after the sale

“You went back today?”

Yes, I went back today. I needed more plants. I don’t think I have to explain this.

I do grow non-hardy cactus, too, and I fell in love with Pilosocereus azureus. It really is this color.


A few aloes, Trichocereus (Echinopsis) terscheckii, a hybrid crassula, and the slipper plant, Pedilanthus macrocarpus (the green sticks next to the pilosocereus).


The main haul.


The light is really weird today; it started to rain a bit just now (hence the weird light in the pictures). I’m not sure that Ferocactus hamatacanthus will survive here; it hasn’t before, but I plan to cover it this next winter.


Of course, it “comes from a mountain in West Texas”, which, in truth, doesn’t mean anything to me. Really more like near a mountain, but probably no colder than “zone 6b”.


The other end of the cart, with Yucca rupicola. This comes from the southeastern part of the Edwards Plateau in Texas (think Austin), and is completely hardy here. I love the green color, and the twisted leaves. Its cousins, Y. pallida and Y. reverchonii, are hardy here too (and tolerate snow), but a cactus that comes from a “colder zone” turns to mush the minute it thinks it’s getting cold.

There is a reason for this. The USDA zones were developed for bud hardiness on fruit trees, and yuccas and cactus are not fruit trees. It makes a difference. A yucca that comes from a place like Austin tolerates cold and snow, but a cactus that comes from a place sort of like here doesn’t tolerate anything. Whatever, huh. I got the Yucca rupicolas to go with the ones I already have. (Yes, the garden looks all brown and dry. I live in a brown and dry place, which may be why stretches of green lawn make me uneasy.)


When I came home from the sale, a rabbit had eaten all the ‘Early Gold’ crocus whose picture I posted two days ago, dug a huge burrow under a cholla, and was in the process of eating more crocus when I finally lost my patience and threw a pinecone at it. I can’t, and won’t, hurt them, but I’ll have to find some way of keeping them out of the garden until I get the pythons.

The patio suet feeder was the center of some serious conflict between Earl (the squirrel)and me. Earl is a jerk, and wouldn’t stop eating the suet. Ate over half a new suet cake in one day, yesterday, so I wrapped a piece of hardware cloth over the suet cage, and he discovered he couldn’t get to it.

So what did he do this morning? He climbed up to the suet cage, looked at me as I was watching him, and peed all over it. (Look closely.)







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10 Responses to after the sale

  1. Loree says:

    While I love all the spikes it’s the Yucca rupicola which instantly caught my eye, very handsome plants.

    Earl is a jerk.

    • paridevita says:

      The twisted-leaf yucca is really attractive, isn’t it? The lime green color is cool too. It and its cousin, Y. pallida (leaves not twisty, or not as twisty, and blue) would probably both like the PNW. There were two pallidas at the sale and I thought about getting those, but I already have four, so I didn’t want to be a complete hog.
      Yes, Earl is indeed a jerk. The other two squirrels here, Merle and Pearl, are much less so, but Earl is a bad influence. He has a notch in his ear which he probably deserved.

  2. Astra says:

    “I’m not sure that Ferocactus hamatacanthus will survive here; it hasn’t before, but I plan to cover it this next winter.”

    Yeah, it didn’t for me either and your picture also brings back memories of the dead cactus reaching out from beyond the grave to impale me on one of those hooked spines.

    I spent a lot of time in grad school in the Davis Mountains (home of McDonald Observatory) and they are very dry but not terribly high (6500 ft peak) or cold. (Though there was the summer where it was humid enough that the water condensed out of the air onto the entrance to my instrument, which is not very good news when you are observing in the infrared.)

    • paridevita says:

      Not very cold. Below latitude 33 or so, it doesn’t seem to matter how high the elevation is, it just doesn’t get very cold. I suspect the Agave gentryi on Cerro Potosi at about 11,500 feet see lows of maybe +15F.
      The ferocactus didn’t shrivel here, so it was full of water when it got cold, and went kablooie. (Technical term.) It was in the south facing garden, protected from everything, growing in grit. At first it looked okay, but as the winter wore on, and on, and on, and on, it turned clear. Very bad sign.
      Still, I’m going to try it again. It’s cheaper than going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant, and lasts longer.

  3. Well, if more of those plants where hardy to my zone 5 I would have an absolute “Ball” plant shopping there. We have so few choices of dessert type plants here.

    • paridevita says:

      You might get Leo Chance’s new book on cold hardy cactus and succulents, or just go to the Mesa Garden website, look at the seed lists, and everything labeled “18” would probably be hardy.
      I’m a bad example; I have no self control at all, will plant almost anything that seems even remotely possible, and also don’t care if something dies. Might even buy the same plant the next year and try to kill it again. Probably not so good for my pocketbook…….

  4. Peter says:

    So, I’m hearing you say that you like cacti, right? Pesky bunnies taste just like chicken, I’ve heard. As for that Churl Earl the Squirrel,

    • paridevita says:

      Yes, I like cacti. My ideal garden would be filled with every known species of columnar cactus, and large amounts of money to acquire them. It would of course never snow in that garden.
      Rabbit does taste just like chicken. Best with a good hoppy beer.
      Squirrel, I think not. The odds are against them here, but lately, the raptors seem to favor pack rat. I suppose I could cook me up a mess of pack rat and squirrel and have the kin folk over, specially if there’s a game on.

  5. How obnoxious of Earl.

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