Saturday, 28 May 2011


Woot! Finally got time to head out to The Herb Garden and pick up plants for my little patch of tasty paradise.

We got:
- sweet basil (x3)
- bush basil
- thyme (lemon and french)
- greek oregano (x2)
- chives
- lavender (x2)
- "Mojito" mint
- tarragon
- chervil
- summer savory
- Italian parsley
plus a rosemary plant that I bought during a nursery visit a month ago, and some dill seeds will probably end up being tossed about on a whim.

I'm rather disappointed that they didn't have more interesting varieties of basil, lavender (seriously still drooling over the varieties of lavender I saw during my whirlwind visit to Humber Nurseries. Didn't buy any because I wanted to support a local business *grumble*). They also didn't have any chamomile (for shame!) or fennel. I also wanted a bay laurel and lemon verbena, but couldn't justify the price *extra grumble*.

Does anyone know anything about growing fennel? Can I just toss some seeds in the garden (assuming I can find any?), or do I need to hunt down starter plants? I ask on behalf of these guys:

Henry and Bunnicula. Yes, that is a red milk crate there for scale.

They LOOOOOVE herbs, and fennel in particular. In fact, this is pretty much what they look like when they smell anything liquorice-y: "omgsmellssooooootastytastytastyilovetastiesgimmetastiesorIwillstaaaaaarve!!"

Tomorrow is planting day! Also going in is my single loofah plant:

He is going a bit crazy on the windowsill and is starting to cuddle up to the rosemary. Tomorrow he will have an entire trellis to get friendly with.

And, just because, a picture of some impatiens that mom picked up. As a general rule I hate impatiens with a burning passion, but the flowers on these are kinda pretty (more coral-coloured than the picture shows).

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

R.I.P. a new guy: Lithops julii

Remember this L. julii ssp. fulleri v. fulleri I was worried about when potting up the new 'thops?

His old leaves were really squishy....and squishy seems to never be a good thing when it comes to lithops.

I came home from a cottage trip on Sunday to find him looking like this:

Yup, that is one extremely dead lithops. Sigh. He was so pretty. And two headed! I'm sad to lose the plant, but can't really kick myself for it - he came with a case of the squishies and all I did was pot him up and put him under my grow lights to give him a chance to dry out. Well, I may have painted a bit of NoDamp on the moldy bits, but really doubt thats what killed him. I hope. It just blows my mind how fast these guys die.

All of the other plants I got from Conos Paradise are doing great, without a hint of The Squishies, so I'm putting this down to a fluke.

Poor plant. I guess this means I need to sow some L. julii seeds from my stash in memoriam

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Meet the new guys: Lithops marmorata

Lithops marmorata v. elisae C252 to be very precise.

Small, pale, cute. Not really sure how I feel about marmoratas exactly....I'm not giddy over them in the same way I am over the larger, flatter species (lesliei, pseudotruncatella etc.) but also don't dislike them in the same way I do the taller ones (herrei), which always make me feel like I'm mistreating them somehow.

Finally got some sunshine today, but I was busy cooking dinner and didn't remember to take the pics until the sun was really low. So far the 'thops seem to be enjoying their afternoon sunbathing trips outside. Next paycheck I'm planning on getting a little mini greenhouse for our back patio so they can live outside all summer (the greenhouse part is really more to protect them from excessive amounts of rain, not to give them heat and humidity).

Tomorrow, a tragic tale.....

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Meet the new guys: Lithops terricolor localis

This guy has a lovely, subtle, spotty pattern, made for contemplating from short distances. Not nearly as flat at the L. lesliei, and smaller at 2 cm diameter. 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Meet the new guys: Lithops lesliei

I'm still grinning like a fool over my new 'thops and THV, patient soul that he is, can still only listen to so much plant chatter. So I turn to my blog and it's massive readership of 3-4 people :) 

This is one of my new Lithops from Conos Paradise, Lithops lesliei ssp. lesliei v. venteri, Cole number 1*. I admit I pretty much got him so I could have the species with the first Cole number, but he turned out to be one of my favorites of the new guys. For Heather S. I think I'll name him The Death Valley Lithops, since the pattern reminds me of the dry stream beds coming down from the mountains surrounding Death Valley.

Large (2.5 cm diameter), flat, and a lovely bold pattern. Sorry the photos aren't better - awful grey weather here highlights my terrible photography skills.

 * Cole number: An identifying number given to different lithops by Desmond and Naureen Cole, who studied the plants extensively beginning in the 1950s. Very useful to know if you are at all interested in knowing the correct names of your 'thops, their location origins etc.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Potting up the new lithops...

A pair of L. hookeri v. hookeri (C112)
It has been an all-around miserable week at Chez Fuss: stress, shocks, stress, thesis misery, broken plans, and more stress. But finally, thankfully I caught a break yesterday and spent a quiet afternoon potting up all my lovely new lithops from Conos Paradise. My collection has grown from 5 types of adult(-ish) lithops to 19! And the potential for many more with the addition seeds for 29 different species (30 if you include Rika's L. lesliei ssp. lesliei v. hornii 'Greenhorn' seeds that my mentor shared with me). Hey, at ~50 cents a package, even I could afford it on my student budget :)

Time with adorable little plants has certainly improved my mood.

