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!)

Thursday, April 27, 2023

The end is near...

04/17:  My poor mother... she's really having a hard time transitioning.  And I feel so helpless.  All I can do is wake her up and give her more meds.  Hospice gave her morphine and anti-anxiety medicine to take together as a sort of "relax and sleep" cocktail.  It's little doses that can be taken at one hour intervals.  We both forgot to give it to her last night.  (She's been doing it mostly just at bedtime.)  She slept all day and I guess that's what threw us off.  Anyway, she had a bad night and a bad start to today (like yesterday) so she went back to bed and I gave her doses, one per hour for the first 3 hours.  Then I waited two and she had another.  Now it's been 3 hours and she didn't want another dose yet. She's utterly miserable.  We just talked for a bit - she wishes Wes (my brother) would grab her hand and pull her out of that old body into what's next.  I told her I'm talking to him every minute... apparently, he can't do that for whatever reason.  He'll know the moment she's ready.

And that's all I'm going to say on that subject.  I'm living it and that's enough.  No need to dwell on what's right here...  So on to the subject of plants!  Spring is definitely in the air, but we're still on that back-and-forth, yo-yo kind of weather.  Warm (had to turn on the A/C for 2 days last week!) then cold... It went from A/C weather one day to furnace weather the next.  We got cold rain and gales that howled for about 36 hours!  Today it's a perfect 65 degrees and still as can be.  As soon as it reached 40 this morning, I put plants back out.  I left out the little bulbs I've potted up with towels over them, and my Jade plants.  Well, Thursday and Friday nights it's supposed to fall below freezing, so it will ALL have to come back in for a couple days.  Maybe after that, it can all stay out, but you can't bank on it...

So I've potted up another batch of little SA bulbs, so right now I'm hovering at about 160 or so.  I wish they'd get to growing.  I can't sell them in 2 weeks if they have no leaves on them.  I have more pots of bulbs to break apart...

I got up to the top shelf to do some watering today and found two of my newest Haworthias looking like a million bucks:

I believe the top one is one of the emelyae hybrids and the bottom one is the one they call H. pumila 'Donuts'.  You can see why with the little circles!  Both are looking magnificent!  I hope to split up some of my really overgrown Haworthias this year...

I took my Hoya surigaoensis to the sink yesterday and took a deep breath and cut off the biggest leaf.  It had an imperfection on it, right in the middle, that has bugged me for a couple years.  But it was otherwise such a HUGE beautiful leaf, it was hard to get myself to do it.  I should have done it sooner.  Every time I look at it, my eye is drawn to that imperfection.  Now it's a beautifully pristine plant!

What spectacularly shiny big leaves this one has!

I have a Echeveria that has been blooming.  The pot it's in actually has three different Echeverias in it...


I may have to restart the plant itself once it's done blooming as it has a long stem.  I did that last fall with a couple Echeverias and one is in the front window and is budding up!  I'm surprised that it will bloom this quick after getting whacked just a few months ago!

Check out my Hoya carnosa ssp. carnosa:

This darling is growing like a freakin' weed!  I lost count of how many new vines and growth points it has!  I think it must be very happy in it's spot in the sunroom.

My one and only moth orchid has been under the grow light in the sunroom for awhile and it's rewarding me with a flower spinke, first time in a few years!


I'd forgotten how pretty it was!  The plant itself looks kind of meh... I don't think it looks very good.  When it's done blooming, I may just toss it and get a new one.


 04/20  Three days later and Mom's still hanging in there.  All she's getting down is ice chips.  A couple days ago she tried a sip of water and it got her hacking and spitting, so now she only does ice chips.  She's SO out of it, though we did have a fairly lucid conversation last night.  Her eyes were all but closed, but we chatted a bit.  It's hard for her to keep focused.

 04/22 This is the day I think she's been waiting for.  It's her birthday.  She was almost there last night around 11:30 - I was sure she was making the transition, and I'm thinking maybe she did.  There has been really no lucid conversation in a couple days, though she has been calling out to Grandma Dora and even Connie a couple times.  Mostly her mom..  Merry has been here since yesterday morning.  I think she felt like the time is near and she needs to be here in spite of it being their busy time.  Maybe that's why the weather has been cold - to make it so Rick can handle things on his own right now.

 04/27  I'm going to finish and publish this.  Mom passed sometime in the night on Tuesday (the 25th).  She hadn't been responsive for about 4 days.  When I found her, I cried for about 5 minutes and then I told her "congratulations, Mom, you made it!"  I try not to think about the fact that I have to live the rest of my life without my mom because the idea can bring on a barrage of tears.  I have to tell myself that everyone goes through this, buck up!  Doesn't help, but then I just launch into a rampage of gratitude.  I'm grateful that she moved in with me a year ago and we got this year of constant companionship.  I'm grateful that she could spend her last days here in the comfort of what was her home, too, and didn't have to spend her last days and hours in a hospital or nursing home.  I'm grateful we had the aid of such wonderful hospice folks.  I'm grateful my job was so flexible that I was able to take that last couple months off to watch over her and help as much as I was able to. I'm grateful I had my mom for 64 years - I know SO many people (including Mom!) who lost their mothers quite young!  I'm grateful that we were so close, and so much alike that it was easy living together.  I'm grateful that she was clearly ready and slipped away with as much dignity as one can with some of the terrible things she had to endure the last few months.  And I'm grateful that we have this belief system that says she is NOT gone, that her spirit is right here with me until the day I join her.  

