Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our first Plant sale!

I have extra plants! This is the first plant sale I have on craigslist. If you are in Los Angeles or near the Van Nuys area in the valley and in need of some succulents, come take a look. :) I have everything from cactus, to aloes, agaves, euphorbias, and smaller succulents for sale.

Click here to see our Craigslist ad!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dad's Bonsai regathered

When my Dad had his stroke in February of 2006, his Bonsai collection was scattered among family and friends. The first one I inherited was from my Aunt on March 5th, 2011 when I visited her house. She gave me a plethora of plants, and the first of my Dad's Bonsai that I brought home was the Ficus Insipida below. I am waiting for the other two companion plants to leaf in order to identify them.

Besides my Aunt, a family friend offered to take care of most of my Dad's other bonsai trees. However, soon after he took them, his life got too busy and couldn't afford to give them consistent care. My Sister called him to ask if he could allow us to take one back since I was learning how to grow Bonsai. In the end, he decided to give us most of them back. We took ten trees back from him and my sister kept two. I offered my brother to take any that he likes but he didn't want to yet.

My Sister and brother in law drove eight of my Dad's trees to my house on June 25th. I ran out and bought some lumber and concrete blocks to make two 10' benches.

The bonsai has arrived. They were in my side-yard here but I've already moved them to the backyard where they are not visible from the side yard. I also built a new side yard gate that is 6' tall and put a lock on it for safety measures.

Ficus Insipida is below. This is the first one that I received from my Aunt. This was when the journey of gathering my Dad's Bonsais began.

The two little brown stumps are hard to ID with no leaves. My best guess is Cyphostemma Simulans or mestoklema tuberosa. It's a shot in the dark but it's hard to tell with no foliage.

The first thing was to do identify them. This is what I came up with. There could be some error because a lot of Ficus trees look similar to me.

Ficus Palmeri below:

The two little plants are Ficus Petiolaris and their roots seem to be attached to the Palmeri.

Below is Ficus Microcarpa.

Ficus Benjamina, also known as weeping fig is below.

This is a Holly tree but I'm not sure which kind exactly.

Finally an easy one; Wisteria. Same one in my earlier post of Dad's Bonsai. :)

And another easy one; Olive.

These are big bonsai! A couple of them are about 3 feet tall and wide. The smallest one is the Olive, which is about 18" tall. I cut them back a little since these photos to make them a bit more compact so that they can fit on the bench without too much over-crowding.

Ficus like lots of sunlight. I put the trees in an open space with full sun so the soil dries out quickly in the summer. I water the small pots about three times a week and the deeper pots twice a week. On very hot mornings, i give the leaves a light mist. There is new growth on every tree even though they are shaggy looking. They are very established and hardy plants so it's only a matter of time before they will look more consistently maintained. Once they are more healthy, I will change the soil, re-pot, and start fertilizing. It's exciting to be the care-taker of some of my Dad's plants. I am glad to be up to the task.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Huntington Botanical Gardens Cactus and Succulent Show and Sale 2011

It was an awesome show. I am converting to Succulent Bonsai for sure.

These are my favorite photos from the show. Enjoy!

Don't worry be happy.

I love this tall plant in the back called Operculicarya decaryi.

Lithops dish. Living Stones.

Aloe Plicatilis

Ficus Lutea in rock clinging style.

Fockea edulis. Love the name, love the plant. Turn this plant sideways and I can call it a reclining nude style.

Last but not least is my favorite bromeliad called Deuterocohnia brevifolia. Air plants don't need soil and are related to pinneaples.

Monday, July 4, 2011

More Succulent Window Boxes :)

The best way to get some mileage is to do it! So we made three more window boxes using the same ideas we shared with on a previous post. Mix different size succulents, vary the heights and shapes, use negative space, and we mulched this with black riverbed rocks and lava rock.

Graptoveria 'fred ives' in the foreground here. It's the biggest succulent in the boxes. On a side note, we saw a van at the Hungtington Library Succulent show that had a sticker that said "My succulents are bigger than your succulents."

Plants in Shades of Purple

I love purple. It's sickening how much I love purple. (It's almost as bad as how much I love pink.) Right now, we're in the tail end of spring here in Southern California and many of our favorite plants are happy and in bloom. So while tending to the plants in the courtyard today, I realized how much PURPLE there is and I just had to snap a few photos to share. :)

Spanish Lavender - Of course, this is a no-brainer given its namesake. This stunning plant has pretty medium purple colored flowers. We keep them in a container at our gate and they have been thriving well. This particular type is a kind of Spanish Lavender which has a pineapple shaped flower.

Fuschias - The pink and purple variety is my favorite! Seeing the outer petals lift to reveal the deep purple interiors is breath-taking.

Pearle Von Neuremburg - This lovely echeveria is famous for its lavender and pink pastel tones. I'm certainly a fan.

Iresine "Blood Leaf" - It has bright tones of magenta interlacing with rich purple tones on the leaves. This particular photo shows it more of a jewel red, but in person, it's definitely more purple to me. In cool climates, they should be grown in a house or greenhouse, or they may be planted outside during the summer and brought in before frost. They should be grown in two-thirds loam, one-third leaf mold or peat moss and decayed manure. Water them abundantly while they are growing actively, otherwise moderately. Pinch the young growing tips to encourage bushiness.
Tradescantia 'Purple Sabre' - This plant with deep purple foliage has pretty tri-petaled flowers which popped up this weekend for us. This fun plant is great in full-sun or in partial shade with good drainage. I adore it and I'm still finding a place for it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Courtyard - a fresh canvas

I'm currently working on both the courtyard and the backyard. The courtyard is only about 15' wide and 15' deep. The backyard is about 60' x 60' so that's not going anywhere fast.

Here is our courtyard. There's a bunch of plants in nursery pots and I just installed a cover using shade cloth and some cedar lumber for the framing. Although we are using drought tolerant plants and succulents, many of them need partial shade or at least some protection from the hottest parts of L.A. summer. It gets quite toasty here.

The courtyard is so small, I don't think I will make a drawing to plan it out. On our travels to Europe a few years ago, we decided that Barcelona was our favorite place. It was the colorful mosaics, the energetic Spanish culture, their diversity, friendliness, gourmet seafood, sangria, and their art that attracted us. We decided to bring some of those Spanish influences into the design of our courtyard. It is a million degrees outside so this small project will probably take quite a while since we're not in a rush. There will be lots of crafty work including vertical succulent frames, perhaps acid etching the cement, and maybe install a console table or hang a piece of framed art. The ideas aren't set in stone yet.

Below are photos of a couple of plants that we're starting off with; Agave Victoria Reginae (Queen Victoria), and Portulaca grandiflora (moss rose). More to come later.