Succulent Ramblings

I like to ramble on about my plants... and other things! My hope is to log the progress of plants and talk about my frustrations with others. So, tune in, turn on, or drop out (if you find it boring!)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Well, here it is, nearly the end of April already! It's been a busy few weeks... Let's see - I got a batch of 18 Hens & Chicks from Jiimz on eBay and planted them out around my barrel (I'm hoping it looks good enough to post a pic by summer's end...) Looks like a fair number of the ones I planted last year made it through the winter - yay! I'm especially glad to see the red ones made it. But now I'm looking at that "little" tree (a spruce or pine of some sort) that I planted close by and I'm thinking it's going to have to go. It's growing awfully fast and will soon shade my little H&C bed. Maybe we can find a way to plant it at work...

I also got some very nice plants on eBay. I got a little Aloe hybrid (something close to 'PePe'):

This tiny Aloe is probably a hybrid of descoingsii and maybe aristata. I also got another Aloe, sladeniana, which reminds me a lot of Aloe variegata but less upright and more spreading and low to the soil. (**Later edit: lost the plant, had to delete the pic due to space on my PT account...) This was the first one I bid on with this seller (TeeDeeCacti) and they held it for a couple of weeks while I found a couple more to buy. In the meantime, it produced a flower spike and has since flowered. Very pretty flowers, too! It was a real bargain - a large plant for the price. The third one I got from these folks is a Gastrolea 'Katherine MacDonald' - a pretty hybrid that I haven't gotten a pic of as yet. All were healthy plants and I'm very pleased with this seller!

Next, I got some cuttings - first, a very nice lady on GW sent me a cutting of Hoya pubicalyx 'Royal Hawaiian Purple." The flower on this gets grapey-purple, so I'm looking forward to getting it established. She even sent a cutting with a peduncle that's active - of course, it's likely it'll abort the flowering process, but there's a good chance I could get it to flower within a year with the peduncle on it.

Then Yale Sedman sent me several cuttings. I got another cutting of Dischidia ovata from him (I'd gotten a couple a year or two ago and asked for another to "fill in" the pot...) It's one of my favorite Dischidias for it's beautiful markings...
The vine gets really woody as it ages and the older leaves bump off easily, so it's best kept someplace out of harms way. The leaves get bronzy in the sun, which is particularly attractive. (I'll post a pic of it at another time...)

He also sent me a couple other Dischidia cuttings - acutifolia (which he noted was positively ID'd by Tatyana Livshultz) and benghalensis. Both are in their little "hot house" plastic tents rooting. He also sent along a cutting of Hoya carnosa 'Krinkle 8" and one of minibelle, which isn't nearly as "mini" and I thought it would be!

My Hoya obscura set it's first bud about 6 weeks ago. But, damn if it didn't mature and open when Mom and I were out at Wes's house the week of the 9th!! I was so ticked off - I've seen pics of the flowers and although they're tiny, they're really stunning (and fragrant, I understand...) Well, I suppose since it's flowered once, it surely will do so again. Hoya brevialata has it's first flower almost ready to open. I check it daily to make sure I don't miss it!

While I was out at Wes's, I made him take me to the usual EA plant places - Walmart, Lowes, HD. I found another Dischidia nummularia and a huge pot of very healthy looking Hoya curtisii at Lowes. The Hoya was the discovery of the year, I think! I'm watching it closely, hoping it does well for me. I don't know, though - it was absolutely soggy-wet when I got it. I still haven't watered it since I got back, and it's been nearly two weeks. I intend to let it dry out pretty good before I water it... I may even try to repot it into my soil, but that could prove very difficult. Here's a closeup of the gorgeous foliage...

The foliage makes this one well worth growing - even if I never get flowers, this will be a beautiful plant!

As for my trip out to Wes's, we drove out to Peoria on Sunday (the 9th) and stayed there, went to the casino for a couple of hours. Then we drove on into Indianapolis on Monday, getting there around noon. It was great to see Wes, Sally and little Abby, the wonder dog. We went and got Aunt Mary (who lives about 50 miles away in Alexandria) and brought her back to Wes's house for a two night stay. She's certainly showing her age (I think she's about 85) and I was thinking it might be the last time I get to see her since I only get out there about once every 3 or 4 years... We took a good pic of her and Mom...

I had Wes take the pic because he's a better picture-taker than me. I've printed a couple copies of it and plan to frame them, one for Mom and one for Aunt Mary. Mom really dotes on her when they have their annual visits at Wes's house, which is a good thing. I don't think she gets much attention where she lives (at her granddaughter's house...)

I also took a pic of Abby - looking cute as ever:

Unfortunately, it's not a real CLEAR pic - I'm just not a great picture-taker without my tripod! I guess I move too much... Should have let Wes take this one, too!

On our trip back home, we stopped over in Iowa City for the night. The night before, they had a tornado come through and apparently the downtown area was quite a mess. We didn't see any of the damage (except on TV...) but it was a little scarey to think we'd missed it by less than 24 hours!

Anyway, last but not least, I finally took a deep breath and ordered 5 new Hoyas from Aloha Hoyas. They're not cheap, and I've been a little leary to order from them because I hate to spend a lot of money and get plants that falter. But I read their rating on Garden Watchdog and they get nothing but rave reviews over there, for both plant size and quality. So I thought I'd give them a try and see if I'm equally impressed. I've e-mailed back and forth with the owner, Carol, a few times and she seems very helpful, friendly and talkative, which I like. She said they would ship them out next Tuesday, and since they're coming from Hawaii, it sounds like they'll be FedEx or one of those fast ways. I'm getting four plants and one unrooted cutting. I'll post back after I get them with pics...