Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Euphorbia lactea cv. 'White Ghost'
Euphorbia lactea is in fact a true tropical plant only hardy to 40°F and must grow it either in pot or in the ground in very protected location. This being said, it is one of the few columnar Euphorbias that do exceptionally well in very wet, humid climates. It needs bright light to partial shade for best appearance (the plant that shown here, to the right is the 'White Ghost' cultivar a highly variegated form which I grow in bright shade for even a small amount of sun burns it). It responds well to warmth, with its active growth period in the late spring and summer months and during this time it needs to be watered thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch (more than once a week during the height of summer). The most common failure in growing this plant is over watering, and during the winter months, waterings should be restricted to once over the winter. Another important key to success is drainage, using porous soil is imperative. This is a slow growing plant, though the cristate forms seem particularly slow growing. Cristate forms are usually grown as grafted plants and that may have something to do with their slow growth rate.
Euphorbia lactea forma cristata variegata
Many succulents exhibit the occasional 'monstrose' plant, where the variation from normal growth is due to genetic mutation. However, in the Euphorbia family, the crested growth can occur on normal plants. Sometimes it's due to variances in light intensity, or damage, but generally the causes are unknown. A crested plant may have some areas growing normally, and a cresting plant that looks like a brain, may revert to normal growth for no apparent reason. You can see normal growth in the bottom left of the top photo, this will need to removed so the crested section can continue to grow.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
There is an underground revolution spreading across Harvard University this fall. It’s occurring under the soil and involves fungi, bacteria, microbes and roots, which are now fed with compost and compost tea rather than pesticides and synthetic nitrogen.
The results have so astounded university administrators that what started as a one-acre pilot project in Harvard Yard has spread organic practices through 25 acres on the campus..... Read More
I could sit and conjecture all day about why I'm the only person my age I know that loves, or even has a remote interest in gardening. As a recently graduated college student who has kept her passion amongst all the other skeletons in the closet, I have come to realize when it comes down to it, it's the reaction that I get from my friends after I tell them that I spent my Saturday driving an hour and a half to a new nursery-- like I have just admitted to something really guilty. Gardening is just not cool.Gardening has come a long way over this past year thanks to the intense Topsy Turvy infomercials and the positive press surrounding the Obama's veggie patch. I would go so far to say it's even quite trendy now to have a couple of tomato plants on your balcony.
Despite this good publicity, the stereotype is that any routine garden centre is filled older women wearing lots of knits or pachouli burning "granolas" who also wear a lot of knits when a well-meaning GenY or X walks in, they are going to be completely overwhelmed. Even when I walk into a gardening center, an orchid society meeting, or a seminar I am most always the youngest person, and I always feel a bit uncomfortable. Nowhere are there positive, marketed images of young middle-of-the-road people engaging in earth moving, seed sowing, tree planting etc. HGTV just isn't targeted for a young audience, neither are any of the advertising campaigns generated by the big name-brands, or Big Boxes.
I hope that as I continue this blog and continue to go to work everyday and sell dirt, fertilizer, veggies, cacti, and everything else that is good and leafy I set a positive example for a few people. My peers need to know that it's okay to check out a community garden, or hook up some grow lights so you'll never need to use another dried herb again (the later is my preferred method, because when I come home late from work, sunshine is available with the flip of a switch).
Obviously, regardless of my friends and peers, I love gardening. My friends tolerate my chlorophyll generated eccentricities because they can attribute my blind devotion to my job, and my employer loves the fact that I spend my time off engaged in The gardening world expects me to be a soccer mom, and the rest of the world expects me to have a garden full of weeds (no pun intended) with no interest in the field. I don’t fit in, and neither do my fellow GenYs and Xs. I just hope that gardening doesn't get lost somewhere down the road, succumbed finally to pre-cooked cellophane wrapped
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
The rain has come, finally. Although the forecast is not calling for a torrential downpour it's a wise idea to bring under a shelter. My astrophytum and Ariocarpus now have a nice spot on my dining table. Watch those mold and white fly susceptible plants for any signs of distress and treat immediately. I applied Worm-Gro earthworm castings (a natural systemic) to my hibiscus as a preventative, and stocked up on Bayer Tree and Shrub spray as a backup.