Monday, September 1, 2014

where have all the flowers gone?

It is Labor Day. Since I tend to forsake hard labor the other 364 days of the year, I decided to engage in a bit of hard toil today in the spirit of the thing, palm trimming.

Many of you may not realize that in another more dignified life I played gentleman farmer. I hybridized jungle cacti, epiphyllae, and collected rare palms amongst other things. Was the vice president of the San Diego Epiphyllum Society for a term or two.

Palm cutting is a bitch, especially in the hot summer sun. Only was stabbed by the phoenix canariensis three times today, two in the hand and one in the leg, so I exit relatively unscathed.

6th century mosaic from a synagogue in Tunis.
When I was hot and heavy with the epis we used to occasionally take the errant branch and stuff it in a crook of the butia capitata palm. The butia, also known as the jelly or pindo palm, got a haircut today, as did the canary and the mexican blue (brahea armata.)

The pindo is a favorite palm, the fruit is as tasty as anything in the garden, slightly astringent but very sweet. Have to fight the bees for the fruit but we are both willing to share.

This is a cell phone picture of a hylocereus undatus that is massively blooming in the palm this week. The flower of the night blooming cereus is gigantic, about 16" wide at its widest petals.

The brahea is just starting to take off, have a huge specimen in the back that is sort of invisible. Have seen valleys in baja near guadalupe with thousands of the gorgeous blue fronded palm.

My favorite  jubea chilensis is still lagging, hope to see it get big before I depart this earthly coil one day. I put gopher wire underneath and while it protects them from the little shits it also can stunt the plant's growth.

You can pretty much drive a truck under the phoenix right now, so my work is done. I have a huge chamerops humilis and a  two story plus phoenix reclinata/canariensis hybrid out front that will have to wait for another day. Next Labor Day perhaps...

Almost bought a bismarckia  the other day in Orange County but wasn't sure I needed another mouth to feed. Their structure is so gorgeous. Maybe some day...


My friend Shawn is a botanist in Thailand who has done many great things and has saved whole genus's of rare plants, practically singlehandedly.

He sent this picture of the world's largest terrestrial orchid, Grammatophyllum, which happens to be blooming in his front yard. It only blooms very occasionally so I think he has to be pretty stoked!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I like the idea of putting the epiphyllum up in the tree. I have morning glory climbimg baboosa oldhamii. Some of my wife's relatives from Vietnam stayed with us recently and asked where the flowering bamboo was from.