Saturday, August 8, 2020

Depupping ‘White Rhino’

Queen Victoria agave (Agave victoria-reginae) is arguably one of the most beautiful and therefore most popular agaves. There are many different forms:  the all-green standard form with a varying number of white markings; several selections with yellow variegation; and a few clones with white variegation. The latter are quite rare, and hence highly sought after. 

One of the white-variegated forms is called ‘White Rhino’. It has off-white stripes on the outside and green in the middle. (A form called 'Mediopicta Alba' has the reverse: white in the center, green along the margins.)

I bought a ‘White Rhino’ offset a number of years ago—seven? eight?—and it's grown slowly but steadily. A speed demon it ain't, but few agaves are. 

On the upside, my ‘White Rhino’ has produced a handful of pups, and I finally decided to remove them so they can start life on their own (and hopefully make their own babies eventually).
Agave victoria-reginae ‘White Rhino’, about 7½ inches across

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Repotting in my favorite new soil blend

Plants often let us know what they need. All we have to do is look. Some cases are more transparent than others, but it doesn't get more obvious than this:

Acanthocereus rosei, a scrambling/climbing cactus from Mexico with beautiful flowers

This used to be a perfectly square pot. Doesn't look so regular anymore, does it? 

The ripples and bulges aren't caused by the plastic melting in the sun. It's the plant telling me it wants a bigger place to live. And here it is:

Saturday, August 1, 2020

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, summer 2020: a bit of Australia/NZ and Africa

This is part 2 of my recent visit to the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. Part 1 is here.

As I mentioned in my previous post, you need to make a reservation before you can visit the UC Botanical Garden (UCBG). My reservation was for 2:30 pm so I only had 2½ hours until closing—not a lot of time, considering the garden is a sprawling 34 acres in size. My friends Max and Justin and I focused on the Mexico & Central America Collection, but on the way there, we walked by the Australasia Collection. Among many things, it contains beautiful specimens from Australia, like these Tasmanian tree ferns:

Tasmanian tree ferns (Dicksonia antarctica)

More tree ferns are in the Cycad & Palm Garden surrounding the Conference Center and Tropical House, but that section is closed (unfortunately) because the paths there are narrow and social distancing would be difficult. I was disappointed because it's one my favorite spots at the UCBG.