Saturday, June 8, 2013

Don't fall for this gimmick!

This time of year, Home Depot can reveal some succulent and cactus treasures and other times, they'll shock you with horrible gimmicks like these below.

Behold The Kosmik cactus! A.K.A. Cacti that have been spray painted or dyed neon colors to fool the unsuspecting buyer! What a load of crap! I feel so bad for these little guys!

These "Kosmik" colors include like neon pink, aqua, neon yelow and electric blue. If you see these in person, look closely at the spines, you'll see the color has adhered to the white spines and has also saturated the green skin beneath. The tag even mentions that "new spines emerge as a glistening white or gleaming yellow" which clearly tells you that this color was merely spray painted on top.

It's horrible to think that they sprayed these little guys with chemicals. In this photo, it looks like some people bought them and check out the little balls of color left behind. It gives you an idea of how unnatural this collection is. Don't buy them and don't encourage this trick! So, what does a normal "thimble cactus" actually look like?

Like this. WHITE spines and if you treat them nice, they'll even have darling, little delicate flowers! While cactus are definitely exotic looking plants, these neon colors just don't exist in real life.

And while I'm on the subject, Home Depot is also known to sell cacti with glued on flowers. It looks like this:

The colors on the flower seem about right seem right. It even looks like what a cactus flower would do. At first, if you're not knowledgeable about cacti, you might think it's real (and hey, I've bought some before!) But on closer inspection. It's just a dyed, dry flower that has been HOT GLUED to the plant! After a while, the cactus will grow and the flower will fall off leaving you with an ugly glob of hard glue stuck between the spines. It will be unsightly and impossible to remove. Your poor plant will live with this glob for years. :(

What do cacti flowers ACTUALLY look like?

Cactus flowers emerge from a tubular stem that can be either green or the color of the petals. The flower itself can come in variety of shades and usually has a VERY silky feel to the touch. (Not dry and brittle like the fake flowers.) 

So, if you see a flower at Home Depot on your cactus, look carefully at the base. You can usually see the glue!

Don't pay extra for a gimmick. Don't encourage this foul business trick!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Things are starting to grow again!

It's always exciting to see new growth coming onto your plants.  :)  I've been working so hard on the hardscaping that I haven't had much time to update or put any special care into any particular plant.  But now that the yard is mostly done, I can refocus on cultivation.

This baby agave americana variegated kept a red edge on it's leaves.  Unusual, and very nice.

This is my Shohin Bonsai bench.  Mostly traditional bonsai material with the exception of the fockea edulis.  Two of my rooted cuttings are doing well also.  One was a crepe myrtle from the tree in the front yard.  The other is a boxwood cutting.  Everything is super green.

Our E.G. Waterhouse camelia has petite bright pink flowers.

These are flowers from our Coral Bells Kurume azalea shrub.  The shrub is still a baby at barely over a foot tall.  It's a toughie but still alive!  :)

This is a flower from our Goldmine nectarine tree.  The flowers are very similar to cherry blossoms, peach, and purple leaf plum.  It'll be tricky to compete with the animals for some fruit.  Last year we lost.

My first Japanese Black Pine.  New candles are coming up.  I will work on energy balancing on this guy soon.  April is feeding time.

This is my third Japanese Black Pine.  I bought it specifically to grow and train as bonsai.  It was originally about 5 feet tall.  I chopped it to about 20".  It's got some movement going on in there.  I like it.

Squirrel 1 - Me 0.  Now we know who's taking one bite out of every avocado and running off.  He isn't scared of us at all.  I think he might have eaten the few we had last year nectarines too.  I think he's threatening me with his stiff tail.

This wisteria was a bonsai inherited by me from my Dad's original collection.  A family friend adopted it when my Dad was no longer able to take care of his plants.  I didn't have the space to take any plants at that time.  It turned out that the family friend was too busy to take care of it also.  That was when I adopted it.  When I first received it, it was just a bunch of tangled up vines that were about 5 feet long.  I didn't do much.  Just a little trimming and fertilizer brought this tree a long ways.  It's had a tough past but hopefully it'll be on it's way to recovery now.  Wisteria has a very strong and pleasant fragrance.  I really love this tree it was moved very close to the house so that we could enjoy it more.

Here we are enjoying a wonderful weathered Saturday afternoon after a good lunch at Porto's.  :D

Our Howard McMinn Manzanita is flowering tiny white flowers.  :)  Yay!

At 6" off the ground, they seem a little low for humming birds, but who knows!