Tuesday 16 July 2019

Parodia magnifica loveliness !

I found this lovely chunky glass vase with two cacti growing in it at a boot fair in Falmouth about 20 years ago . I kept meaning to re-pot them , but never got around to it . At the time it had a dried flower glued on top , which I was lucky enough to peel off without damaging the crown .  Ever since then , it has been quite happy and flowered  nearly every year with these gorgeous , silky pale lemon -yellow blooms .

                                       It has a slight sweet fragrance .

                                                Parodia magnifica
It comes from the grasslands of South America - Brazil , Paraguay , Uruguay and Argentina . In it's natural habitat it experiences the hot sun by day although it prefers and gets some partial shade by grasses, but the nights can be very cold . So it is quite a tough plant and does just fine in my unheated greenhouse here in Cornwall England .
 I never seem to notice the buds forming and the flowers always surprise and delight me .

                     It is tucked away towards the back of my greenhouse .
                      Rather neglected I,m afraid .....along with those giant Opuntias .

                               This morning I noticed that it has babies !

I think the time has come to give it a nice new pot and some fresh compost . 
I have no idea what the other cactus is , but it is not looking very happy .
The vase is lovely , but not really the right thing for growing a cactus in  .
I am going to have a think about it and see what I can do for them tomorrow .
 The weather is still unbearably hot and I,m finding it hard keeping up with watering the vegetable garden which has priority over everything else at the moment .
  We badly need rain , I will take out as many of my plants as I can from the greenhouse to catch the next rainfall and give it a good clean  .


Tuesday 9 July 2019

Meanwhile in the greenhouse ...

Back in early June , actually about four weeks ago to the day , we took ourselves off on a one night away trip , to one of our favourite places , Charmouth .
We did a little bit of beach combing and fossil hunting , didn't find anything this time ....but we were tired after the drive  .

So we paid a visit to Groves Nursery in Bridport for some refreshment in their new cafe . Sad to see the old friendly cafe has gone and amazed to see the huge new one towering over the lovely nursery gardens . We enjoyed our bowl of soup and crusty roll .Then had a little wander round . Groves Nursery is famous for it's wonderful selection of Violets especially in the Spring  .They have beautiful healthy ,clearly labelled plants , shrubs and trees .Garden equiptment, everything you could ever need . The Rose garden is lovely, I have several beautiful Roses from Groves , I love their beautiful selection of beans , seeds , onion sets and potatoes ..to help yourself to however many  you want ,scoop them into brown paper bags and weigh on the scales ..love this ! I love the selection of wild-bird / animal food and the pet department ....and so much more !
 Above all , I love the glasshouse with so many beautiful plants suitable for the conservatory or indoor house plants .....too many to name...but anyway...I always make a beeline for the Cacti  , something which always impresses me at Groves , is how everything is always clearly labelled ,with  the plant's botanically correct name .
 In the past I have come across some very rare and more unusual plants in here ..... but nothing was tempting me on this occasion  ......I pottered about for ages...as you do  ........                                                                                                                         

             ........and then I spied this poor little thing ...
 ........ no label ....not much compost ....one shrivelled flower ...
Leaning over in it's tiny pot .....it was coming home with me !

 We had a lovely evening meal  and one night at the Exeter Airport Hotel .

My husband named it "Billy no mates" which I thought was a bit unkind !

I held it all the way home , on my lap in the car . I found a nice pot and some fresh cactus compost and re-potted him .
  It seemed to me that it was happier lying on its side , so I positioned it that way in the pot and gave it a nice top dressing with horticultural grit .

Well , look at it now ! Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would respond like this in just four weeks !

         Look at that gorgeous bud ! Click on it ! Go on ! Zoom in !

 And this morning , as I walked up to the greenhouse , I could see that it had opened in the early morning sunshine .

                                                       It is lovely !

                     I would like to label it , if anyone knows it's name ?

                 It is growing very fast , look at those new side shoots !

                            I,m so glad I brought him home with me !

Monday 8 July 2019

New Epies ! Hooray !

