Friday, October 28, 2011

Improbable crosses

Can an alligator really have crossed with a waterlily and planted its progeny in the Chihuahuan desert? There are those plants that have a certain manna. You can't really call yourself a rock gardener until you have had your first feeble flower on blue Meconopsis, your giant wands on Saxifraga longifolia, or killed a few Eritrichium or Dionysia! No self-respecting Irisarian would be without an Aril iris or two, or clumps of Iris tectorum in the woods...and let's add a few clumps of 'Beverly Sills'. For us succulent types, there are a number of "touchstones": one surely is those outlandish Chihuahuan cacti that look more lizardy than cactoid: Ariocarpus fissuratus is surely one of these...

As President of the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society, I need all the street cred I can muster. I know, I know, I may have invented Delosperma for all intents and purposes as a garden plant, and I have grown a few hundred (or thousand) hardy succulents in my day, but it's these tender things that give you credibility...the reward for schlepping out all summer, and then bringing them in again is their miracle flowers you can enjoy up close on the window sill as the season transitions abruptly outside the window: last week there were dozens of flowers still making a spectacle in the garden. 8" of snow and temps down to 14F have put an end to that nonsense!

There I am: proud papa! And did I mention that Mammillaria plumosa has been blooming for the last few months? And Lithops? I can wield the gavel at our next meeting with renewed authority! Hold the applause!


  1. Fall is our primo plant growth and flowering season down here...nonsense, ha!

    Seriously, my Ariocarpus fissuratus did fine for 2 years, flowered once, but then it rotted in a mild but wet El Nino winter...

  2. That's why we drag it in! Every October I have a horrible urge to fly southward to the Rio Grande: it is magnificent weather down there this time of year, and the flowers are fab. I am so tempted to blast off (but have too many commitments I can't leave behind here): NEXT year we shall meet, David! Unless we can lure you up here first!

  3. OK gang. Let's all give PK a well deserved round of clap!

  4. Hmmmm. Mr. Anonymous: I shall have to strain a bit and try and take this rather ambiguous remark in the most positive light...[you may visualize me here squinting and straining a tad]..Ah yes! I see! A Zen clap as it were. One hand clapping? I can indeed grok that: thank you very much!

  5. Sure, you bet. That's exactly what I meant.


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