June 6, 2010

Flowering Cacti from South America

Rebutia perplexa, an easy-to-grow, hyper blooming cacti for sunny windowsills. Just be certain to provide near-freexing temperatures during their bone dry winter period for good bloom.

While visiting the great Chelsea Flower Show a few years ago, I was taken by the magnificent displays of flowering cacti, all being grown in round bonsai pots. Since I despise poison green plastic pots, those displays have influenced how I now grow the few flowering cacti I keep. My collection blooms generally around the end of may, until the end of June, here are a few pics from this week.

It was a discovery for me, when I first started growing cacti, that many of the most beautiful flowering forms come from South America. I was also reminded about the fact that Cacti come from the new world, (the Americas) and Euphobia come from the old world ( Africa, Europe). An easy way to organize the basics, and always impressive cocktail chat.
Lobivia arachnachantha

I never had great bloom on my cacti until I was able to grow them under open glass, where they can get full sun year round, and winter temperatures near freezing, which seems to trigger the formation of more flower buds.

June 1, 2010

Mothera vs. Batrzella - Itoh Peonies and Cecropia Moths.

Oh, it' is SO, June. Luna Moths and Peonies.

Yesterday, the Itoh Hybrid peony 'Barszella' began to open in the gold and blue garden, where there are four Itoh hybrids. Tonight, after a thunderstorm, the flowers are all laying down, (as peonies which are not properly staked will do), but the flowers are massive, and still a bright yellow, even thought the color in the light of dusk photograph's lighter. It is truly a butter yellow, and almost a foot in diameter.
It is June first, Silk Moth season.  These next two weeks mark our brief season of large, showy native species of Silk Moths, or those genus within the family Saturniinae. You know,  the big show moths which are bark and rbown colored with huge owl-like eyes, and, of course, the famous Luna moth. During these early weeks of June, these moths emerge, mate, lay eggs and die, all within a few days, and this year, I don't want to miss them again.

No moths tonight, but we know that they are out there. Here,  black walnut tree, a favorite species for adult females laying eggs shortly after mating.

Penstemon in the east

It's starting to look more like the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado, than a central Massachusetts garden but for whatever reason, the Penstemon that somehow were planted in our raised rock wall, * which probably came from a rock garden society seedling plant sale, or something similar) are blooming this June. We delight in their brief display, for these are plants which are notoriously challenging in gardens east of the Rockies.