Archive | October 2014

Pachypodium Lealii Saundersii

The most easily recognized pachypodium is probably pachypodium lamerii or p. geayi  the so-called Madagascar palm; this is not that pachypodium! Madagascar palms are from Madagascar; this pachypodium is from South Africa, but has the necessary fat body pachypodiums are know for. These plants grow more like a bush and so far, at least, mine is not as big or tall as the palms and has bloomed fairly regularly, which the palms so far have not.
Pachypodiums are caudiciforms, a category commonly known as fat plants, because they do have a fat body where they store water. The body is technically a stem, but I have seen it referred to as a fat trunk, and that is what it looks like. I didn’t take a picture of this one’s fat trunk because I really couldn’t get a good shot of it. But I have another one, p. baronii, that is on the verge of blooming, and its caudex-the fat body-is easier to see. So stay tuned.

But for now, enjoy this flowers on this one.



Decorate Your Dish Garden With Railroad Spikes

If you happen to be in possession of old, discarded, rusty, railroad spikes and no clue what you planned to use them for in the first place, here’s an idea. Use them to decorate a dish garden.


Or stick them in your outdoor garden. I brought these home with me from Wyoming, so of course they are in the Wyoming bed.

I had the bright idea this year to gussy up the rusty spikes for a touch of bling before bling goes completely out of style. Bill let me use this sander to knock off all the crusty layers of rust down to the original shiny steel finish. I only went through three sanding belts to polish five spikes. And I wore my industrial ear muffs while I worked. 

He was rather skeptical of my wonderful idea, throwing water on my plan-no pun intended-reminding me that they would just get rusty again as they responded to the weather and watering of the cactus. But, I know how to use that sander now and where he keeps it, and I can clean them up again if I want to. Or let nature take its course.

As I was sanding, I discovered letters on the tops of the spikes, company manufacturing logos, I suppose. But that gives them a touch of mystery. Whose initials are they? Why are they there?  Secret code? Some polished down to other marks as well.
These gardens happen to be smaller ones, but the spikes could be used in larger, more elaborate pots.
So knock yourself out. Have fun with them. Natural or shiny, I think the spikes are fun to experiment with.

I Catch The Lithops Blooming


When these mysterious little plants, lithops lesliei, bloom, it is always such a pleasant surprise. And easy to miss since they open in the evening when I may not be checking on them any more for the day. But I was in the right place at the right time and wanted to share them.

This happens to be one of my favorite dish gardens even without the flowers. The pony tail palm, beaucarnea recurvate, is the centerpiece, but the little horned lizard, or horny toad, to use Texas vernacular, next to the cool rock with the hole in it all work together well. It is a pretty simple arrangement, but I like the combination. The fact that these flowers actually bloom for a few days rather than just one is a nice plus, too. They open in the early evening, close at night, and reopen next evening. So far these have reopened going on four days.

Lithops can be tricky to keep alive and you can search the Internet for all kinds of detailed tips on watering schedules, but these particular ones are still alive, I suspect, because I just sort of forget about them, water the pony tail, make sure the pot gets good sunlight, and then enjoy the fact that they are still with me. After blooming in the fall and winter, they need light watering, taper off to little if any water in the late winter till spring, and then water more in the hot summer.

On the other hand, keeping them alive and well could be as scientific and precise as my mother used to say about making good meringue; you just have to hold your mouth right.