Archive for April, 2012

Flowers blooming all over on this San Jose Roof Garden

Aloinopsis luckhoffii Flower

Echeveria Halbingeri Flower

Kalanchoe Humilis Flower

Echinofossulocactus Multicostatus Flower

Dudleya Saxosa Flower

Armeria Maritima White Flowers

Ichneumoid Wasp comes for a visit

I taut I taw a putty cat…I diiid! I diiid!

Cashew hunting birds on the patio

Sproutopia – My homage to the SF Garden Show

Sproutopia - Propagation Central

Cactus and Succulent Society of San Jose Sale

The Plant Sale held by the CSSSJ was by far my favorite plant shopping trip!

I found out about the event through their website:

The variety, quality, and quantity blew my mind!  The pricing, I have to say, was very fair.  The sellers consisted of some nurseries and mostly individual hobbyists (who are members of the CSSSJ).  A majority of these folks are so knowledgeable that they grow the plants from seed.  It must take a lot of patience, because cactus and succulent seeds take a long time to germinate and grow!



Joseph Clarisonic (pottery artist) and Nick Wilkinson (owner of Grow Nursery)

Beautiful Pottery for sale

This beauty caught my eye and I had to find out where I could get one of my own!  They are like a mountain of tennis balls.

The gentleman who owns this gorgeous Geometricus is Ron Harris.  I approached him to ask about his gorgeous specimen plant!  I wanted to know where in the world this plant comes from, what is the rate of growth, how old this plant is, and most importantly where can I get one??!

Geometricus (Ron Harris)

Well, here is Ron Harris, so kindly telling me about his specimen plant!  He found me a baby Geometricus which I promptly purchased! Per Ron, the Geometricus is from Argentina and he keeps his in his green house.  In full sun it will turn red, but in his green house the plant will stay green (resembling tennis balls).  His plant grew 20 balls in one year, and in another 9, so the growth rate really does vary.  Ron wasn’t sure about the age of the plant, but at a rate of 9-20 balls a year…I would say, the plant doesn’t necessarily take that long to get large.  Although to reiterate, Ron seems to really baby his plant by keeping it in perfect growing conditions in the green house.  I can definitely say that this baby cactus is the most I’ve ever spent on a cactus/succulent.  It’s considered very rare.

Ron Harris with a baby Geometricus

Moving along, I had been obsessed with finding an Aeonium Cristata.  I ran into Loyd Monaco (president of CSSSJ) who was very helpful explaining to me what the crest looks like and what it means in terms of the plant growth.  Here is Loyd posing by one of the prize winning specimens.

Loyd Monaco (President of CSSSJ with a Calibanos Hookeri)

Here is Loyd’s Aeonium Cristata.  Following Loyd’s plant are other Cristatae species.

Cristate forms, or crests, occur when the cells of the growing point of a plant begin to multiply erratically, elongating the growing tip to form “fans”, rather than the usual single growing point. This can occur as a result of genetics, or from mechanical damage to the growing tip in the form of sudden cold, insect damage or other causes. When a plant is crested, it develops a form which often is far more attractive and interesting than the normal plant from which it has come.

Cristate (crested) plants require less light than the normal forms. Succulent crests should occasionally be trimmed of normal growth to perpetuate the cristate form. Cristate cacti should have “normals” removed carefully, and only during the active growing season.

Aeonium Cristata (Loyd Monaco)

Espotea nana cristata

Stenocereus Griseus Cristata (Don C)

Here are some other beauties!

Adenium Obesum (Nick Wilkinson)

desert rose?

Ferocactus Covelii (Richard Deming)

Gibbaeum Heathu

Aloe peglerae

Monilaria pisiformis

Mamillaria movensis (Munkasy)

2012 SF Garden Show – The Vendors

I had a blast at this year’s SF Garden Show.  Even though it was pouring I determined I was going to have a great time.  Since the show was 100% indoors, I wasn’t effected by the rain whatsoever.  I went with my friend Kevin Warnock who is really interested in aquaponics and urban homesteading.  You can check him out on his blog  We both benefited greatly from meeting the vendors and buying gardening supplies from them.  I would strongly urge anyone who enjoys gardening who is looking to find great deals and tremendous varieties to come to the next SF Garden Show.

