Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody!! 

I have just looked at my resolutions for 2017 and, weeeell, I could say I pulled some things through (it's a stretch). I went down 7 kilos last year (5 of which I've put on again by Christmas time). I've been cooking my own lunches and making bead bracelets and some small blackwork things, so that's points for creativity. I've been watching lots and lots of TV shows (no improvement there). And I'm still terrible at replying to emails (self-bashing everyday because of that). My greatest achievement this year is the ability to hula-hoop with my butt and I've only unlocked it like 2 days ago.

So what would be the resolutions for 2018?
1. Lose those 5 kilos (or better more)
2. Be more productive (kinda mandatory resolution that never leads to anything)
3. Be more active in the succulent growing community (on it!)
4. Make or think of making some setup of artificial lights for my plants. It has been raining for months around here and even though the plants are not getting any water they stretch and die anyway. There is just no light at all to work with...
5. Make an effort to make friends (that's a hard one)

And so, even though I haven't achieved anything this year I got myself a present - that new Wild Lithops book. I know, I know, I was not going to because it is about plants in habitat which has no useful information on how to deal with them in captivity but the photos are just too pretty! I ordered it over at Namibiana and it arrived 1 day later with some extras.
I have not yet read any of the text, just looked through the photos. They are all beautiful and I really liked how many of them had a finger for scale and sometimes pictured damaged or not so perfect plants struggling to grow. Normally, those habitat photos feature perfect plants with no problems at all. Seeing that even in their ideal environment they might not grow perfectly is encouraging. Another positive thing is that there are almost no photos of flowers. How great is that! It's all about colors and patterns of the leaves, the soils they grow in and their plant neighbors. I particularly loved the pic of some lithops growing together with an Anacampseros. It really makes me want to plants them together in a pot at home, too. If you are thinking of buying this book and have questions please feel free to ask and I'll look it up.


  1. Stop beating yourself up ...............achieved nothing!

    I have some lights in the greenhouse now. It will be interesting to see what happens if anything.

    I am about 100 pages into the book. Very interesting. Like most plants Lithops resist labels and species just blend into each other. Not as clear cut as the Cole books suggest. When I am contacted by people from S Africa they say my plants are pristine compared to the wild plants.

    1. I just wished I would be doing something meaningful with my life :)

      Please report on our light setup and the results! It would be really very interesting to read about it as I'd like to make a setup for my plants as well. Normally I am able to bring my plants through winter fine but this year it's just terrible.

      Well, we all know your plants are pristine :)
      Thank you for sharing all the pictures.

    2. I am not sure how to assess the lights as they are a supplement I do not want to turn them off and cause damage. I am well aware of the faults with my plants.

  2. Happy New Year to you Rika. So, your greatest achievement for 2017 is hula hooping with your butt. Well, I have mastered that yet, so you are one up on me. :) I also would like to lose a few kilos, and 5 for me would also be good. Of course I always gain weight in the winter and lose it the remaining part of the year when I can regularly ride my bike. I was 19 when I went into the army and I weighed 55 kilos. My how things have changed since then. :)

    I think I will buy Wild Lithops. I really enjoy looking at, and reading about cacti and other succulents in the wild. And, as you know, I have always enjoyed putting together pots of plants that attempt to mimic a naturalistic scene. I don't really like planting a lot of different lithops species together in one large put, which is very unhabitat-like. But such plantings are usually a big hit at plant shows.

    I continue to enjoy growing under LED lights. They are now making LED fixtures than mimic old fluorescent units called shop lights. They use a diode that emits a very bright white/blue light (5000-6000K) and there is not dimming over time as with the fluorescents, thus not regularly replacing the tubes (with the LEDs, there are no tubes). They also emit much less heat than the fluorescents. Like the old cool white fluorescents they produce excellent vegetative growth but are not great for some flowering plants, if flowers are what you want. I have tried one of the LED units designed expressly for plants but they use a combination of red and blue diodes and make all my plants, and part of my basement look reddish-purple. They are just not designed for a room you also live in.

    We are very cold now here in Southern Maryland and I have to keep a watch on my overwintering frames. If one of the heaters malfunctions or we lose power, I'll have about 5 hours to get it fixed or the temps in the frames will drop below freezing. So far, no problems. This coming Saturday night / Sunday morning, our low temperature is expected to be near -15C which is quite cold for us here.

    I hope you and Mila are having a great start to the New Year, and I would love to hear all about your 2018 adventures and see lots of photos. How about one showing your hula hoop expertise????????? ;)

    Take care and stay warm and happy. Bob

    1. I already kinda stopped dieting XD Need to resume! I can be so lazy... Let's say it's the season. Once the sun is shining and it's warmer we both will go out for a ride and move more :)

      I like the natural arrangement too and will definitely try putting lithops and Anacampseros/Avonia together. I'm not watering neither of them during winter so it might be ok. The book really gives some nice ideas :) Make sure to write your own book report when you get it!

      Thank you for the LED lights information. It is very interesting. I am in fact thinking of having a closet with shelves and lights on every shelf, that can be closed and would look just like a regular closet.

      I'll take cold and sunny any day over the warm temperatures and non-stop rain since months... We barely had any below zero this year. It's just rain and rain and rain... I can't even take pictures on my windowsill because it is so dark during the day. As soon as the sun finally comes out (in a couple of months, I guess) I'll be updating the blog more frequently.

      Hope your start into 2018 was great, too! Winter will soon be over :)

  3. Happy New Year, Rika! My New Year's resolution is to stay out of hurricanes.... Wishing you very happy gardening in 2018!

    1. That's a good resolution :) Stay out of hurricanes and keep gardening!

  4. Keep warm, Bob! I hope your plants manage in this Polar Vortex! We've been freezin' down here in the tropics, hope my crotons survive, they're covered in blankets.

  5. Hello,
    We have a lithops that keeps splitting, but the old leaves are not withering or going away. What are we doing wrong? It's got too many heads now and we are afraid this is not good for its health. Is this a sign of not enough sun? As for new year resolution, we are going to start growing lithops in hollow geodes for 2018! Thank you!

    1. Have you been watering your lithops? Lithops should not be watered at all between October and April. If you do not water them, the old leaves are being absorbed into the new ones so that by April there is only one pair left. If you have been watering your lithops all this time, stop immediately and if they don't absorb the old leaves by April cut those leaves off.

      Good luck in 2018!

  6. Hm. I think I'll take your resolution #1 and #2 this year too. Let's see how we do in December lol I finished #4 this year (it took two years of experimentation and research) so I can help with your project, just holler! (I should probably write about that for you).
    I ended up with all my plants because of #3 so I don't know lol. #5 is too hard.