So after a brilliant display of Epiphyllum flowers up in the greenhouse throughout May and a good month of clipping , tidying , re-potting and taking lots of Epie cuttings through June , I decided to treat myself to a few new ones .
 I have been following a great Youtube channel - "Treasures of Plantz " Where  we have been doing a Plant Swap .I swapped a rooted piece of my Epiphyllum "Purple Delight " for a very generous piece of his Epiphyllum "Bonanza Belle".
Hey ! George in Cambridge I have found it a nice yellow flowery pot and put it up on my  North facing window at the top of the stairs , as you  can see it  has lots of friends ! :) Thankyou  George ! :) x

                               Oh ! My Goodness !  Another parcel !

                                              So beautifully packed .
                                       Wow ! Stand back everybody !
                                                 Because this is........

                                               ......Marilyn Monroe !

 Yes ! A big thankyou to Beverley in Falmouth for sending me such a generous size plant . I am really looking forward to seeing the lovely pink flowers on this gorgeous Epiphyllum .
 Beverley I hope you are well and enjoying your Epies and the glorious sunshine  we,ve been having . I will post a picture of this again when it flowers as promised !  :) x

 I spent Saturday morning going around the charity shops in Helston looking for a nice pot to put her in..and of course ...it had to be pink ! 

 So move over everybody , make way for Epiphyllum "Marilyn Monroe" !
           Not much space left on this windowsill . They make me happy !  :)

Another parcel !  All the way from Ireland from my friend Paula ...furry friends and Cadbury the Guinea-pig  :)  I hope you are well . I have potted up your generous unrooted cuttings of Rhypsalis eliptica and will be misting them as you have instructed me .They are going to make a beautiful plant when they get  going ! Thankyou Paula :) x

I propagate seeds , seedlings and unrooted cuttings on my tiny North facing bathroom window , it is always nice and warm in there . I have the most success in propagating things here .
 Yes , I know the windows need cleaning !........sigh....tomorrow !   :)

 Talking of seeds .... I am growing Wittia amazonica from 10 teeny tiny  seeds , which I sowed on the 24th June 2019 ..so yes ..only a few days ago .

                     .....and look ......can you see what I can see  ?

 I took the bag off , to give it a gentle spritz of room temp water and have a closer look .

 I quickly took some photos for my own records and replaced the still warm zip lock bag .

There are three seedlings germinated and some of the others are stirring on the surface of the compost . Mostly sharply draining cactus and partly general purpose potting compost ....which I nuked in the microwave to sterilise it .
 I have germinated Epie seeds in regular potting compost but these are quite precious seeds of quite a hard to find plant . They are related to Epiphyllums and look almost the same . They are to be found in the rain forests along the Amazon . When conditions are right ,it has stunningly beautiful blue and pink flowers at every node along the "leaf" or flattened stem .

     I hope I can pull these through ..it is said to be a tricky one to grow .
                 I think this is probably the most difficult period !

 There were 10 seeds in the packet . I set them down as carefully as I could on the surface of the compost . I could see what looked like  some other even tinier seeds in amongst them . Actually I can see them in this picture , if  you zoom in , you can see some of them scattered around my plant label . I wonder what these might be ?

           It is so exciting and so fascinating growing such rare plants from seed .
  It's late....sorry about all my spelling mistakes ...I,m tired ....off to bed now !
              Dreaming about being in the Amazonian rain forest  ...... zzzzzzzz

Friday 5 July 2019

Birdie girl shows us how to stay cool in the hot weather .

                                             Aah..that feels SO good  !

Thursday 4 July 2019

Meanwhile in the greenhouse _ Adromischus maculatus

Adromischus maculatus leaf cuttings that I lay on top of a pan of very gritty compost , around the end of May this year .
 In fact the top layer is just grit . There they lie , all friends together .
     Actually , they are not strictly cuttings .....but rather " leaf drop offs " ! :)

                                                         Hooray !
         This morning I notice that they are beginning to put out roots !
   You can click on the pictures to get a nice close up !  Go on !  :)

 Adromischus maculatus .....hard to say and  hard to spell , probably the most common one of all the Adromischus . Beautiful fat and shiny , green and red speckled leaves ....I just love this South African plant . Such an extraordinary and interesting thing .
   Surely this must have been brought to Earth  by visiting little green men in their Flying  Saucer . Maybe the NASA  Mars Curiosity rover buggy will find it growing on Mars !

