Friday, November 18, 2005

The last of the migrants

My large Notocactus magnificus ready for the move back indoors.

Yes the plant in the photo has been dusted with snow! The last of my cold sensitive cacti was moved in yesterday amid snowsqualls and +1C temperatures. Many non winter hardy plants had been left out overnight unheated in -2C weather with no apparent ill effect.

This blogger will now remain dormant together with my collection until about mid April when my plants will begin to migrate back outdoors.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Mammillaria solisiodes

Mammillaria solisiodes blooming in my collection today, October 17th, 2005.

John Pilbeam in his old book, Mammillaria - A Collector's Guide, describes this species as "a challenge to grow for any length of time, this beautifully spined species is much sought after. Seed is ... difficult to raise, the young plants painfully slow growing and prone to damp off. Mature plants ... have a nasty habit of dying in the spring... as though this species cannot accept captivity." This is one of many special plants introduced to OCSS collections over the past several years by OCSS member Paul Davydov. The mature plant pictured is on it's own roots and was blooming today, October 17th, in Hamilton, Ontario.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Gymnocactus species nova

Gymnocactus species L1159 blooming in Hamilton, October 16th.

This plant arrived here from nurseries in California labelled as L1159 Gymnocactus species nova. In fact when I compare it to the literature I'm not sure why it's considered a species nova because it looks like Gymnocactus viereckii to me. It was blooming in Hamilton, Ontario Sunday October 16th.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Three stemmed cleistocactus straussii added 16" on shortest stem this summer!

Last year I was trying to push my Cleistocactus as much as possible by fertilizing a lot. It did grow a lot adding about a foot on each of 2 stems and near the end of summer beginning to sprout a 3rd stem. I theorized then that probably the tallest stems would begin to grow less and shorter stems would grow more as the plant reached it's genetically controlled maximum height. This year I barely fertilized the plant at all almost ignoring it. The result was that the tallest stem reached 61" high adding only 3" this year. The second tallest stem added only 5" to finish at 55" tall. The shortest stem however grew a phenomenal 16" this year to finish at 23" in height!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Lithops planting in Hamilton blooming October 11th, 2005

Fall is the time of year when many of the South African mesems are at their best. Although many of my Lithops (they belong to the mesem family) have been doing pretty well all summer many have just reached the peak of their flowering cycle now in early October.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mammillaria pringlei

Mammillaria pringlei blooming October 9th in Hamilton, Ontario.

This plant probably has the longest non stop blooming streak of any cactus in my collection. It started blooming in spring a few weeks after it was moved outdoors and still hasn't stopped. At about 20 cm high and 15 cm wide it appears to be as large as this species ever gets according to the literature. Another one of those treasures from Sorensen's!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The great migration

A tray of smaller cacti from an exposed bed coming back indoors October 8th.

The great migration of succulent plants back indoors has begun at my place in Hamilton today. With a daytime high of only about 12C today and the promise of a clear night I'm guessing temperatures just shy of freezing will be seen tomorrow morning. A number of plants from my open bed which were exposed to the heavy rains yesterday were moved back indoors. Among these cold sensitive Euphorbia's and moisture sensitive cacti. One particularly cold sensitive Melocactus from my covered bed was also brought indoors. The rest of the collection will move in soon as well. Adeniums, Pachypodiums, some epi's and new seedling cacti have already been making daily moves indoors for the night for about a month.

Last year I waited until the end of the first week in November before bringing in anything. By that time several light frosts had already occured and a severe killing frost threatened. Snow was falling as I struggled until midnight to move in my large collection indoors. Later some Adeniums and a Melocactus were found to be casualities because of this late exposure to the cold.