Monday, May 31, 2010

Suffering Trachy

I got five trachys shipped to me from a guy in Atlanta. I originally thought that I was getting seeds, instead I got seedlings.

I got the palms out of their envelope when I received them about three weeks ago. Now some are doing okay in protected areas, but one out front looks like hell. I has gone to war like those others I have out, but it has been crushed and even faced down snow.

Now it is Memorial Day. I wonder if this trachy will become a faint memory? Is it root rot or just the way I planted it? Perhaps just fate. Oh well I had to vent. Now I feel better. Kirk posted just before me and I saw his cholla hell.

Wow dude be careful out there. And he is going for another cholla. These are not small cacti if you have been in the Mojave, Sonoran or lower Great Basin. They are nasty and will "bite" back. But I can relate to my Front Range buddy.

As for me I will begin the grieving process for my little palm. On a great note my prickly pears begin to produce beautiful flowers of red.

Ah the irony. God bless the US Military and those who have served our country this Memorial Day on my last note.

My shadow and the cholla...(very poetic )

there they are

another part of the big one

yet another part of the cholla

a big chunk of the giant cholla

The many cholla parts I still haven't planted. And to think I am most likely going to get another cholla next Monday. However, will only be planting the bigger pieces of THAT cholla

It's in the ground!

They came as a pair. I'm not that concerned about the guy on the right. I would have purchased the one on the left or $65.00 alone. I ended up taking of the bottom of the wooden crate and buried the crate to reduce transplant shock.

My new yucca thompsoniana

Well here it is, going to plant it today. Yucca Thompsoniana. I found this at one of the coolest nurseries I've seen, *(aside from Star Nursery in St. George, UT).

I'm currently planting the mess of chollas first, there are a ton of them. If anyone out there wants any clippings, now is the time to ask!!

This yucca only cost 65.00. It's a double headed one. One of the heads isn't doing too well, but the other is doing fine. I was tempted to get even a larger yucca, but had to restrain myself

I'll take some pictures of the chollas tonight. The pics weren't coming out well this afternoon with the sun.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Giant cholla

Just yesterday I went onto craigslist and someone was giving away 7 foot cholla! Well, I was there today digging the sucker up. The one bad thing was the main root was so thick that I couldn't get the shovel to break it. (The guy told me it was about 40 years old). Anyway, I had no choice but to cut it up into pieces. Luckily, chollas transplant very well and do grow great even when cut up into separate pieces. There are a few fairly large large "bush-sized" cuttings I was able to plant. I'll try to take some additional pictures tomorrow. Also, tomorrow I'm of to a nursery to get hopefully a fairly large trunked-yucca such as a yucca rostrata or the like. The guy from the nursery emailed me and stated they have a bunch at 30 percent of. However, I can't afford to buy one that costs a few hundred dollars, so gotta control my urges there.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Mighty Joshua Tree

Joshua Trees have long intrigued me. They are the largest of the yucca family and can live for hundreds of years.

The name for the plant Yucca brevifolia, comes from the Mormon Pioneers who described the yucca as the Biblical Joshua with his arms raised to heaven.

Joshua Trees define the boundaries of the Mojave Desert in Utah, Nevada, and California in the north, Arizona to the east and south and California to the south and west. They are commonly cultivated in desertscapes throughout the American Southwest outside of their
normal range with fairly good success. *Also, don't forget the joshua tree in Aurora, CO is THRIVING!* The only protection it receives is being planted against the house**

They stand as sentinels to an old west type of time when survival by your own wits was they way to go or die. What is interesting is that many of the older trees could have been well established as the pioneers made their way west to southern Nevada, California, and Arizona.

Joshua Tree National Park in California is famed for some of the largest Joshua Trees on record. They can be grown from seed, though somewhat tedious to do. I have one sapling that is a fluke of luck and survived the winter buried under snow.

They are commonly out of range found in cities and towns across the west. I have seen them in Salt Lake City, Utah and surrounding areas, I have one and a large yucca, not a Joshua Tree, but equally as tall growing on a ditch bank in American Fork, Utah. I have also seen them in Moab, Utah, Grand Junction, Colorado, Wendover, Utah and even Oregon.

Do not hug a Joshua Tree or you will bleed. Just appreciate the sentinel of the American Southwest.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Part 2

*Ahem* Ok, this is me coming from Aurora, Colorado now. A wide variety of yuccas and cacti do surprisingly well here. I was especially surprised how well my joshua tree is doing. There are a extremely large trunked yuccas planted in and around my area that are thriving. It's the dry air that really helps them live in the "colder" climate. I'm told I live in a zone 5-6.

I also have an experiment going. I've planted a Trachycarpus Fortunei- (a windmill palm), in addition to a few other "hardy" type palms. When it gets colder I'm planning to construct a greenhouse-type structure around them. (Well, ok.... my wife is really the handy man-woman uhh... person, who I'll be assisting).

