Saturday, July 15, 2017

Breaking news (2 pics)

This just in. The first lithops flower of the season!

Quite early. But L. gesinae v. annae (C078) always is. I had one blooming in June once. The precious little sun 💗

Also, one of the Delosperma cooperi seedlings (one of those bonsai guys) has flowered for the first time. It's kinda a big deal for me. I've been waiting for this for years! Finally!

New lithops 2017 - Part 1 (14 pics)

This year I feel like focusing more on lithops again. Needless to say, it means new acquisitions and more sowing later this year. Do I still have room for that? I do. How?! I am just as surprised as you are. Sometimes the windowsill feels like a plant-growing Tardis. The trick is to use small pots and plant as many plants as possible in each of them. If I only have one small plant of a certain species I would never give it a container all for itself. How wasteful is that! It can share it with at least one more plant. And they can be joined by others if necessary. I'm not a nursery and I have good records of what I grow so there's no need to separate everything.

I've bought some lithops and conophytums at the fair in Essen lately. The conophytums are still more or less in sheaths but the new lithops are ready for pictures. I think with the new purchases I have been favoring white-flowering species more than usual. Mainly because they are a challenge for me. Somehow I have difficulties growing them. By buying well-grown specimen the task becomes "keep them in good shape" rather than "get them into a good shape", which should be feasible.

For example, here are some L. karasmontana. I really like the yellow-orange kind and so I ended up with 4 of those. Neat shapes!

C227 Lithops karasmontana ssp. karasmontana v. karasmontana (syn. jacobseniana) 

C327 Lithops karasmontana ssp. karasmontana v. karasmontana (syn. mickbergensis) MG1631.3

Lithops karasmontana ssp. karasmontana v. karasmontana (syn. mickbergensis)

Lithops karasmontana ssp. karasmontana v. karasmontana 'Top Red'

Lithops marmorata

C214 Lithops marmorata v. elisae

Some L. hallii and L. julii look so similar you can barely see the difference.

Lithops hallii MG1596.9

Lithops julii ssp. fulleri 

Of course I could not walk past beautifully grown L. lesliei and L. aucampiae

C302 Lithops lesliei ssp. burchellii

Lithops lesliei

Lithops aucampiae 'red wine' 

Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. groendrayensis were so fine I got three.

C069 Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. volkii   

C071 Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. dendritica (syn. pulmonuncula)

This is just part 1 of the new lithops introductions. I will post more pictures soon :)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Random seedlings report (13 pics)

It's always fun to grow plants from seed. Even if you know approximately what to expect you never know what their growth pattern will be or how the seedlings will turn out in the end. It is even more fun to grow something from seed that you have not grown before. Sure, most of the time you are just guessing how to care for such seedlings. And you do make mistakes. But this is all part of the fun of discovery and will help you understand the plants later.

I have tried growing Conophytums from seed before but they either didn't germinate or died right after. And so I consider my latest attempt the actual first try. They went through a couple of leaf changes and they are still alive. Being one year old, they went to sleep in the spring just like adults. But they were so very tiny! I really didn't want to let them do that, thinking they need to get bigger first. They didn't listen, of course, and were just doing their thing. I woke them up again recently and luckily all of them seem to be alive underneath the sheaths. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to wake them up a month early but that's also part of the experience.

Conophytum pillansii

I'm happy to report that Oophytum nanum seedlings (1 year old) are also slowly coming out of their slumber. I was really worried they wouldn't.

Below are Meyerophytum meyeri (MG1778.65) seedlings I grew last year. Another of the firsts. The plants have turned out to be easy to grow and very eager to branch out. I understand, as winter growers, they also should be in sheaths but I didn't let them do that out of the usual concern - too young and small for such a long time without water. I worry too much. These guys are tough.

I liked them so much that I sowed more this year. They make very cute seedlings (2 months old).

Meyerophytum meyeri (MG1778.65)

Meyerophytum meyeri v. holgatense (MG1778.7)

My youngest lithops seedlings are too small for photos so I will report on the second youngest bunches. I still have some of the seedlings of which I don't know the names. A couple of them look like L. olivacea. The rest I'm still not sure. They are uniform though and once they are bigger I'll probably be able to match them with my sowing list of around that time (most likely C266). We'll see.

