Diary - August 2004
I really enjoyed my visit to the National Show and came home filled with enthusiasm to grow my plants better. It is quite inspiring to see just what can be achieved. As well as the splendid mature plants, there were also hundreds of rare and wonderful plants for sale – I gave in to temptation and brought a few new plants home!!!
Looking around my greenhouse today there are remarkably few plants in flower – a few yellow daisy flowers on some of the mesembs and the odd flower on Rebutia and Mammillaria but little else. Aloes and Gasteria are in flower – there is scarcely any month in the year when there are not some flowers on them. The first half dozen flowers have appeared on the Lithops but I expect hundreds of flowers in the coming weeks.
The cuttings of Operculicaria taken in May are at long last sending down strong roots and should be in full growth by the Spring. I can never resist tipping them out of their pots periodically to see if there are any roots yet. Some would probably have rooted much sooner if I had just left them alone. Do you remember Gillian Evisons talk on propagation? She tried different growing mediums to persuade cuttings to root. The best medium for the Operculicaria seems to be 3 parts John Innes, 2 parts fine grit, 1 part coarse grit and 1 part silver sand. Silver sand on its own kept the cutting alive and green but did not seem to persuade it to root. I also tried rooting some cuttings in water but while the cuttings remained green the water also went green and there was no sign of roots. I tried little short cuttings and big branching cuttings, both seemed to take about the same length of time to root.
Lackham College has passed on to Maurice and I some plants that were left to them by a gentleman who died. They kept the best plants for the College and gave us some of the spare ones. Most need some tender loving care, having been neglected during their owners final illness. We have been treating them with insecticide, repotting some and taking cuttings of others. I have brought along some of these for sale this month – proceeds to go to the Branch. There will be more of them for sale at a later date. As far as I can see the plants I have brought tonight are free of pests but you might like to give them a further dose of insecticide before the winter.
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