So, my first "sign" story is actually from the day before she passed.  I am of the belief that when someone is unconscious, comatose, unresponsive, whatever you want to call it, or even delirious, that person's spirit had probably already left their body.  It may still have a minor connection until the body stops, but I think they're mostly "out".  So I started asking Mom, by Sunday, please give me a sign if you're out.  It would make me feel a little better to know she wasn't suffering in there.  Monday, I opened the paper... here's my usual routine regarding the paper, which I get Mon-Fri.  I only get it for the puzzles, so I pull the puzzle page, fold it so the puzzles are on the outside and put it in the stack of puzzles.  Then when I feel like doing a puzzle, I pull from the stack, so I may be doing a puzzle from a month ago or last week.  That day, I decided to do "today's" puzzles.  When I got to the Jumble, here's what the words were:

I got chills when I filled in "Mommy", but then came "raven" - birds are purported to be messengers from our loved ones.  "Banana" I have to explain - my mom LOVES bananas, and I have to tell you that I have bought more bananas in the last year than I have bought in probably the previous 25 years!  I had to laugh at it!  And "handle"... I think she's saying "You can handle this!"  Wow, that just felt like a "here I am!!!" moment!

So it's been a weird couple days.  I've occupied my time cleaning out her drawers and packing her clothes to go to a shelter.  Going through my drawers as well... I don't know why, but this seems to be my coping mechanism.  I really dug deep and tossed and donated tons of shit after Mark died.  It kept me focused on other things.  To much "still" time can make grief really hard.  You have to keep moving or you can really get stuck in it!  I don't go back to work until next week, and then we have the plant sale the first weekend in May, and the farmer's market in Plattsmouth through the summer.  I will be fine!  And thank goodness for my every-day chat friend Marco.  

So today, I cleaned out drawers in the upstairs bathroom.  Boy do I feel like I accomplished something!  There was so much shit jammed in there, and so much I needed to toss.  It took me about 2 hours.  And I spent the rest of the day getting plants outside.  I hope I don't regret it - now I hear we're going to have 3 or 4 nights down into the upper 30's next week.  Yikes!  They'll just have to tough it out!

So quickly, before I'm off to fix my supper, here is the pic I'm using in Mom's obit:

It's from a 1997 article in Omaha Woman magazine about the business.  And here is the obit I wrote:

Karen Kay (Bean) Eveland, 82, passed away peacefully at home in Omaha on April 25, 2023. Karen was born in Villisca, Iowa on April 22, 1941 to Dora and George Bean.  In August 1957, she married John Delaine Fredell and moved to the Fredell family farm north of Stanton until their divorce in 1974. 

She was preceded in death by her son, Wes Fredell; parents Dora and George Bean; sisters Verla and Rosalie. She is survived by sister Judy; daughters Denise Evans and Merry Hadfield (Rick); grandsons Brian Hadfield (Ann) and Jeremy Hadfield (Kara); great-grandchildren Ella, Will, Henry, Winston and Poppy.

Karen is a beloved soul who will be missed by many. She has been a faithful mother figure, friend, confidant, and inspiration to many. She took most pride in being a mother, but she was also a successful business woman.  She started a catering business she dubbed “Karen’s Kitchen” in 1984 which she transformed into a full-service event planning and venue called “Karen’s Fireside” in Omaha and ultimately in Papillion, NE. 

Her wish was to be cremated with no immediate service, and an all-out party a few months after. We will announce this to all who knew her when plans are made! Please join us in celebrating the joy of her new adventure!

This is the long version I hope to put in the Villisca Review - that's where she was born and raised, Villisca, Iowa.  And Dad's family farm, where I grew up, is a few miles from Villisca - our address was a Villisca rural route address.  The Omaha World Herald charged $420 for the short version!  I'll insert what Villisca charges when I hear back from them...

Off to cook supper!


Thursday, April 06, 2023


Tues. 3/21:  Worked my ASS off today...  I worked on those bhutanica cuttings.  I got the rootball out of the old pot and filled it with new soil, stuffed as many of the nicest cuttings as I could into the old pot as possible, then started potting up the leftover cuttings.  They made 23 pots!!  Whoa... I wasn't expecting that!  But I'll have plenty of opportunity to sell them this summer between on-line sales and the Plattsmouth farmer's market.  I'm anxious to see how that goes...

Fri. 3/24:  I didn't get back to this as I had planned.  But I got a lot done.  I filled up those new shelves to overflowing with cuttings.  I have a little space in one flat on the second shelf, which I just added 4 cuttings of onychoides to.  And I have a few more spots on the bottom shelf.  Next I'm going to take down the macgillivrayii and take some cuttings off of it.  My thought is taking some cuttings early like this will hopefully inspire both of those late-starters to kick in and start groing early.  I sure wish I could inspire both of them to bloom!!

