got. The first one is a Cochemiea setispina from the mountainous region of central Baja. Although it is not a coastal species, I'm hoping it will do well in Encinitas. The thing I am most impressed with is the size of this specimen - 9 in. in diameter. Cochemieas are clumpers with multiple heads, like Echinocerus and some others. Mine has approximately 40 heads! If I wanted to put this in a container and take it to cactus shows, I'm sure it would be an award winner. But in want it in the ground in my Baja section. Note that I have used some bent wire coat hangers to pin it down until the roots become firmly attached to the soil. The Cochemieas have great flowers, and I'm looking forward to this one blooming.

The second one I bought from is a Ferocactus fordii from the coast of northern Baja. It is a smaller form of barrel cactus which I think will do well in a container. Again, this was a really nice size specimen for the price. I have bought other cacti from online dealers but they have always tended to be pretty small. I should also mention that these two were well packaged and delivered in great condition.

Although it's early in the season, a few plants are starting to bloom already. Below is a Dudleya candida that is putting up its inflorescence.

 Next is a Dudleya brittonii putting up multiple inflorescences.

Last of the early bloomers in my garden is a Ribes indecorum that is covered with tiny white flowers from top to bottom.

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