L. dorotheae de Boer from the seeds of my own plants are also growing. You can even already see the characteristic lines and dots and colors.

This year I'm also growing Neohenricia sibbetii (MG1782.12) from seed. Mainly because my own adult plants are all cuttings of the same plant and I'd really like to be able to produce seeds. It might take years until they flower.

Can you guess what these tiny blobs are? That's right, Adromischus mariannae v. herrei. This is the first time for me to attempt them from seed. They look crazy! Just spheres with a root. Really hope I won't kill them. Very curious to see them grow.



Last year all my Delosperma harazianum got eaten by bugs and then froze on the balcony where they and the bugs were banned to. So now I'm starting again from seed. They are already beautiful (3 months old). Now to keep mites away from them...

And these are the red flowering Delosperma "garnet" seedlings. Because why not :)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Desert flowers (8 pics)

We're having a real Summer here. Yesterday on the windowsill the temperature went up to 43°C and the plants are loving it!

One of the Avonia quinaria ssp. alstonii plants has opened 2 flowers and I could catch both for a photoshoot. I tried to self-pollinate them but these plants are not that easy and normally two specimens are required. 

Avonia quinaria sure have beautiful flowers. They are the same size as, say, An. lancifolia, but the stamens make all the difference.

Other Anacampseros are still flowering but the little guy below has caught my attention. It is an An. sp. going under Am258 in the atomic-plant catalog. A slow growing little fuzzball with a short inflorescence and cute pink flowers.

Also, I am very excited to see this nameless Anacampseros bloom for the first time here (FYI, it is listed as SB684, Springbok). I have 5 plants. They all seem to grow side branches this year. And one is growing an inflorescence out of such a branch. The branch is barely visible which makes the whole appearance really strange. As if flowers are coming out of the plant's side where they don't belong.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Cactus & Succulent Market in Essen 2017 (11 pics)

Yesterday I went to this year's Cactus & Succulent Market in Essen. No, "I went" sounds too casual. It was a 10 hour train ride, thanks to the terrible service of the Deutsche Bahn. In the end I could spend only 2 hours at the fair but it was SO worth it! Oh how I wished I could spend the whole day there... But hey, I arrived home within the same day, unlike last time, so that's good. 

Unfortunately I didn't have time to check it out in all detail. I spent most of my time chatting at the Mesemb stand. How wonderful it is to actually talk to someone about our hobby! If only I lived closer to places where other growers live or such events take place. I was so excited I was mostly mumbling or talking gibberish because I wanted to include so many topics into the conversation. And I loved every bit of it. Also, I realized, while always communicating in writing I often don't know how to actually pronounce names of people and plants properly. That was slightly embarrassing but exciting at the same time, just like everything else there.

I went out in the rain to try and take pictures of the rest of the fair which was not very productive. Please check out my 2014 and 2015 reports for better view on what is normally going on there.

So here is this wonderful place I am talking about.
Looking at the pictures, there are so many plants I would have liked to take home with me.

Not many conophytums. I think, I was too late. Still took 6 plants home.

The other stands were mostly for cacti.

This one was interesting but I didn't have time to check it out.

And here are my purchases. I'll post better pictures next time.

Discovered this little monster on one of the stands.

I also got one Ariocarpus, even though I don't grow cacti. Ariocarpus is one that visually fits very well with my collection, I thought, so I'll try growing it.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Anacampseros flowers (10 pics)

And again - Anacampseros flowers! Sorry guys, it's their season :)

Unexpectedly, several of my 2 years old An. vanthielii seedlings have recently flowered. Well synchronized, too! The flowers are flashy and large and I most likely will have seeds to offer this year.

Others were flowering, too. Here is a flower of an An. arachnoides...

... and this one is of a nameless specimen I suspect to be An. filamentosa.

And there are more flowers coming. Another An. sp.

One of my 3 year old An. filamentosa ssp namaquensis seedlings is growing its first inflorescence.

And even this tiny one year old An. retusa fa. rubra is trying to keep up.

Avonia quinaria ssp. alstonii is growing a couple of flowers, too. A lot to look forward to!