Today, I'm starting on the newsletter, so I will be bouncing back and forth between that, blogging and working on watering and cuttings.  On Wednesday, I was watering and came across my pot of Drimiopsis botyroides that's been in dire need of unpotting, separating and potting up individually.  I've been thinking I would do this with several of my SA bulbs that are really over-running me.  My thought was that it would be a good time to sell them at the Men's Club event in May, and whatever's left can go to the farmer's market.  Well, I got the clump out of the pot and discovered there are probably 100 or more bulbs in there, stacked 3 deep!  So I ordered 200 tiny 2" pots and they should be here today.  It's going to be a real chore, but I looked it up and I see that there are places selling those exact bulbs for $10 to $18 apiece!  Sheesh - I'd be perfectly happy to get a couple bucks for each one!

Just got done taking cuttings from macgillivrayii - I got 14 potted up!  I really whacked it back.  I figure I have two more smaller ones and I don't need so many.  And I can make good money on that one.

And the 2" pots came, so I started on those Drimiopsis bulbs.  I think I estimated pretty close - I got 49 of them potted up and it looks like I got through about half of them.  I'm exhausted!  I'll finish them tomorrow and have a firm number then.  I really need to "move out" last year's plants to make room!!  But now it's at least starting to get warm during the day, so I'll probably just put the Drimiopsis bulbs out every day until it's warm enough to leave them out...

3/25:  I finished potting up the Drimiopsis bulbs - they made 89 pots and probably half of them had 2 bulbs, and a few 3, so there were way more than a hundred!  And that doesn't count the 14 Schizobasis bulbs that were in there as well.  Let me correct that - 14 POTS of Schizobasis bulbs.  Some of those pots had more than one as well...  I put them outside again today, so in the next 6 weeks, they should get to looking pretty terrific and hopefully even grow.  Oh, and that number didn't include the 4 biggest bulbs I put in a pot to keep for myself!

I also repotted the Hoya monetteae into a deep/tall cermic pot.  It's going to be a crazy heavy plant.  And guess what?  It has new growth!  I'm so pumped - is has a set of baby leaves forming on one side of the node, and another (what looks like) single leaf forming on the other side of the node.  

Last Sunday, I got several plants at Bedwell's in Des Moines when the cactus club had their meeting there.  One was a huge Albuca spiralis bulb!  It was in a hanging pot (stupid) so I took it out and put it in a clay pot, hoping that will help it dry out between waterings.  It has a nice "head" of curly-cues and a flower spike.  It's a nice one!  Cost $20, but I'd say that's not that bad for it's size.  The bulb itself is about 4" in diameter! (The pot is a 6" pot...)

It takes a LOT of sun to keep the leaves curly, so I put it on the top shelf in the GH and will put it outside as soon as it's warm enough.

I also got a Crassula I've never heard of - C. orbiularis v. Rolularis.  A very strange plant! It was in full bloom, lots of dainty flower spikes with a little ball of flowers dangling at the top.  The flowers are pretty much done now, but I got a good pic of the plant:

What's really weird about it is that it gets all this additional growth in the center.  I picked one that didn't have all the extra growth in the center so I could watch it form.  It almost looks like it's spitting out pups right in the middle of the plant!  And I notice it looks like it MAY have a baby plant on one of the flower spikes!  Very odd...

3/26:  Today is snowing!  I won't be able to put all those baby bulbs out today, that's for sure.  Though they are predicting it will reach 41, so it will likely melt off pretty quickly.


4/6: Obviously, I didn't get back to this and a lot has happened since that very brief post on 3/26.  The Friday before the 26th, Mom had an MRI to determine the size of the cancer mass.  Then the next Monday, she had a PET scan to determine if the cancer had spread.  On Tuesday, we had a follow up the the radiation oncologist to go over the results of the PET scan - she has the anal cancer and cancer in one of her lungs.  Ever since her surgery (her colostomy), she's had this problem with food going down.  Not a problem with swallowing, mind you, but it's as if it's getting "stuck" halfway down.  It had gotten to the point that she couldn't eat anything solid.  As it turns out, they said that the cancer in her lung is pressing against her esophagus and kind of squeezing it closed.  She can take tiny drinks and get a little down, but she has to be very careful to give each drink time to go all the way to her stomach or it "piles up" and causes great pain.  She's pretty miserable when this happens.  So as a result, she just isn't eating anything solid at all, and she isn't drinking much either.  

So today, she started on hospice.  The nurse comes Monday and a "helper"... someone who can help her with showers and other needs... will come on Thursday.  We are able to increase visits as the process goes along and we need more help.  They are such amazing people - I can't say enough about the kindness and supportive nature of the people in hospice.  I think it will give Mom some peace of mind to know that they are here for us... and I do mean US.  I think she worries about how this will effect me, but I just want her to have an easy journey into her transition.  I don't want it to be hard for her.  I mean, it hasn't been easy, these last few months, and I'm just grateful she's here and I can help her through this.  And I don't want her to worry about me.  When she came to live with me a year ago (yes, it's already been a year!!!), my gut told me that she wasn't far from her transition.  I had seen some very big changes in the way she moves, her steadiness, her eating habits.  Maybe if she had come to live with me sooner it would have delayed the process a little... I guess we'll never know.  I'm just glad she's here now.

