I have been going sort of plant crazy for the past several months. Not that that is anything new, but with joining the Orange County Cactus and Succulent Society I’ve had more opportunities to buy plants.

Often when I buy plants I put them in the atrium to await their permanent homes. I do this mostly because I’m lazy. The atrium has drip irrigation spray sprinklers so everything in there gets watered regularly. If I put them out on the patio, I sometimes forget to water and lose the plants.

Well, it turns out that there were hitchhikers in at least one of the plants I bought recently and right now I have an infestation of snails and slugs. For years the atrium had no snails and slugs. It’s closed off from the rest of the outdoors and I spent a lot of time and a lot of beer getting rid of them. That is so not the case any more. I can’t believe how many snails I have after a couple of months. All of the ground cover in the atrium is gone and I thought it had died due to heat, but I think it just got eaten. They’ve been eating my Malabar spinach; there is not a leaf untouched. I’m thinking of cutting it back again to start fresh. Especially since the stuff grows so quickly.

So it’s time to get out as many beer traps as I can manage. I’ve thought several times that I’d gotten most of them, but they keep showing up. I tried using my husband’s beer for the traps, since we have rather a lot of it, but he brews mostly IPA’s that have such a high hop content that the mollusks find it unpalatable. I have to say, I’m with the snails on that one.

In good news on the atrium front, my mushroom log has finally sprouted a shroom. I was beginning to think it would never happen. Maybe the rain we had recently had a good effect. In any case, I’m going to cut it off this evening, before the snails get it.


Spud spends much of his day trundling around the yard. We often put boxes out for the amusement of both the cats and the tortoise. Spud managed to get some of the packing material wedged under his shell.



Went to the nursery on the way home last night, looking for something to put with the Persian Shield plant. It’s beautiful now, but it drops most of its leaves in winter and is pretty leggy overall. So I wanted to get an under story kind of plant to put in the pot with it. Of course I got several other plants as well. I just can’t help myself when I see something interesting. Got a couple of pots, too. Really like both of them one is a large shallow cobalt blue square, perfect for a miniature garden. Now all I have to do is decide what to put in it. The other one is aqua and green. I’d intended it to be for the reed orchids, but the colors go so perfectly with one of my agaves, I think my plan has gone out the window.

It’s been cool for the past couple of days, and is supposed to remain normal or below normal temperatures for a few more, so I thought I’d take advantage of the cooler weather and pot up some things that I think will be able to handle the change.

When I got home from shopping I realized that I’m not going to be able to put anything in with the Persian Shield unless I put it in a bigger pot. The hops that I had in big pots have died, so I’m thinking of using one of those. I’ll have to wrestle it out of the planter, but I got it in there. I should be able to get it out.


It amazes me how little it takes to inspire someone (me.) One boxed birthday cake that turned out acceptable and all of a sudden I want to be Cake Boss. I’ve never been the baker in the family, youngest sister has filled that role. Making goodies at Christmas, etc. I have one successful cake and all of a sudden I’m feeling experimental, looking up recipes on-line. I think I’m actually going to make two batches of fudge in two days.

My main concern with this is my waistline, but a recent step on the scale told me things are stable, so I’m going to indulge myself. With reason. At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself. I want to experiment, but I have to spread it out a little. Neither of us really need all that sugar.

That said, microwave fudge is on of the best things ever. All you need is a microwave, a can of sweetened condensed milk, a little vanilla and some chocolate chips. Melt, stir, pour, fudge! I made some a long time ago with marshmallow creme and I thought that was easy. Compared to this one, it has twice as many ingredients, marshmallow cream, sugar, butter, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and vanilla, and requires measuring and mixing and boiling. We got a jar of the marshmallow cream, now I have to find some other use for it, because I’m never going to use that recipe.

I’m also intrigued byPink Lemonade Cake recipe and want to try that. All of this because of one birthday cake that didn’t turn out a disaster.

To pot or not to pot

I have gotten a lot of new plants over the past few months. I feel like I’m making up for the years since House of Cactus closed. I finally have someplace to satisfy my addiction to succulents. I’ve also started to accumulate some more interesting pots. I’m dying to bring the two together, there’s something so satisfying about putting the right plant in the right pot.

Unfortunately, now is just about the worst time of year for re-potting things. It’s just not a good idea to disturb plant roots during the hottest time of the year. And it’s been pretty hot this summer. So I’m waiting, with my new acquisitions sitting around in their plastic pots, for cooler weather to arrive so I can safely put my treasures into homes that complement them. My only source of satisfaction is trying different plants out in different pots to see where they look best. Nice thing about that is I can change my mind without too much trouble.

I’m still anxious to get them settled into their new homes. After that we’ll discuss appropriate sand/gravel mulch, fertilizer and growth rates.

Cheating bees

In the very little wandering that I did at the LA Arboretum I came across this yellow trumpet bush (tecoma stans).


It was all literally all abuzz. I saw three kinds of bee, honey, carpenter and one tiny one I think might be a small carpenter bee. The larger bees cheated. Instead of going into the flowers and doing their work as pollinators, they chewed through the base of the flower and drank the nectar from there.

You can see the hole in the top flower in the picture below as well as a bee drinking from the outside of the flower.


The only one I saw actually go into the flowers was this little bee
. There were hummingbirds, but they didn’t seem interested in this plant.