Early May updates, part 1

Seasonally appropriate temperatures are finally here, and the plants in our garden have kicked into overdrive. This week I will be updating some earlier posts to show you how things are developing.


Topic: Starting cannas from seeds

Originally posted: 2/19/11

In mid-February I sowed four Canna musifolia seeds left over from a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, our black lab thought I was growing food for her and she made a mess out of my seed pots, as described in this previous update. One seedling survived, and it’s now about 8” tall. It expect to plant it out in a few weeks.

Surviving Canna musifolia seedling
going strong



Topic: Ghost plant babies

Originally posted: 3/27/11

My ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense) babies are now toddlers. They’ve rooted nicely and have all but consumed the leaves from which they were propagated. I’ve started to water them and I expect them to grow rapidly now that daytime temperatures are in the 80s.

Ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense) babies, propagated from leaves



Topic: Bay tree flower orgy

Originally posted: 4/1/11

The four sweet bay trees (Laurus nobilis) in our backyard had more flowers this year than I can ever remember. They lasted for about three weeks and provided the bees with a huge supply of nectar.

Now our backyard is a covered with a carpet of dried flowers that have fallen off the trees. They are on top of the bark mulch, in our bamboo stock tanks, and in our potted plants. They make a slight crunchy sound as you walk on top of them and, oddly, give you the impression that it’s autumn in our garden.

Dried flowers from our sweet bay trees



Topic: Cape balsam (Bulbine frutescens)

Originally posted: 4/9/11

In my original post I mentioned that we also have an orange-flowered cultivar of Cape balsam (Bulbine frutescens) called ‘Hallmark.’ Although smaller and slower growing than the yellow-flowered species, it’s a beautiful plant in its own right. ‘Hallmark’ is now blooming in our garden so I’m able to post  a photo.

We have it growing both in full sun and in mostly shade, and it blooms in both locations (albeit more profusely in the sun).

Bulbine frutescens ‘Hallmark’


Topic: Cactus seedlings

Originally posted: 4/24/11

As part of a plant trade with garden blogger Alan of It’s Not Work It’s Gardening, I received a bunch of tiny cactus seedlings that he had started himself. Alan had posted regularly about these seedlings (check here, here, here, here, and here), and I promised I would post regular updates as well.

I added some decomposed granite to the 4” pots and placed them in a spot where they receive about 5 hours of morning sun. They have definitely assumed a reddish hue in the sun, and as far as I can tell they’re still alive. I’m totally flying by the seat of my pants here since I’ve never taken care of cactus seedlings before. If any of you have any experience, please jump in and tell me what I can do to improve their chances of growing into adulthood.

Tiny cactus seedlings



Topic: Planting tomatoes

Originally posted: 4/25/11

After an unseasonably cool spring, we’re on the cusp of early summer. Seemingly overnight, daytime temperatures jumped from the 60s to the high 70s and low 80s. By mid-week, we’re expecting high 80s. Tomatoes love the heat, and the two commercial varieties we planted just a week ago (Sun Gold and Yellow Pear) are flowering nicely now. In fact, Sun Gold is already setting fruit!

The heirloom seedlings we received from a friend are still small but just today I spotted new leaves forming on most of them so the prognosis is good.

Sun Gold flower…
…and first fruit

Bamboo updates tomorrow.


  1. I love those 'Hallmark' flowers! Beautiful!

    I read that darkening of cactus seedlings is "sunburn", meaning they may be getting a little too much light? I don't really know.

    No photos of the bay flower pileup?

  2. Alan, I've added a different photo of the bay tree flowers. The wind is blowing them all over the place.

    I've moved the cactus seedlings so they don't get quite as much sun. Will report back in a week.


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