Ok, so on to my favorite distraction... plants.  Last Sunday, my cactus club went to Lincoln to a couple nurseries for a "field trip."  It was a fun day.  I bought a few plants and a few pots - managed to spend about $75!  Urban Trails is a really nice nursery.  Very well kept, very organized, lot's of variety, plants well tagged though not always accurate (as with most little nurseries).  The other one we went to, Oak Creek, has more tropicals, more common stuff, a few Hoyas, again often mislabeled, not as organized and not as well kept.  But a nice place.  

There's so much going on with my Hoyas, it's hard to know where to start!  My shepherdell  hasn't grown much in a couple years and not only that, it started losing leaves last fall and shed quite a few over the winter.  It wasn't a bunch at once.  It's just each week, I'd find two or three on the floor, or a couple yellowing leaves on the plant.  I was worried it was not going to make it through the winter.  Then it stopped about a month or two ago.  And now I find 5 or 6 super tiny leaves right up close the the soil line.  Absolutely NOTHING on any of the hanging stems.  But I'd rather have them up close to the soil line anyway because it makes the plant look fuller.  I'm excited!

The top photo is the biggest leaf.  All the others look like the bottom photo.  Very tiny, very fragile.  

This morning, I discovered my meredithii (formerly vitellinioides) has a tiny new pair of leaves and (hopefully) a vine.  I took 4  cuttings of it last fall because some of the leaves had, for some reason, developed crispiness along the edges.  I have one more leaf I need to remove from the plant for it to look pristine again, but I've been procrastinating...


It's even more exciting when I see it blown up like that!

And I'm off to see how Mom is doing and if she needs anything... More soon.



Saturday, March 18, 2023

 I'm spitting mad because this program keeps fucking up!  I had several paragraphs written and in the process of trying to "fix" a problem (it wanted to orient text centered instead of to the left), I lost it!  Grrrr... So this will be my attempt at recounting what I already wrote!

H. EPC 392 is showing signs of growth!  Last blog (last weekend), there was nothin', nada.  Today, there is a tiny set of new leaves emerging from a two-leaf cutting I put back in the pot probably 2 years ago.  Additionally, I see another spot that I'm pretty sure is a "growth nubbin" on the main plant.  Yippie!!

Yesterday, I took down H. shepherdell to water and saw one tiny new leaf forming.  A little disappointing, but it's not in a real high light spot.  And it was one of those beat up in last summer's hail storm.  So I removed some damaged leaves and took enough cuttings to pot up 7 to sell this spring.  That should inspire mother plant to start putting out more new growth!

I also took the plunge and whacked up my old bhutanica.  Wow, that was a project!  Took me over and hour and I had two flats (12x18) heaped with cuttings.  I soaked them in a sink of water and put them back in the flats with the intention of getting rid of the old soil in the pot today and potting up the best of the cuttings to keep, then making a (LOT!) of pots to sell.  I set the old rootball outside hoping it would freeze and just pop right out of the pot.  But it seems to have just "glued" it in there, so I brought it in to warm up.  Maybe by this evening, I'll be able to pop it out.  

In the process of cleaning the shelf where bhutanica sat, I found a container of rooting hormone.  I went ahead and used it on the shepherdell cuttings and will probably do so on the bhutanica cuttings.  I don't really think it's necessary this time of year, but what the hell - I don't want to just toss it and who knows... maybe it will make them root faster.  

H. macrophylla albomarginata is not even hinting at growing - well, not the mother plant.  It's another one that got beat up pretty bad last summer in the hail and I removed a lot of the damaged leaves to start new plants.  I put a potfull of cuttings to keep, thinking I might be ready for a new start of it anyway.  That one is growing!...

You can see the new developed leaves in the foreground - my thumb is on one of them.  And you can see the tiny new leaf on a new vine right in the center of the pic.  I'm very pleased with how it's doing!

I talked about how well deykeae is doing with the new foliage on the cutting I added last year.  Well, it's putting on new growth in several spots - new leaves are kind of bronze and fuzzy:

What I love most about this species is how it gets leaf clusters (kind of like my old fungii).  Here is a node with 7 leaves!...


It makes it look super bushy!

I'm conducting a little experiment.  A two-fold experiment.  My Schizobasis intricata (an African bulb) has been blooming and spewing seeds all over my livingroom shelf all winter. I decided to see how easily they grow from seed IF I TRY.  Oh, they grow in everything when I don't want them to!  But I've never been successful at growing things from seed ON PURPOSE.  So I took a lid from a large to-go plastic container and put about a half inch of soil on it.  I scattered a few hundred (yes hundred) seeds over it.  Well, I later discovered one of my Rhipsalis had shed a shit-load of it's "leaves" on the spare bed.  They looked perfectly healthy other than being detached from the mother plant, so I scooped them up and put them on top of the same soil.  Maybe they'll root, maybe they won't.  We'll see!

