Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Plant looks vs. flowering (3 pics)

I'm always preaching about how much you can tell about a plant's health and well being from its looks if you observe carefully but sometimes I really can't figure it out.
I have two Prepodesma orpenii plants of an approximately same age (both initially from Kakteen-Haage nursery). One is, even though a healthy plant, not particularly strong looking. It likes to dry off leaves and leaf tips and is sort of smallish. But it had the strength and willingness to develop and open three beautiful flowers in a row this year! (I'm so proud of it)
The other one looks strong and big and healthy with its perfect juicy leaves but it has dropped its two flowers at an early stage this year and didn't even try to repeat. I guess the meaning of this story is "don't judge by the looks" but that's not true because with plants you kinda have to anyway. Let's better call it "let yourself be surprised" :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Avonia day 2014 (4 pics)

It's that magical time of the year again when Avonia quinaria ssp. alstonii opens its flowers ♥
It has been flowering for a while now but today I finally could catch it for a photo shooting :)


Btw, Anacampseros filamentosa ssp. namaquensis is still flowering, too. Less spectacular but still very pretty!

Lithops portraits 2014 - part 3 (12 pics)

Here is the rest of the adult lithops, all enjoying the sunny days.

L. gesinae come in different sizes.


I have a whole lot of greenie L. fulviceps. Since the pictures were taken, I actually discovered two of them are going to flower. Let's hope the flowers will develop and open synchronously to get some "pure" seeds.

The L. julii below is the only julii I was able to keep alive and happy for several years now. L. julii don't grow well here.

The white L. fulviceps are just flat pancakes.

This plant you might remember as that strange kid with weird shapes. This year it looks normal.

L. hallii v. ochracea is not very ocher but well-patterned and shaped.

These two are relatively new to the windowsill.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fenestraria seedlings

Here are some of my youngest Mesemb kids - three-month-old Fenestraria rhopalophylla ssp. aurantiaca 'Fireworth'. I tried it with adult plants but lost them within a month or so. In my experience, even if you fail at growing a particular plant you should try growing it from seed. The seedlings will be stronger, healthier and accustomed to your growing conditions from the start. These Fenestraria seedlings look very well so far, stable growth, meaty short leaves. I'm optimistic :)

Lithops portraits 2014 - part 2 (9 pics)

For a blog called Lithops Stories I sure don't show many Lithops pictures lately. It doesn't mean I've forgotten about them! There's just too much to discover among Mesembs that gets my attention between the two times in a year when Lithops "do stuff" - flowering and changing leaves. Still, summer is more or less the time to show off the plants themselves, without the distraction of old leaves or flowers. Since I do post seedlings pictures regularely the adult plants have barely been represented this year. That's why I'll be making a couple of posts to show you my grown-ups.

Firstly, there's a new plant I got at the C&S market 2 weeks ago. The seller didn't know the name but I knew very well what it was so I just grabbed it as soon as I saw it. I didn't have much luck with L. verruculosa so far but let's hope I've become wiser over the years and can give it a good new home.

Secondly, the surprise I got this morning! One of the L. bromfieldii v. insularis 'Sulphurea' has unexpectedly grown a flower. Hopefully others will bloom in the fall.


Others are pretty much doing what they are supposed to do this time of the year - soaking up the sun.



I'm still calling these seedlings because they haven't flowered yet but they were sown 2008 and 2009 and are pretty much adults now. Maybe they will flower this year?



More photos soon~

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cactus & Succulent Market in Essen (33 pics)

Last Saturday I went to the Cactus & Succulent Market in Essen. I'd take any chance to see with my own eyes what I would normally only see on pictures online. And since there obviously was an opportunity to purchase something - how could you say no to such a trip? The only problem was the rain but, for me, it didn't matter much - I was running around and taking pictures anyway. There were a lot of cacti and caudex plants but in terms of mesembs there was only one grower presenting his. And actually it way enough - I stopped there and couldn't walk away untill I've seen his plants from all sides. Those were the tiniest mesembs you could possibly imagine. I didn't even know you can grow them that compactly - a dreamlike scenery and a goal to pursue. Who knew you could grow a Cheiridopsis species of the size of the smallest Conophytum! He had a beautifully grown selection of Conophytums there so, totally impressed, I bought 6 plants. You probably can't see it from the pictures but they are really really tiny.
(please click on the pictures for full size)



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Stomatium alboroseum first flower

I'm still editing the photos from the succulent market and will try to post a report this weekend. But for now I need to share my joy over the Stomatium alboroseum seedling with you. This little guy is 11 months old and has only 6 leaves but it already could develop and open its very first flower! I'm very proud of it.
Funny thing, even though the flower opens at night and seemingly doesn't rely on sunlight for that, it opened just a little bit over the last few days when it was raining the whole time. Today it was sunny and hot and as soon as it was dark the flower opened fully. As if it got charged by the sun during the day to have enough energy to open at night :)

My Stomatium trifarium kids are several months older and really huge but not even a sign of a flower there.