I spent my Easter vacation in NYC and of course had to visit the New York Botanical Garden while in the neighborhood. The Easter weather was extremely cold with temperatures just above freezing – the cacti in the outdoor bed were all dormant so they seemed better prepared for the cold spell than we were ;-)
The NYBG outdoor cactus bed seems to be established or rearranged recently as very few of the plants are large and well established, one of the exceptions being a sprawling Opuntia pusilla.
View of cactus bed
Some of the dormant plants displayed beautiful winter colors, especially the O. basilaris and O. polyacantha cultivars were dazzling in their different shades of purple.
Opuntia basilaris 'Art Combe'
Opuntia polyacantha 'Candy Cane'
The Escobaria vivipara plants are growing just next to the footpath. Fortunately they weren’t trampled – in their withered state they could easily be overlooked if one swerved from the path.
The bed contains several species of Echinocereus, all looking fine after the winter. Inspired by this I might try to grow both Escobaria and Echinocereus in my unprotected bed (after investigating the differences in temperature and precipitation between Denmark and New York more thoroughly).
A post on the NYBG cactus house (part of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory) can be found here.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The plants in the coldhouse were watered for the first time this season a couple of days ago. They have been kept abstinent from water since the beginning of their dormancy in late October, i.e. for almost 5 months. I’m fascinated by the patterns created by light and shadow on the withered cladodes, and had to take a couple of photos before the plants return to their usual turgid state.
Opuntia compressa (Monmouth County, New Jersey)
Opuntia kaibabensis (SB 1319; Houserock Valley, Arizona)
Opuntia polyacantha var. hystricina (Grand Canyon, Arizona)
The O. polyacantha var. hystricina plants are grown from seeds I collected during a hike down the Grand Canyon.
Escobaria vivipara (south Alberta, Canada)
This E. vivipara has sunken almost completely in on itself. As the stem swells with water the tubercles will soon be fully erect and protruding again.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
As mentioned in yesterdays Delosperma post, this winter has been extremely wet in Denmark but not very cold. All of my cacti, growing in unprotected beds, seem to be coping very well with the conditions, though.
Opuntia polyacantha (Redcliff, Alberta, Canada)
My two Opuntia polyacantha (Redcliff, Alberta, Canada) plants were started from seed (bought from Mesa Garden) in 2004. They spent their first couple of years growing protected in a coldhouse, and were transplanted to an unprotected bed late last spring.
The unprotected Cylindropuntia viridiflora (Pojoaque, New Mexico, USA) plant has been very marked by winter in previous years, but made it through this winter virtually without a scratch.
Cylindropuntia viridiflora (Pojoaque, New Mexico)
The only sign of winter on last years new growth is a slight blushing (displayed against a rusty-red carpet of winter dressed Delosperma 'John Proffit').
Cylindropuntia viridiflora (Pojoaque, New Mexico) – new growth
In general the plants are not as withered as they usually are at this time of year, as is evident from the (mostly) turgid cladodes of this Opuntia tortispina (DJF 1139; w. Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA).
Opuntia tortispina (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
The C. viridiflora and O. tortispina plants were both bought from Uhlig-Kakteen.
BTW, I just realized today is the vernal equinox – a suitable day to post on the status after winter ;-)
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
This winter has been wet, wet, wet in Denmark, but not all that cold. It’s probably not the optimal environment for Delosperma, but the four species I’m currently cultivating certainly don’t seem to mind their growing conditions. Most of the plants have assumed a reddish hue as illustrated by the photos below. All plants are growing in unprotected beds.
Delosperma nubigenum (Sani Pass, 2900m, Lesotho)
Delosperma sp. 'John Proffit' (East Cape Drakensberg)
Delosperma sp. (Sani Pass, Lesotho)
Only the Delosperma sp. (Drakensberg) is its usual bright green self, showing only slight traces of red pigmentation.
Delosperma sp. (Drakensberg)
Monday, May 08, 2006
My cacti are slowly recuperating as the growing season comes to a start. My regular Opuntias are all doing well; unfortunately my Cylindropuntias are marked badly by the cold and wet Danish winter.
The Cylindropuntia viridiflora looked beautiful in the snow but the top has now completely died back.
Cylindropuntia viridiflora – scorched by snow
My Cylindropuntia whipplei flowered last summer with amazing yellow-green flowers. Today it resembles a bunch of withered twigs – the only part still (seemingly) alive is the absolute base of the plant. If it’s still alive it will probably be years before it flowers again.
Withered Cylindropuntia whipplei
Alas, my Cylindropuntia imbricata is dead. I’ll leave it standing as a “snag” in the bed (given the plant was old enough to have formed wood).
Dead Cylindropuntia imbricata
All of the plants above are (or were) growing in an unprotected bed. I have similar plants growing outside in pots with some protection from rain and snow – these plants are doing considerably better. This indicates that the harm is not inflicted by the cold (even though the winter was exceptionally cold this year) but rather the consequence of too much precipitation.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
My Cylindropuntia viridiflora seems to be coping quite well with the cold and damp Danish winter. The plant pictured below is seemingly weighed down by snow, but the drooping form is common for plants in winter dormancy (as illustrated in the previous post).
Cylindropuntia viridiflora covered by snow
My plants are growing unprotected in a natural “raised bed” on top of a dune close to the north-western coast line of Denmark. Evidently the heap of sand is supplying sufficient drainage for the plants to survive the wet winters.
Opuntia sp. hidden in snow
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I can’t exactly say my cacti are basking in the sun – rather they are striving to endure the wet and cold Danish winter. The pictures below were taken December 25, 2005.
Drooping Cylindropuntia viridiflora
Opuntia humifusa hugging the ground
Opuntia 'Claude Arno'
My cold house grown Lophophora williamsii aren’t doing as well as the Opuntias – some critter ate large bites out of them.