I try to mist it once or twice a day when I'm misting the rooting cuttings.

Another little experiment...  I also found two little pieces of wood on which I got two tiny orchids a couple years ago.  I lost the orchids but saved the mossed boards.  I decided to try starting a Dischidia ovata on one and a Hoya 'Mathilde on the other.  I set them against the rooting pot of H. rubra as I am misting that every day right now and I will mist them as well.  Once the rubra is well rooted, I may move them closer to the rooting cuttings to catch the daily mist if I think that's necessary.  But I figure by then, it may have developed into a daily habit and I can just leave them there. Here's how they look now:

I was watering on the top shelf (in the corner) and decided it's time to whack back the H. treubiana which has overtaken the top shelf, making it hard to get pots to sit level up there.  Just whacking that "overflow" produced 11 cuttings to root!  That's one that brings some nice money...But now I have to trek out to the garage to get more pots and it is bitterly cold and windy as hell.

And that's enough for today.  I'm feeling a little nap coming on and do I need it!  I'm going to Des Moines tomorrow for the cactus club meeting and we're going to Bedwell's, a nice greenhouse down in Norwalk.  They were hit by a tornado - was it last year or the year before?  I can't remember... Anyway, they got everything back in order and I'm looking forward to seeing it.  I guess they've greatly expanded their succulent collection!  Looking forward to it!

Sunday, March 12, 2023

And so on...

 Continuing with my observations...Last year, I accidentally ordered two H. EPC 1015, which is a cross between lambii and vitellina.  So I put them together in a 6" clay pot this morning.  I have a feeling it's going to be a heavy one and I hope it will be heavy enough, but I do worry a bit about being able to keep it watered enough as clay dries out faster.  I'll put it in a high profile place where I will be seeing it every day.  There's a tiny vine emerging from the soil in the plant in the front.  And apparently, I cut one of them last summer because one of the little pots had two starter plants.  I suppose it's possible it came that way, but it seems no one but me will do more than one cutting per pot...

I'd love to get my hands on a true lambii, and I did have one way back about 20 years ago.  It's an expensive and hard to come by species.  I think I got mine (a cutting) from Ted Green.  

I also repotted the new Dr. IBOK from CO Kathy this morning.  I decided it needed a hanging pot.  Wow, this one is a beauty with it's highly textured and largish leaves!  It's got a nice vigorous vine started with baby leaves - YAY!

H. vanuatuensis:  It looked pretty rough last year, so at the end of the summer, I repotted it into a smaller pot.  It was in a 8 or 10" EA pot because at one time, it was big.  But about half of it had died back - it was two plants and one was completely dead.  So I took the remaining one and put it in one of the small 4.5" hanging pots.  Well, here it is spring and it looks like its old self!  YAY! Today, I took two cuttings to root and put back in with the mother plant in hopes of getting it more balanced as it all comes out of one side of the pot.  But it definitely looks happy and healthy now.  Maybe I'll get some of those beautiful yellow blooms this year!
Sansevieria boncel Dwarf:  I ran into this little puppy at Lowe's of all places.  I should have probably bought all that they had because it's a hard-to-find species. I just got this one, which has three little plants.  Actually, I think it only had two when I bought it, so it's added one since.  It stays small and grows slow, the perfect little "filler" plant you can stick between other plants as they don't need a lot of light to thrive.

 Rauhia peruviana:  I got a start of this from Cactus Kathy a few years ago.  It got beat to shit by the hail storm last summer, so I just whacked off the sad leaves.  And now it's pushing out new leaves!  Notice the little leaf off to the side, indicating there's a baby bulblet underneath.  

 H. pallida:  This one is thought to be a clone of verticillata, though it looks absolutely NOTHING like my vert.  Leaves are small, succulent and very textured.  I started this on in leca a couple years ago and it's really taking off this year!  At least a couple new growth points.
H. elliptica:  This one came from CO Kathy last fall.  It's one I've tried 2 or 3 times and miserably failed.  I'm hoping this time will be the charm.  It certainly rooted easily and seems to happy at this point.  Fingers crossed!


H. erythrina:  I've had this one a long time and I can't remember where I got it.  I think at one time, I thought I'd lost it and took it off my database, then by the time I found it and figured out what it was, I had no idea where it came from.  I'm not even 100% sure of the ID, but I'm fairly sure.  Anyway, it hasn't grown in quite some time - maybe 2 or 3 years.  So I was thrilled when I found a teeny-tiny pair of leaves emerging from the very oldest part of the stem, about 2" above the soil line.  Wow, I was NOT expecting that!  I don't see any other signs of new growth, so I went ahead and took a single node 2-leaf cutting off the start.  That might just get it growing somewhere else as well.  

