After the big snowfall we’ve had here in Vancouver, it almost seems like we’ve had a true winter. Not winter like the midwest experiences. Compared to what we’re used to, it almost seems like we’ve moved to Winterfell. I think we had almost 6 or 7 inches of good snow before it crusted over with ice. Nothing like what the gorge had, but good for us lowlanders.
Since I don’t want to take a picture of the dreary, soggy spectacle outside (I’d rather forget it) I’ll show you what I’ve been up to lately. A little bit of searching on the internet has turned up several good places to find rare and exotic seeds, which we all know is a great way to become frustrated for a few dollars. I could talk about the process, but why don’t we all just skip ahead to what I bought. I’ll concentrate on what has already germinated, to keep this post relatively short.
Some of what I got is common in the sense that you can probably find the seeds at most big box stores. I haven’t seen any Amaranthus caudatus at nurseries or seed catalogs before, but I have a sneaking suspicion its because I wasn’t looking for it.
I’m not sure of the exact species, but this is a Pachypodium. It germinated very easily as a hitchhiker in a Schizobasis intricata seedling, and has been growing quickly. I’m excited to see what it turns out to be! I’m a big fan of the red spines and the smooth green leaves.
Here’s what we are all waiting for! Brugmansia! I kind of cheated on this one, because I got these as woody cuttings instead of as seeds. I did have several that I started from seeds earlier this winter, but somehow slugs got to them and ate them. Yes, in the house. Disgusting. Just another reason to hate slugs. Anyway, as of now I still have 8 brugs, and hopefully I can keep it that way until I get these cuttings in the ground in a few weeks (cross your fingers).
Crescentia cujete, or the Calabash Tree, is a new one for me. It’s native to Central and South America, so there’s no question of it’s hardiness. It doesn’t have the largest of leaves, but it does produce a unique gourd-like fruit and really has that tropical feel to it. It gets a little bit bigger than I would like and it is fast growing, however it sounds like it adapts to life in a pot fairly well. Luckily for me, it germinated pretty well, around 85-90%. I’ve got about 25 more seeds, so hopefully I will be able to find homes for them. I don’t need an orchard. At least, I don’t think I want one.
No seed project of mine is complete without cannas. I don’t know what color these will be, but I’m guessing red based on the color of the last batch of seeds from that particular supplier. The cannas sprouted 2 days after planting, which got me questioning myself germinating them in February. I’ve got 10 more waiting to be planted.
I branched out this spring, and tried my hand at cactus. I looked into the Sonoran Saguaro, because if you can’t have big leaves you might as well just be oversized overall. The growth rate on the saguaro is really slow, so I opted out of that one. It turns out the Argentine Saguaro (
Trichocereus Echinopsis terschekii) blows it’s northern cousin out of the water for growth rate. Some places I’ve read have claimed a foot a year, but I’ll be the judge of that. I bought 50 seeds, and I think about 99% of them germinated in 5-7 days. This one should be fun to repot later.
I didn’t start it from seed, but I thought this would be a good occasion to spotlight the very cool new growth on the Christmas Cactus (Zygocactus truncatus). Each new stem starts out a bright pink, and gradually turns orange, and then yellow, before reaching a nice deep green as a mature segment.
I couldn’t leave this post without including the burgeoning buds of the Improved Meyer Lemon. About 2 weeks ago, it started developing bundles of flower buds on most of the leaf nodes. Now, it seems like they could burst open at any moment. I can’t wait to have some fresh lemons! I’ll just have to hand pollinate, because there aren’t too many pollinators in my house. At least, I hope not.