I started looking into greenhouses on EBAY, but my wife thought they'd probably collapse with the snow on them, so we'll be constructing something more sturdy. I know this is officially a "yucca/cacti" thing, but I snuck in a few palms too.

I'm planning to get additional yuccas for my yard - especially some larger, trunking yuccas. Soon I'll be visiting a nursery that apparently has these type of yuccas which is in a city about 30 or so minutes away from me.

My little Chamaerops humilis, or mediterranean fan palm.

My beloved Washingtonia Robusta ( I THINK it's a Robusta). It lost a few fronds, but getting them back. Also, it's gained a good foot and a half of trunk since I purchased it

My little banana plant and his buddy. (my little 3 year old thought it would be fun to crinkle them up like a piece of paper- caught her in the act)

my beloved banana tree (pretty sure it's NOT a hardy type)

My beloved trachy. (Not a yucca, sorry!)

Some type of tropical yucca, (according to the nursery staff!)

This guy transplanted well, I just planted it crooked!

This guy got flattened by snow I think but he's hanging in there.

This guy is having issues
My bananna yucca!

My other new transplant - hope it lives

My friend "Spike!"

My little century plant(?) Not sure if this is what it is.

My little joshua tree is doing great and has produced little offspring as you can see.

My Sigmund Freud cactus

Not sure what type of cactus this is, but I just got it.. pretty kewl !

Struggling yuccas - will they survive??!?

I got three of these for free, but they are going through massive transplant shock. I've been watering them daily for a while, as suggested by the pros. We'll see....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Desert Views

The Desert is a place of wonder and majesty, not just the stereotyped wasteland. The desert has a variety of plants and animals that you can find no where else, depending on where you live.

The plant life is hardy to adapt to the hot and yes, cold conditions that can befall these harsh areas. They offer beatiful views, crazy formations, and oases wherever they may be.

In Biblical times the desert was where the Israelites spent so much of their purification to be worthy to go to the promised land. Scattered along the walls of the American Southwest you can look up at many a face cliff and see peoples who long ago lived and thrived in the arid environment raising such crops as corn, beans, squash and other crops. They used the hardy yucca plant to make everything from ropes to baskets to clothing.

The desert now provides much of the United States' energy needs with coal and natural gas. It has been the testing ground for nuclear bombs, and the most surprisingly a place where major cities like Las Vegas, Nevada, Phoenix, Arizona, Reno, Nevada, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Grand Junction, Colorado.

The desert is home to US National Parks Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Mesa Verde, Black Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Great Basin among others. The desert truly is a marvelous place to hike, bike, seek solitude, and enjoy nature.

The desert once thought a nomansland, is now a land of many uses and is home to many people.

What a great place to be near and live in.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why Cactus?

Cactus have never really been my thing growing up. When I was seven we lived about 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah in a mid size town called Sandy. We had large fields around our subdivisions of suburbia.

I would used to go out into these fields of sagebrush and play with my friends. One day while playing, I stumbled across a Great Basin Prickly Pear with long sharp spines. It was also colder that day and the barbs went right into my leg.

I ran home crying in a lot of pain and my mom got the barbs out with a pair of tweezers. I never really took to cactus after that. I mean they were cool as back drops in a Western and anywhere that I wasn't. But to be honest, pain was not my thing.

It was many years later that I met a friend of mine at my current work, who now lives in another state. He and I became fast friends. He let me come to his house and I saw this bizarre yard.

He had cacti, mostly prickly pear everywhere. He also had some palm trees. I thought to myself "This is an interesting chap." He was really enthusiastic about palms, cactus, and other tropical stuff. If it was a challenge to grow outside of the traditional zone, well Kirk was the man.

It soon became of some interest to me after a few trips we took out west of Utah Lake in Utah. Slowly he sucked me into his world and I began to grow prickly pears. The same kind of plant that stuck me in the leg some 25 years earlier.

The rest is history. That is how I came to love cacti. Now I have mini barrels, large barrels, golden barrels, beaver tails, prickly pear from the Colorado Plateau and Mojave Deserts, hedgehog cacti and chollas.

It is a wonderfest of pain but very beautiful when they bloom. I have always liked stuff that was a bit off the mainstream. I live on the line between the Great Basin to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east.

It forms an interesting microclimate of moderate winters and hot summers with nice spring and fall seasons.

We have a true Indian Summer here. It is nice to see such hardy plants survive in and outside. More about cacti later. But if I figure if I am going to have a hobby, no pain, no gain.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Welcome to Cactus and Yucca Rebel

This site is dedicated to all things cactus, yucca, desert, palms, and tropical plants and assorted BS. As an adventure of two plant nuts we seek to push the boundaries of normalcy of warm plants beyond their natural limits and cultivate hardy plants.

So enjoy the opinions and rantings of Dave and Kirk the yucca and cactus rebels.

Cactus Ring

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