This photo is from a couple years ago, but since it hasn't grown an iota, it looks just the same.  The leaves are really cool - veins are raised and edges are just a bit wavy.  I'm looking forward to the new growth!
H. cv. 'Rebecca':  A constant grower that blooms off and on all year long.  So not much new to report about her.  But I just cut off an 18" stem that was starting to dehydrate.  I put it in a big pot of perlite with a bunch of other rooting cuttings and the plan will be to put it back in the pot with the mother plant once it's well on its way to rooting.  I could probably sell it, but I think it will look better if it's fuller at the pot line.
Haworthia coarctata:  This is probably one of the varieties - labels disappear and it's hard to see the minute differences between the various hybrids.  I've had this one growing in this little mug for a few years and it's looking pretty spectacular!  I think it might be show-worthy if I get to participate in the Des Moines show this year.
I grow so many of my Haworthias in with other plants these days.  A lot of them are very susceptible to losing roots in winter and this seems to solve that problem.  I think it works because the bigger plant (many of them grow in with Crown of Thorns or Jades) wicks the water away from them so they get a little drink but they're never water-logged.  Here's an example of a few that started out small and have filled the pot to create a nice ground cover under a Crown of Thorns:

There are two or three different species in there - note that some have grown variegated. They weren't variegated before!  
Speaking of Jades, my biggest Jade, which is probably 20 years old, was completely decimated by the hail storm, then pretty much finished off by the tree falling.  I've decided I'm going to ditch it this summer since I got a small one in a dish garden I picked up at Ace Hardware.  It's hard to part with something I've had for so long, but it's heartbreaking to look at it.  I don't think, even with several years, it will ever look right again.  There's too much damage...  My 'Skinny Fingers' Jade, which was sitting next to it on the porch, sustained a lot of damage as well, but I think it will eventually get back to a nice looking plant.  The trunk on it is so beautiful... or at least it WAS... I have to give it some time to see if it can recover.  It has put on some new leaves this winter, but after a summer outside I'll know if it's going to be worthy of keeping.
One last thing I wanted to talk about before I finish these observations from the last couple days.  Last week, I took on the task of whacking and restarting my H. carnosa rubra.  I got this plant at least 20 years ago from Bob Smoley as one of his "sorry" plants.  Bob was notorious for taking up to a couple months to ship plants ordered.  It's my understanding that he was a traveler and he would just take his time and send plants when he got back from a trip or when it as convenient if he wasn't traveling.  It was well-known that if you wanted a plant NOW, don't order from Bob!  But his plants were worth waiting for and it never bothered me.  So one time I ordered some plants and about 8 or 9 weeks later, they showed up and the "sorry it took so long" consolation plant was rubra.  And nice sized to boot! It's been in the same place since I got the greenhouse, a corner that only gets bright indirect light, and it twined up and around and over and through the shelf bars and I knew one day, it would be necessary to whack away.  I've been replacing my shelves one each year and I've decided that's the shelf I'm going to replace this year, so whack I did, and here's the results:
So I went to work and dug the old rootball out of the pot, filled it with fresh soil and chose the best of the cuttings to fill the pot.  I put it right back where it was and I mist it at least a couple times a day which should help it along.  And here's what it looks like:
I hope I didn't start it too early!  This time of year, everything is waking up and things root fast, so I'm hopeful that it will take off and root quickly.  Nice part is that I had enough left over to make 11 good size cuttings to root:
This is a hard to come by species, so I should make some good money on it!  Of course, you just never know...  Marco just sold a good-size aff. vitellina and only got $40 for it!!  That shocks me as it's one of the true beauties, but I don't believe that it could be that it's common...I think it's more likely the time of year.  Northerners are still a little paranoid about shipping because of the weather.  I bet if he sells another in a month, he'll get twice that!
And that's all folks!


Friday, March 10, 2023

It's about time!

It's been a couple months since I last blogged.  Lots has happened, but I'm going to get this going mostly document what's happening with my plants on this early spring day (well, technically late winter day since we're still 11 days from official spring...)  And I'm going to just leave it open for a couple days while I water and document as I go.

H. obscura:  I don't get excited about new growth much because it's one that spits out new growth off-and-on all year long.  It does have quite a bit of new growth going on right now.  It needs some trimming to shape it up and I will do that next watering as it roots fast.  

H. callistrophylla:  Boy that's a stubborn S.O.B.!  It was in decline for the last few years, and I put it outside last year hoping for some new growth.  I seem to recall that it did put on a bit of new growth, but then we had the hail storm and it got beat up and that halted any new growth that was trying to happen.  It did stabilize, but it has yet to grow any more.  So I'm waiting.  If it has no signs of new growth by next watering, which is in about 10 days, I'm going to do some clipping to try to encourage new growth, and I may move it to the GH.  (It's in my bedroom north window right now.)

H. pubicalyx 'Red Buttons':  It's got two new vines, both toward the top!  I'm thrilled because it seemed stalled last year.  

H. pubicorolla 'Black Dragon':  It has one new vine that has been growing since probably the end of last year.  It's on the shelf in that same north window and seems quite content there - I hope it will bloom there like...


H. ranauensis:  ...sitting next to 'Black Dragon' which bloomed last month.  And now, YAY, it has a tiny new leaf next to the peduncle that bloomed, which is now re-budding.  That may slow the new growth - I hope not.  I'd rather have new growth than buds myself.  