 1 year old L. bromfieldii v. insularis ‘Sulphurea’ (C362). Love the colour!!
Waiting to be potted

Took a long time to get the pots labeled and prepared for the plants. Thankfully THV stepped in and helped with the tedious parts. I print out the names in a small font, cut them out and tape them on the pots with packing tape, which makes for reasonably waterproof labels. Finally realized that the tape sticks much better if I clean the pots with rubbing alcohol first. Duh.

L. julii ssp. fulleri v. fulleri (C161) 

I'm a little worried about this jullii, the old leaves are very squishy and look like they might have a bit of mould or fungus in places. But the new leaves underneath feel nice and firm, so I gave it a quick paint with No Damp (which may have been a stupid thing to do) and am crossing my fingers! I love the pattern and would hate to lose it.

I hope you live little L. jullii

Whew, taking a photo break

Annnnnd done. Since we can't get pumice here in eastern Canada, I pot my lithops in a ~1:1:1 mix of black earth, coarse sand and Schultz Aquatic Plant soil which is a baked clay product that has the consistency of a fine gravel, doesn't break down when moistened and is similarly light like pumice. I've been topping the pots off with a layer of pure Aquatic Plant Soil because it both looks better and is easier to push aside to check for mealy bugs along the bodies of the plants.

The new guys

Friday, 13 May 2011

Conos Paradise order

I'm super excited - a group of fellow mesemb enthusiasts and I got together and put in an order from Conos Paradise, and it arrived today! I now have 16 new lithops and one mimicry mesemb to pot up - and a massive number of seeds. The plants are fantastic, really cheap compared to ones you find in stores here (~$2 Canadian for a 3 year old 'thop) and shipping from Germany was shockingly reasonable.

Sadly there is no more time left today to play with my new beauties - first thing tomorrow though! And of course there will be pics!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Rebutia flower

Can't really take credit for these - I picked up this adorable little Rebutia heliosa (aka a tiny cactus) at the same time I got the Euphorbia obesa/Big Green Ball Plant and it bloomed the next day. Maybe out of joy and happiness at finding a loving home?

I'm not big on cacti, but I love small in the case of Rebutias their small-ness tends to win out over their cacti-ness. Plus I feel more secure that in case the plant decided to get uppity and poke me I will be able to defend myself.

For scale:

And some more flower shots:


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Euphoric for Euphorbias

Ok, just have to let it out now:  squeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

Visited a local nursery yesterday (one of the only ones with a houseplant section) and finally lucked out:

A Euphorbia obesa (aka Baseball Plant for Heather S Who Likes Common Names). I bought one of these guys in high school and it travelled as my only plant out to university (later joined by others from home), survived two years in an east-facing dorm window and died a grand.....honestly, I can't remember how it died. Knowing me, I forgot to water it for a few terms. *looks embarrassed*


I've been looking for one ever since. And now my quest has been fulfilled and I am the proud owner of a lovely specimen of Baseball Plant. I'm actually very impressed at the quality of the plants from this place, the cacti and succulents are actually planted in a good substrate and not horribly over watered.

Of course now there is a new quest - apparently E. obsesas come in male and female versions, and you need one of each if you want babies (mommy, where do baby Baseball Plants come from?). So of course now I feel the need to sex this beast and then, somehow, find a mate for it. Rabbits are easier.

Just looked at the clock, no time to show you my other acquisitions.

Instead I will leave you with a picture of Henry. Wearing a Winegum lid for a hat. Caption suggestions welcome!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The stern mouth opens

I was very surprised to find that the clamped face of my Gibbaeum heathii has opened up to reveal a new set of leaves! It has also split along the side (possibly my fault from a light watering?), and there is definitely something new growing in there too - possibly another head? I don't know much about these plants at all - should they be treated like lithops and not watered until the old leaves have shriveled, or does it like to stack leaves like some other types of mesembs?

Exciting times!

For reference, this is what the plant used to look like:

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Faucaria paucidens and a loofah

My Faucaria paucidens seedlings are getting their first set of true leave - and they were only sown on April 3rd! It looks like they are sticking their little tongues out at me. These guys have grown like gangbusters - I probably got close to 100% germination. I keep expecting to get a die-off, but with the way they are piling up on each other in the pot it looks like I'm either going to have to cull some or nuts up and repot. I'm running out of space under my grow lights, and there are still so many lithops I want to sow!

Loofah!!! One of the 5 seeds I sowed germinated yesterday. What a cute little guy - and a freaking beast compared to the baby lithops. Yes, it is planted in a little yoghurt container.

The light brown powder is cinnamon - I'm terrified of damping off, and read somewhere cinnamon had anti-fungal properties. I've also read that chamomile tea is good too? Anyone used it before? I admit I'm using No Damp on my lithop seedlings, but have such a small amount left that I'm testing alternatives.