Drought Tolerant

Lessons from the barrel cactus

Lessons from the barrel cactus

While the long, beautiful spines of a mature barrel cactus are truly a sight to behold, they are woven so tightly together, across the cactus' ribs that any environmental detritus that falls on or around the cactus, becomes entangled.

Fernleaf or Egyptian Lavender (Lavandula multifida)

Fernleaf or Egyptian Lavender (Lavandula multifida)

oday we will be exploring the lovely Lavandula multifida, a Mediterranean native usually seen on the Iberian peninsula, Sicily, and the Canary Islands.

Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

Cleveland Sage.  Jim Sage.  Blue Sage.  Fragrant Sage.  All these are common names for Salvia clevelandii.  Regardless of region, this plant is known for its aromatic qualities--a trait shared by its cousins in other sage species.  Native to southern California and northern Baja, this perennial thrives in a chaparral habitat, usually found growing wild below 3000 ft / 900 m.  Initially identified in 1874 by Asa Gray and Edward Lee Greene, it was named in honor of San Diego's noted plant collector, Daniel Cleveland.

The Turning Seasons: Plants, Death, and Rebirth

The Turning Seasons: Plants, Death, and Rebirth

Today is Easter, the time when in the Christian tradition, someone who was once presumed deceased is reborn into a new, but strikingly similar form.  Yesterday was World Transgender Awareness Day, celebrating a community so often misunderstood, harassed, or ignored--a community whose very nature calls out in an expression of change, ideally able to embrace the individual's truest self.  On the Spring Equinox, March 20, was Ostara, the transition between the hibernation and death of winter into the rebirth and new life of spring.  I find it apt that all three of these events occur during a liminal period, not entirely one or the other--the dusk of one season and dawn of the next.

Houseleeks, Hens, and Chicks (Sempervivum)

Houseleeks, Hens, and Chicks (Sempervivum)

There are many species in the Sempervivum genus, each unique and with particular properties.  Noted by Linnaeus in 1757, the genus name translates to "always living," a reference to the plants' hardy, drought-tolerant nature, enabling it to survive in both intense heat and frost.  They are also known as houseleeks, hens, chicks, or hen's nests in some areas.

How to Care for Your Cactus (re: Water)

How to Care for Your Cactus (re: Water)

While each species has its own unique traits and properties, all share an inherent hardiness in dry, arid conditions. However, because they evolved to exist in regions largely devoid of water for the majority of the year, they are highly suceptable to over-watering and potential rotting--either from fungus or from being waterlogged.

The Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusoni)

The Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusoni)

Today, we'll be talking about the ever-lovely Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusoni), first described by Hildmann (1891).  I will admit that the barrel cactus has always been a favorite of mine.  In retrospect, that is likely because it looks much like a cuddly pillow (unlike the soft-spined Paraguan and Brasilian native, (Notocactus leninghausii), but I digress.