H. macrophylla, narrow leaf:  Also on that same shelf and it now has TWO new growth points!  Last time I watered, it had burst forth with a new vine and had two beautiful new leaves.  Now it's got another new vine forming!  I hope this is an indicator that it will be a good year for ALL of my macs as those barely grew at all last year...


H. EPC-392:  I got one from Ric & one from Ebay in 2016.  It did put on some growth within a couple years but I don't think it grew at all last year.  No signs of growth on it so far.  I do like this one - it has stiff succulent leaves like Fin.

H. meredithii x crassicaulis:  One of my favorites for it's knock-your-socks-off leaves.  Big, thick, stiff and outstandingly veined.  It has a nice new vine shooting straight up!  The first leaf was a little weirdly shaped, so I'm going to show one of the typical leaves...


H. cv. 'Minibelle':  An old one I got a long time ago from Yale in Illinois.  It has two new vines, both up top near the soil line.  It's a "sister-seedling" with shepherdell, both being a cross of carnosa and shepherdii.  I think this may be a good year for it!

H. pubicalyx 'Royal Hawaiian Purple':  This clone I got last summer at a local nursery we were visiting with my cactus club.  My old one is... well, I'm not 100% sure it's RHP.  I've had it many years and I remember it growing more like this one when I first got it.  But I don't see the typical RHP growth anymore, so I'm wondering if it somehow got mislabeled and maybe it's one of the other pubs...  I'm going to pay real close attention this year and see what the new growth looks like.  It sits on a shelf with another very aggressive grower that hogs all my attention, so I'll have to make it a point to watch it closely this year.  Anyway, I count SIX (!!) new vines forming on the new clone!  Crazy - it could be a monster by summer's end!  Here's  the most interesting new leaf:

Going to my sunroom for a few observations...  I have two super-viny Hoyas growing on a shelf, one above the other.  The vines wind in and out of the shelves creating an impressive curtain of foliage.  The top one is H. dasyantha which makes me think of carnosa on steroids.  Big dark green leaves with veins that can be seen beautifully when the sun is shining through the leaves.  It's a true beauty.  It has always been one plant at the soil line with lots of branching.  Last summer, I sold a cutting to someone - single node, two leaves.  But when I cut it off, it was such a beautiful pair of leaves I couldn't part with it, so I took the next pair of leaves for the buyer and I rooted the first pair.  Round about mid summer, it was well rooted and I put it back in with the mother plant.  It looked amazing, but it didn't grow.  Well, it's growing now!  I'm very excited to see where the next vine goes and the beauty of the new leaves!

H. fungii: the one that sits under dasyantha.  I got it from Colorado Kathy in 2015 and it was growing like crazy within a year or 18 months.  It came to me as fungii Splash, and the leaves it had when I got it were extraordinarily silvery.  And it produced a few less splashy leaves at first, but the splash mostly stopped.  Bit it is a very different clone from the one I've grown for years.  Leaves are darker, more oblong (my old clone's leaves tend to be lighter, more roundish).  It's a beauty and earned a spot on that shelf.  It has TWO new vines coming from close the the soil line!  The window the shelf sits in front of may be completely obstructed soon!  Here are the new vines:

And here's the shelf they sit on:

Dasyantha is top left, fungii is bottom left and that's their foliage all over the back of the shelf.  Others on top: a finlaysonii, bhutanica and Dischidia acuminata fasciata, all 3 growing in leca.  Bottom: in the small pot is a start from Colorado Kathy of what she thinks is callistrophylla, but I'm thinking it's something else.  Next to that is one of my THREE diversifolias.  My plan is to get rid of two of them this summer.  It's a lovely species, but it doesn't want to bloom for me.  The last one of the far right is the old clone of obovata.  Of all of those, bhutanica is the only one growing, though the Dischidia does tend to grow pretty much year round in the leca...

H. australis 'Lisa':  She was waning last summer and I was worried I would lose her.  I put it in my bedroom (west) window and crossed my fingers.  Today, it's got a new leaf forming down near the soil.  I don't see any other spots that are hinting at growing, but it looks very happy, healthy, perky so I think it's on the right track. In the pic below, the middle leaf is the new one.  That little one at the bottom of the photo is an older one that never grew much.  I'm hoping it will grow from there as well...


H. lacunosa 'Tove':  I got this one as a cutting back in 2018 and despite being a lacunosa, it's doing very well for me.  I would say this one is more like krohniana - succulent little heart-shaped leaves.  But not as textured as krohniana.  Anyway, I see 3 new growth points, so I think it's on its way to a productive summer!

H. amoena: It's done very well over the last several years, but it always wants to put out new growth at the furthest point from the plant.  So I decided to cut all the single leaf stems off to hopefully inspire it to grow from one of those points.  It has one wayward vine that's growing straight up and that's it right now!

H. hueschkeliana:  I grow this one in my (north) kitchen window and every since the tree came down in my back yard last summer, it's been blooming off and on.  I am amazed how well everything in that window is doing without the shade of that giant cedar.