It deserves a nicer pot ....but it is so fragile...the leaves just fall off at the slightest touch .
 I have to be very careful with watering them too . I only water when they are bone dry  and the pot feels light as a feather when I pick it up .Then I give a good drink of rain water from a watering can that has been left in the greenhouse to get to the same temperature as the plant and the compost in the pot..so as not to shock the plant . I,ve had these Adro plants for over 20 years , I have never fed it.....should I ?  It looks healthy enough to me . If I re-pot them they will have the nutrients in the fresh cactus compost anyway .
   Lovely thing ! It loves the full on sunshine ! So it is on the other side of my greenhouse with all the hot sun loving succulents and prickly desert cacti .
It is very hot up in the  greenhouse house today , opened up all the windows ...must remember to get some more shade net to keep the Epies happy .
 Waiting for the postman to come with some new Epie cuttings ! Squeals of excitement !

Monday 1 July 2019

Vegetable Garden update

                White rabbits ! We say for luck on the first of the month  !
 Flaming June has come and gone . Hardly any rain . Scorching hot sun but with weather warnings for strong wind . Yes ! The wind was strong and as we drove around we saw branches and leaves strewn around as if  it were Autumn !

 The meadow was cut and dried in record time , we came home to see it all baled up .

  The wind has stopped and it is very hot again . We walked across the meadow .

 You can see the winding pathway that we cut to walk through the long grass up to the pic-nic tables .

                             The hay bales are huge and smell wonderful !

                          At last ! The courgettes are nearly ready to pick .

  I have several courgette plants , we love our Courgettes . The Butternut Squash plants are being a bit slow to get going . I don't think they've enjoyed being blasted by that cruel wind .

 Peas !  We have had a bumper harvest this year , sweet and delicious .

               Celery....doing really well ....nice to have in our wraps !

                               Romaine Lettuces have been wonderful .

 The strange weather has made some of my Purple Sprouting Broccoli begin to flower ....we harvested these and ate them ....so good and still lots more to come .

 A beautiful Carrot flower..just one that I missed pulling up last year....I left it for the bees ....and maybe I 'll remember to collect the seed !

 Romaine  Lettuce and some of the Purple  Sprouting  Broccoli that I cut for our dinner .
 I harvested all of my Autumn planted Onions the other day and they are just drying off now in the shed ....we used one and sometimes two large onions every day of the year ... I am really pleased with these ...sorry no pic . The other onions ,  white and red , are coming along really well now too. We will harvest those end of the Summer for storing over Winter .

 The Sprouts are getting so tall, the best I,ve ever grown. I can even see tiny sprouts beginning to come .....Wow ! Maybe I planted them too early..but these will go into the freezer for over Winter dinners . We love to eat the Sprout tops and leaves too . Nothing wasted ! I am very disappointed however with the fleece that I bought on the internet , which is just disintegrating and my plants are just pushing through the nasty stuff .....which means they now have no protection from the cabbage white butterflies laying their eggs on them . I just cant afford to buy anymore environmesh right now . I,m looking in charity shops for old net curtains as an alternative ....but, even though I know it's for a good cause , charity shops are becoming quite expensive now too .
 The Runnerbeans were bashed about quite a bit in the strange gales we,ve been having .... but are beginning to flower .
 Same with the French Beans , I had to gently rewind them back onto their supporting poles and carefully tie some of them in again . They are so fragile ! The good news is , that they do seem to be recovering from baby wabbit nibblings ! New leaves and shoots are growing out from the leaf joints .
 Chicken wire was a good investment ..so long as it is fastened down really well.....then we can live in harmony with the little creatures .
   White rabbits to you all  !   ( just not inside my vegetable garden please !  :) )

                         Time for a cup of tea !   Cheerio for now !   xxx