1/23/2007

MLK Jr. Day Cactus


I was given a cutting from a cousin's Thanksgiving cactus many years ago, and it's grown up to be a healthy sizable plant. Then this fall I was given another sad-looking cutting that was long overdue for repotting. I stuck it out in the garage under my grow lights. (Every gardener needs a hidden corner for botanical experiments.)

Well guess which cactus just bloomed? The little struggling one, of course, And just in time for MLK Jr. day. These cacti need a cold period, which I'd neglected to do for my bigger cacti, and I'd inadvertenly done that for the new cacti.

So next year, I will give both the cacti a cool and dark period in my garage, starting in mid-October. Or maybe I'll be a little late again next year, and honor Martin Luther King Jr.


1/07/2007

Every rose has its thorns...and assorted pests


Would a rose by any other name still be such a pain in the @%$@# to grow? I think so.
I'm now contemplating if I want to replant my rose bushes into new containers (the cooler months are the best time for this), put them in the ground, or just unload them anonymously in my neighbor's driveway during the night, since he seems much better at caring for them.
I have a love-hate relationship with the roses left to me by my the former owners of our home. I love the blooms, like this one I captured with my new camera in November. But dealing with the rest of the plant is another matter. Leaf spot, Japanese beetles, powdery mildew, and aphids tend to attack the plants all summer. The best solutions are very toxic chemicals, which I choose not to apply this past summer while I was pregnant. I guess I could put my environmentalist inclinations aside and go back to a regimen of spraying next summer.
Is the rose really worth all this effort?