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.


Birthday dinner

Wonderful Spouse asked if I wanted to go out to dinner yesterday morning. Yes, please! We went to Cedar Creek. I had a lemon drop martini, which is just alcoholic candy. My taste in drinks is juvenile. Then I ordered pot roast, which I ate about half of. Ate all of my dessert, though. Maple crème brulee. Going to have the rest of dinner for lunch today. Minus the braised cabbage. Bleh. There may be some way you can make cooked cabbage edible, but I haven’t run into it yet. Mostly just don’t cook it.

It was weird, but almost everything I had had apples in it somewhere. I had the house salad, with candied walnuts, bleu cheese (also bleh) and apples in a balsamic vinaigrette. With the dinner came applesauce, with the apples cut just about the same way they were in the salad. The braised purple cabbage also had apples in it, cut in the same fashion. I don’t know whether to think they’re cheap, putting apples in everything, or pragmatic to use what’s available and make it work in multiple dishes. I don’t know anything about the restaurant business, and hope never to have to. Food service is way too much work.

Then went home and collapsed. That’s what happens when you stay up until two in the morning the day before.

LA Arboretum Cactus and Succulent Show and Sale

As a post on A Growing Obsession’s blog for the show at the LA Arboretum. Decided at the last minute to go. I’ve only been to a couple of local shows, and they have lots of impressive plants at those, but the ones at this show were just amazing.


I brought my camera and took lots of pictures but didn’t even think to photograph the tags so I’d know what the plants were afterwards.


Seeing all the plants in the show did give me some direction in shopping. While I’ll probably never have any as impressive as they were, I can certainly pick out plants that I like and look for smaller, less expensive specimens on the sales tables.


I didn’t tour much of the Arboretum, but I was amused to find that they have the same problems with their birds as I had with my chickens. I saw several plants that had little chicken wire fences around them. I also saw a succulent that was nibbled anyplace it was over the edge of its pot. The same plant that my both chickens and my tortoise think is delicious. However, the Arboretum’s chickens are far more decorative than mine.


Not to mention louder. Peacock calls are very distinctive.

I’m a little ashamed of myself; I got a little disgruntled when I was waiting in line to pay for my plants and a woman walked by and commented on how interesting one of them was and went pawing through the box to find the tag. I felt a little possessive. Mine now! Don’t be touching my plants.

Maroon orchids

I always look through the orchids at Trader Joe’s when I go there. They’re generally the usual pink and white Phalenopsis, but every once in a while I find an unusual one and it goes home with me. This one fit the bill. I’ve never seen an orchid in a maroon that dark.


It has been doing fine in the kitchen window sill, so I’ve left it there. It’s the beneficiary of our idiot refrigerator. Almost every time you get ice out of the dispenser, a couple of minutes later it spits an ice cube onto the floor. It used to be comical and annoying. Now I just pick up the ice cube and put it in the orchid pot. It’s still comical and annoying, but at least I have something to do with the ice cube besides toss it in the sink.

Stripey tomatoes


I like to plant vegetables that you can’t get at the grocery store, or plants where the amount I can grow will actually fill our needs. This is an example of one that isn’t available at the market. There have been several on the vine, but this is the first one I’ll actually get to eat. The chickens got all of the others.

Raised bed assembly

The Spouse and I assembled a raised bed this weekend. It has been sitting around for months, with the box getting more and more dilapidated. Now, with the chickens gone, gardening is a much more satisfying occupation. We screwed it together, put it in the planter and filled it up. It just fits the planter and gives me some decent soil to plant in. It’s in a semi-shaded spot, so I’m going to put herbs in it. I had some old seed, basil, parsley and cilantro, so I went ahead and planted it. It’s totally not the right time of year, but I thought I’d give it a try any way. If I can keep the soil moist long enough for the seeds to develop root systems, I might actually get some herbs. In my very sheltered Southern California garden anything is possible. I’ve had tomatoes growing on the roof from an indeterminate vine in December.

I’m going to use some of my collected seed and plant flowers to the back of the bed and see what happens there. I need to start marking when my seeds were collected. I have no idea when I collected most of the ones I have. Most of my blooming annuals have bloomed and gone. I’ll try for another round.