New Garden for Hardy Cactus

new hardy cactus garden

We have been collecting and receiving hardy cactus for a few years and they usually pile up in the existing sand bed next to the pump house. While we will keep a few agaves in the sand bed because they are too large to move, we have finally built a small hardy cactus and succulent garden. The new garden visually completes a stair that previously just ended in a pile of concrete rubble.

existing hardy cactus bed

cactus bed as continuation of rock stairs

We also have been propagating a few opuntias to replace scraggly plants inside the greenhouse and for sale at the lavender festival next year. The varieties are very low prickle, especially meant for eating. One variety, a ficus-indica opuntia Var.Burbank Spineless, has narrow leaves and looks like a saguaro. The other one, opuntia robusta, has big, round, blue pads.

indoor cactus cuttings -- opuntias that are not hardy

Duck Nostalgia

As we hunker down and deal with winter, I’ve been looking back over photos and videos of our 4 ducks — Hewey, Lewey, Dewey and Clyde. Born on mother’s day, we have 2 girls and 2 boys, we didn’t realize until they’d almost hit adulthood just what the gender mix was.

what gender are we?

what gender are we?

We thought we had 3 girls and 1 boy (the all-black Lewey).

still looks like 3 girls and a boy?

still looks like 3 girls and a boy?

Then we realized that 2 of the girls were boys when they began to change colors (Hewey and Clyde).

Some male/female differentiation occurred in August.

Some male/female differentiation occurred in August.

Then we realized that Lewey is a girl. Dewey was always a girl in our minds. Girls don’t have curls in their tail feathers.

Coping After a Freeze

We have had high winds, ice pellets, freezing rain and more high winds here over the past week. Our trees have lost all their leaves, despite how late they stuck with it into November. Our plans to begin propagation last week have been put on hold.

We did get all the tender cactus, succulents and potted plants into the greenhouse in time. It gets crowded in the winter, but we are trying to keep a bench clear for propagation.

Today, we are cutting fucshias and Symphocarpus for bundling in 1 gallon pots. Candy is cleaning up the succulent pots that have come into the green house and refreshing with new plants. It’s an effort to eliminate and consolidate all the material we have from last year.

Finally, we are going to use layering to try and propagate a corylopsis that we have behind the pool house. it’s an amazing plant, but prefers cuttings to happen in july. This is a winter method that could work with the plant. Basically, we will lay a few branches on the ground and hold them in place with U staples. We will mark the spots and tie the plant to a flag. In spring, we should be able to cut them from the mother plant and dig them up to move. I love the corylopsis that we have. Here is a picture of it from late February 2010.