Susan’s new garden: Cylindropuntia, Oreocereus celsianus, Agave, and miniature roses.
A recent cactus fiend
I’m just going to put it out there: I like to push boundaries - in and out of the garden. Well, here is an example that even within the same species, the results of pushing the boundaries can be quite different. Now, how do I get more Oreocereus celsianus to perform like the former rather than the latter?
The “experimental” garden.
After last year’s mild winter, I decided to test a few plants in the garden this winter. The results are, well, mixed.
The Mammillaria nejapensis seems to be “sinking” - not a good sign. At first I thought it would just scar on the uppermost tubercles, but I don’t have much hope for this one surviving.
The grouping of two Oreocereus celsianus and three Espostoa melanostele isn’t looking too great either. The original O. celsianus, that overwintered outdoors last year, looks absolutely perfect, but the second specimen never seems to have settled in and now shows a fair amount of freeze damage. It will probably not make it. The E. melanostele, Peruvian Old Lady cacti, will certainly not make it. They may well already be empty shells.
Surprisingly, the Aloe vera continues to hold on to life. In fact, the green portions are even more lively now.
The Bulbine frutescens is showing signs of life, and the stems that have no green still feel alive to the touch. The question is whether it is worth keeping or swapping out each year with a new plant.
I am quite surprised by the state of the Cylindopuntia imbricata. There are just two segments clinging to life. Will this one survive? I sure hope so because it exactly the plant that I need in that spot.
While checking out the after effects of the cold weather that closed out 2012 and brought in 2013, I was surprised at how “plump” my oldest Oreocereus celsianus appeared. Well, when I looked back to six months ago, I noticed it isn’t necessarily more plump than this summer, but rather, more plump and much taller!
I decided the Old Man of the Andes, Oreocereus celsianus, could use some neighbors. These Espostoa melanostele, or Peruvian Old Lady cacti, were the perfect fit as they could very well be seen within the same Andean habitat - plus they were super cheap and two per pot, so I was able to group them in threes. They are all purported to be cold hardy to at least 20 degrees, and one of the Oreos already lived outdoors and dippped that low several days.
I also included a shot that shows the new thimble cacti and trimmed yucca.
I finally planted the other Oreocereus celsianus to the left of the once identical specimen that I planted in the ground last fall. While the one on the left is starting to get more hairy coverage, it still has a long way to go. Another striking difference is how much stockier the plant in the right is - all in all much better adjusted to the Texas heat and brief winter cold.