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Mammillaria plumosa- Feather Cactus

Mammillaria plumosa-Feather CactusMammillaria plumosa is native to Nuevo Leon, Mexico and is commonly known as "Feather Cactus" because of the feathery spines. Most Mammillarias are native to Mexico but they can be found from the southwestern US all the way south to northern parts of South America.


Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine Roots

Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine rootsOn the other blog I wrote an entry on how to root ornamental sweet potato vine cuttings and in this one I posted pictures of my sweet potato vine tubers after I lifted them to store them for the winter. If you're looking to root sweet potato vines or store the tubers visit the links right above


8 Things You Don't Know About This Gardener

I've been tagged twice to participate in one of these memes. The first time was Gina at My Skinny Garden and today I learned that Barbara at Garden Grow has tagged me to reveal 7 things about me. They're both basically the same meme so I'll get them both out of the way in one post. The rules are that I'm suppose to reveal things about myself and link to the people who tagged me and then tag 8 people myself who are suppose to reveal things about themselves.


You Know You're An Urban Gardener When

I took advantage of a relatively sunny day today to clean up the garden a little. I was amazed at how the mind wanders and the things that occur to you when you're out in the garden with only your thoughts. I started to remember the photos that didn't get posted to this garden blog, all of the seeds that I never got around to sowing in the garden this year, the plants that didn't get propagated and the experiences I've had over the past two years in (or because of) the garden. Some of the things I was thinking about are universal to all gardeners and gardens but I can't help but think that some of them can only happen in an urban garden or to an urban gardener.


Decorating Cacti And Succulents

Santa Fe Christmas Tree, Opuntia falcataBefore I wrote the "Fake flowers on Cacti" entry I e-mailed the two largest cacti & succulent wholesalers I was familiar with from the big box garden centers. I didn't get a response from either one but I thought about those two companies again when I wrote the "More cacti abuse" entry on Halloween and posted a photo of a cactus with googly eyes from Altman Plants. One of the comments in that entry was from NuSuki who provided links to photos of similarly decorated C&S in Spain.

Growing Aloe Vera From Cuttings

A visitor to this gardening blog e-mailed me to ask if it was possible to propagate and grow Aloe vera from cuttings. Honestly, I've never tried it but everything I've read about Aloes indicates that they can't be propagated through leaf cuttings. But it is possible to propagate an Aloe vegetatively by removing a pup or by rhizome cuttings though.

But there are the Aloe vera hybrids that have been crossed with related succulents like my xGasteraloe 'Green Ice' which is reported to be a cross between a Gasteria 'Old Man Silver' x Aloe variegata. When I bought that plant there was one leaf that was much larger than the whole plant and has now died, that's a big clue that it was propagated by a leaf cutting.

If you happen across my blog and you don't find the answer to the question you were looking for try the search boxes on the right or e-mail me through my profile. If I know the answer I'll gladly let you know and if I don't I can probably point you in the right direction.


Content Scrapers and My Blog's Feed

I've been publishing my blog with a full feed to make it easier for people who have found this blog interesting and subscribed to my feed to be notified of new posts. Recently I noticed that a site was scraping my feed in whole and publishing it to their site.


Storing Sweet Potato Vine Tubers

Storing Sweet Potato Vine TubersI'll be storing sweet potato vine tubers that I purchased this year for the first time. If you're interested previously I've posted a photo of my ornamental sweet potato vine flower (really beautiful flower IMO) and on my other gardening blog I've posted on how to root sweet potato vine cuttings. You can visit both of those links for pictures and information if you're interested. This post will be about storing sweet potato vine tubers for the winter and my experience with this plant.


Everyone's A Garden Coach

Earlier today I started to write an entry on a strange encounter I had but abandoned it after 8 paragraphs because I was dancing around an issue and language to keep my little urban gardening blog family friendly.

I live and garden in Chicago, IL and living in a big city has advantages and drawbacks. It just so happens one of the drawbacks of living in a big city I deal with is living off of a very busy road. From time to time some women (lets call them "temporary companions") will provide companionship to men who are driving down this busy road I live off of. Are you following me?


Oriental Lily Seed Pods

Oriental-Asiatic Lily Seed Pods. Lilium Seed PodsI'm not much of a fan of Oriental Lilies probably because I don't have any nice cultivars. I bought my Oriental Lilies in one of those mixes from a big box store when they were on clearance. If these lilies hadn't been so cheap I would have been disappointed in ending up with white and orange colored flowers when the packaging showed a nice mix of colors.


Cheap Topiary Frames

Cheap Wire Topiary FramesTopiaries have always fascinated me and I've wanted to get involved in the art of topiary but I was limited by two things. My first limitation came from the fact that when I first became interested in them I was in college and inside of an apartment there wasn't much room for a dinosaur shaped evergreen. The second thing that hampered my interest in them was the fact that topiary frames are very expensive.


ZZ Plant- Easy Low Light Houseplant

ZZ plant, Low Light HouseplantZamioculcas zamiifolia is a tropical perennial plant native to eastern Africa. The scientific name comes from the fact that the plant's leaves resemble a Zamia which is a genus of cycads. Zamioculcas zamiifolia is better known as a ZZ plant because the scientific name can be hard to pronounce. It has become a popular indoor plant and can be seen growing next to Snake Plants in places like malls and offices and is increasingly found for sale at the average greenhouse or florist.


Pineapple Lily Bulbs

Pineapple Lily BulbsSince the weather in Chicago was cooperating today I was doing some work in the garden. Mostly I was cleaning up some dead plants and pulling up my tender bulbs for winter storage. I checked on my Pineapple Lily bulbs to see how they were drying and realized that Pineapple Lily bulbs are really ugly. These ugly bulbs don't do the Pineapple Lily flower and seed pods justice. With such pretty flowers I'd expect Pineapple Lilies to have equally attractive bulbs but I guess a nice and fuzzy sheath like a Crocus corm or a shiny and papery skin like a Tulip is too much to ask for.

Preparing My Amaryllis For Blooming

I'm in the process of bringing in a lot of my houseplants and succulents for the winter. If you read this blog last winter you may remember my experiments with pollinating my Amaryllis and the subsequent Amaryllis seed pods and know that I have one or two of these flowering indoor bulbs around. At the beginning of October I moved my potted Amaryllids onto the porch so they wouldn't get sun or water and make them lose their leaves.


The Future Of Urban Farming?

Living Steel By Knafo Klimor, Agro HousingI have this day dream where I play the lottery and win a huge jackpot. I take a big chunk of my winnings and build a large urban farm in Chicago. This urban farm, aside from giving me more space to play with plants, would serve as a teaching center for inner city kids and adults. I already know where it would go and can picture the buildings designed to look like farm houses and barns, the greenhouse, the fruit tree orchard, and nursery. My urban farm would produce organic produce and ornamentals for the community that surrounds it and create future generations of Chicago residents that are environmentally conscious. While I've been thinking about the use of land on a horizontal plane some forward thinking architects have been thinking vertically.


Not Your Grandma's Christmas Cactus

Thanks Giving Cactus LeavesOn a previous entry here I wrote about how to get your Christmas Cactus to flower and on my other blog I wrote an entry on rooting Christmas Cactus cuttings. In the first entry here I alluded to something being fishy in regards to calling my plants "Christmas Cacti." Most of the plants sold today as "Christmas Cactus" are actually not the true Christmas cactus. These are not your grandma's Christmas cactus.