It would be impossible to write about all the vendors that attended the SF Garden Show.  I wanted to share some personal highlights.  So here you go!

Succulent Gardens

Here is the Succulent Gardens’ little shop.  I spent by far the most cash here.  The customer service was fantastic and the sales team were very knowledgable about the plants.  I’m a sucker for succulents…  If you live in the Bay Area or the Monterey Bay Area and are as fascinated as I am about this genus of plants you must stop by their store in Castroville.

2133 Elkhorn Road, Castroville, CA 95012 |             (831) 632-0482       |

Succulent Gardens

Morning Sun Herb Farm

Next I stopped by Morning Sun Herb Farm.  I purchased a Lemon Verbena and a Lavender plant.  They both smell amazing.  I made sure of that before I purchased them.  The staff here were so incredibly nice and helpful.  I was told that I should start pruning my lemon verbena early on to shape the plant  for a better result as it grows.  I was super psyched about the lemon verbena as it’s been impossible to find at any garden center.  I have never seen any seeds being sold either.  It was mostly a strong object of desire because of its amazing refreshing scent.  If you are unfamiliar, Loccitaine uses it as a fragrance for many of their products.


phone             707-451-9406      

Morning Sun Herb Farm

Sweet Water Nursery

Moving on, I found Sweet Water Nursery that had a lot of container plants and very cool containers to put them in.  I purchased 3 really funky shamrock plants which you can see below.

Sweet Water Nursery

Sweet Water Nursery


The planters on display are by Ecoforms and they are biodegradable pots.  You can find them at .  My shamrocks from Sweet Water came in the Ecocorm pots already, which is pretty cool.  According to the website the pots are meant to last about 5 years outdoors and longer indoors.  “EcoForms pots are made from rice hulls and natural binding agents, which are starch-based, water-soluble, and bio-degradable. No pollutants are used or produced at any stage of the manufacturing process. And, because all scraps are recycled in the production process, no materials are wasted. Only a small amount of water is used in the binding formula, and the organic pigments are environmentally friendly. Heat and pressure bind the ingredients to produce EcoForms pots.” ( )

Ecoform Pots

Oxalis Plum Crazy

Back to the Roots

I would love to try these mushrooms out!  The yield is supposed to be many pounds.  It’s perfect for those who don’t have any sun.  These mushrooms like dark and dank environments.  The growing medium is used coffee grinds so no need to worry about any foul odors!

Grow your own Mushroom kit

Grow your own Mushroom kit

The Living Seed Company

I had known about Matthew Hoffman and Astrid Lindo from Twitter before I met them at SF Garden Show.  Such nice and highly informed folks!  The idea behind the brand is that we are losing heirloom varieties at record speed.  There used to be such immense diversity of crops and we have already lost about 90% of them due to companies like Monsanto.   The Living Seed Company promotes heirlooms and harvesting the heirloom seeds at the end of the growth cycle.  So your purchase at this company is really very high quality seeds that keep paying dividends year after year.  My friend Kevin loved their heirloom seeds as well and bought a variety pack for quite a good price.  I can’t wait to invite myself over for dinner some time, Kevin!  🙂

Check out their website for very interesting information on heirloom seeds and to buy online!

Living Seed Company

Heirloom veggies

Variety Seed Packs including a seed harvesting book

Iron and Wood Garden Tools

I have to give credit to Kevin because Tuli Fisher’s garden tools booth caught his eye and we were both hooked (no pun intended).  We were in for such a treat of marvelously hand crafted very sexy garden tools made from essentially upcycled materials.  Tuli Fisher was such a nice person to top it all off.

409 South Fifth Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715   •               406-522-9443

Iron & Wood Garden Tools

The Tower Garden

I really want one of these!  The tower garden combines my two interests: vertical gardening and growing your own food.  The units cost about $500 and are a closed loop system which is a very efficient way of growing your own food at home.  The system looks really heavy, so I would probably have it sit in the kitchen.  Ideally you’re supposed to have it out doors.  This is a phenomenal idea since currently the wait list at my community gardens is at least 3 years in San Jose!!!

Tower Garden

Making love for 2…making love for 2 minutes! Soldier Beetles mating caught on camera!

Two Soldier Beetles mating

Soldier Beetles mating

It’s an Aphid Feast! Soldier Beetles gorging on invaders

Soldier Beetles on my Yarrow plant

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