The whole flower cluster is about as big as a dime, so those are tiny flowers.  Took a macro lens to get a clear pic.  There are two more peduncle budding up!

Last summer, I discovered a Drimiopsis bulb growing in with one of my Rhipsalis an I decided just to leave it there.  Wow, is it thriving:

Aren't those leaves something?!!  Just gorgeous!  This Rhip may need to be moved up to a larger pot, so I'll have to decide if I want to leave it in there or pull it out.  It seems perfectly happy in there!

Ok, now I'm going to mention the new ones.  In early October, Colorado Kathy sent me a box FULL of cuttings.  She and I used to trade some years back, but these days, she doesn't want to add to her collection.  So when her "jungle" gets too dense, she starts whacking and sends me her trimmings, and won't even let me pay for postage!  So it's quite a blessing.  She's such a gem!  Well, I'll mention them here and probably talk more about them as I pot them up into their permanent pots.  

She sent me H. cinnamomifolia, which is a big-leaf species.  Marco says it tends to send out long leafless vines and I think he got rid of his because of this annoying habit.  I'll see how it does for me and if I don't care for it, I'll sell it.  But I am a big fan of the big leaf Hoyas.  It's rooted and waiting for a heavy pot as it sounds like it will need it.  She also sent elliptica, one I've tried several times.  So far, it seems to be doing well, but we'll see how it goes.

I lost my beloved H. sp. Nong Nooch a few years ago and have longed for it ever since.  Well, I had sent her some and she sent me a nice hefty cutting of that!  I put it in a pot of leca, and then I proceeded to let it get too dry!  I was so upset and so worried that I'd blown it...  I put plenty of water in the pot and ordered some water gauges for semi-hydro.  When they came in the mail and I went to put it in the pot, I found it had pushed out a new vine with two baby leaves! Oh was I relieved!  So it's happily growing in the dining room now.

Others that were replacements include kanyakumariana - I still had two little pieces in leca I'd gotten back from Marco after losing my big plant.  So now I have four little starts and they so seem to be showing signs of growth.  She sent thomsonii, but a very different clone than the one I grew before.  Just as hairy, but shorter, stouter leaves.  It's adorable!  H. iligiorum - I had gotten a start of this from Marco, but it died on me.  And it's growing nicely.  She also sent me a nice cutting of obscura, long-leaf form.  Under the lights, it's absolutely stunning! And I already mentioned the one she thought was callistrophylla that I think is something else.  

New to me is cv. Patricia - I really like that one and can't wait for it to grow into a nice large plant.  I grew chinghungensis years ago - it's one of those tiny-leaved ones and I've adopted a "wait and see" attitude about it.  Monetteae is a weird one.  Huge succulent leaves.  I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  I guess when it starts to grow, I'll figure it out!  Two more... sp. 7727, a strange, almost yellow leaved one with small convex leaves.  It reminds me of the of the true bilobata - not the one that's really DS-70, and is now sp. aff. burtoniae.  EA used to sell DS-70 as bilobata, but I later learned what the true bilobata looks like which is:

Must be hard to come by because I had to sort through tons of DS-70s to find one or two of the real thing!  Anyway, it cups under more and is lighter.  I'll post a photo another time.
Last one is Dr. IBOK.  I guess it stands for "I be ok" - LOL. That one is very nice too, and growing nicely.  Photos to come.
Before I close this one, though, I wanted to get down what's going on with Mom. It's a lot to go into, so I'll sum up the last 3-1/2 years since she had gallbladder surgery as a real "shit-fest".  She's had continuous diarrhea since then that finally got under control with a cholesterol medicine whose side effect is constipation.  But then about 3 months ago, it got really bad, even with that medicine.  To the point that... and there's no delicate way to put this... her rectum was so afire from the constant acid from her stool that she couldn't sit for more than a few minutes at a time.  And even that was pure torture.  It was like sitting on broken glass.  Of course, Mom very anti-doctor, so it took it getting to the point that she was praying to die and we (Merry, my sis, and I) convinced her to go to the ER.  But she couldn't sit in the car and certainly not in the waiting room, so we called an ambulance.  They checked her in after they did a cat scan and found she had a blockage and a mass.  
So now we'll fast forward through the ugly details.  She has anal cancer.  She had a colostomy so she no longer has the constant irritant and things are improving.  But she was very weak from laying around for probably at least a month or so.  She has no intention of going through the chemo or radiation they suggest - she's 82 next month and just doesn't want misery at this point in her life.  I can't blame her... And if she changes her mind when she gets stronger, that's ok too... I'm just here to be her cheerleader in whatever she wants to do.  We all have an "expiration date" and hers is probably not that far off.  I don't blame her for not wanting the misery that comes with that stuff.  My sister, on the other hand, is trying to gently "push" for the treatments.  But Mom remembers how hard it was on Wes when he tried chemo and she does NOT want that.  It's really up to her...
We see the surgeon next week.  The question will be this: "What can we expect if we do nothing?"  I suppose the answer could change her mind.  We'll see...
And now I'm off to get some stuff done!  OVER AND OUT!