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Recent Topics on the Cloudforest

Dragon fruit presentation from CFRG San Diego

by cchan » 2 hours ago in Fruits, Rare Fruits, Orchards and Exotics

Just thought you guys would be interested in a presentation on Pitayas.

One of the interesting things in the presentation is there is a Hylocereus x Epiphyllum called Asunta by Edgar Valdivia which might have possible cold tolerance since Epiphyllums can tolerate cooler temperatures than Hylocereus

http://crfgsandiego.org/Presentations/P ... TATION.pdf

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Garden video 30th Aug 2015

by Kev Spence » 1 day ago in Palms and The Tropical Look

I shot a video of our small garden last weekend its a little long at 14 mins so I will be checking none of you are fast forwarding ....lol

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my luo han guo (arhat/monk fruit, S. grosvenorii)

by yeti17 » 4 days ago in Fruits, Rare Fruits, Orchards and Exotics

I bought over 100 seeds from 2 different suppliers. After five months, only two germinated and one died (damping off). This is my 6-inch seedling. It's doing well, except it got some sunburn during last week's heatwave.

Image

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Grey Water Systems

by doublehelix » 4 days ago in Urban Homesteading

Hello,

I've been reading the posts in these forums for years.

I just bought a home with just over .25 acres in the San Diego area. I have been reading up on grey water systems and I was wondering if anybody here has had any experience with them? I see all of that shower water going down the drain as a real waste.

I already use my washing machine water but I really want to find info in regards to installing a pump system since I live on a hill. It's not a steep incline but the area I want to irrigate is uphill.

Thanks in advance.

Jake

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A collector's confessions, my gateway hesper palm

by Axel » 5 days ago in Essays

I've always known I have a collector bug. When I was a kid I collected stamps. When I studied physics, I collected physics books. And when I lived in Santa Cruz, I collected apples. Collecting is a lot of fun, but it has a dark side too. Everyone needs refuges from the stresses of modern life, and a collection can be a great way to relax, it provides a focus for study, and it's a way to meet other people. But there's a fine line when collecting turns into hoarding. For me, I draw the line when the collection no longer is a source of pleasure, and it gets in the way of life, that's when it's time to let go.

Back in Santa Cruz, apples seemed to be a natural and easy way to express my collector side. The climate there was perhaps the best climate in the entire continental United States to grow apples. High Winter chill, cool Summer nights and only very mild Winter freezes made it possible to grow all sorts of apples. Our garden simply produced the most delicious apples I had ever eaten. So I figured, let's plant some more varieties. So in went more apple trees. When i ran out of room, I started to graft multiple varieties. The collector bug got so bad at one point that my wife called herself a "grafting widow", I'd spend the bulk of early Winter days grafting apple varieties and planting more apple trees. Then one day I ended up with over 800 apple varieties, and I realized it wasn't me that owned the collection, it was the collection that owned me. The cider pressing became a chore. It became almost impossible for me to find time to manage all those varieties.

And then, one day, the apple maggot arrived in Santa Cruz and put an end to my love affair with the apple. The apple maggot is a nasty little bug not to be confused with the apple coddling moth. The coddling moth just heads for the seed and eats the center of the apple, leaving the rest to be enjoyed for those who aren't squeamish about worms. And a little protein in the cider press probably added some good body to the cider. But the apple maggot is an entirely different beast. It devours for the most desirable part of the apple - the flesh. Within 2-3 years of its arrival, the 60 apple trees with over 800 varieties produced nothing but maggot infested useless apples. Enough is enough, It was time to call it quits!

Fortunately, my garden has always been a fertile ground for a multitude of collector bugs. I've always enjoyed a wide diversity in the garden, and I will never pledge allegiance to only one type of plant. Call me a cheater if you want, but I am not marrying any particular plant genus. I guess I am really a "plant slut", I just love them all!

I don't think it's possible to dissect the collector and the collection. In general, they're symbiotic. For me, the apple collecting bug served a very specific purpose. It was a way for me to cope with the damp cool Santa Cruz climate that I loathed. I've always been a lover of warm tropical climates, and for years I waged war with the Santa Cruz climate, trying to grow all sorts of tropical fruits with only meager results. My family can attest to my constant grumbling about the weather. Summer fog with 55F drizzle just wasn't my cup of tea, and I fancied even less the damp chilly Winters. So I took solace in the beautiful redwoods and the knowledge that my apples did so well in the heat forsaken climate.

Even in the depth of my passion for apples, I dabbled with palms. Every time I'd come back from Thailand, Costa Rica or Hawaii, I'd buy a handful of palms, most of which I had little knowledge about, and I tossed them into the ground. Some turned out to be surprisingly beautiful and appeared to be quite happy in Santa Cruz' heat forsaken climate. But none captured my interest the way this tiny little emerald green hesper palm that Gary Wood, the nurseryman who happily delivered palms where no other Southern nursery dared to go, talked me into purchasing. It was an afterthought, yet it's what launched me into collecting Mexican hesper palms.

One of the interesting things about collecting is that there's always a "gateway object" that starts the collection. Perhaps there's no such thing as a "gateway drug", the notion of a "gateway drug" is most likely a propaganda artifact used by the right wing nut jobs that want us to believe in the senseless war on drugs. But the "collector gateway object" is for real.

I remember my gateway objects for both my apple and my hesper palm habits. When I first planted fruit trees, I had little interest in apples since they were so "common" and "un-interesting". So I figured, well, let's at least plant one multi-graft apple tree. Well, a couple of years later, that little tree produced the most incredible jonagold apples I had ever tasted, and my apple craze was born. And just like my apple craze took root in an afterthought purchase, so did my hesper palm habit. For the apples, my taste buds did all the heavy lifting. The hesper palm captured my heart and mind as a visual delight.

Just like the rest of us, I bear the deeply ingrained Western habit of self loathing, and it's easy to look down upon my own plant craze and be terrified by its shadow of hoarding. That's when it's so important to remember the more noble aspects of being afflicted by a plant obsession.

Perhaps it's easy to just dissect the collector's mind and reduce the drive to collect down to the desire to satisfy some basic psychological needs. But I've never been a fan of reductionism, and I like to think there's more to the story. You see, plant collectors are a special breed, they create virtual Noah's arcs for species and in the process they promote the preservation of bio-diversity. I like to think that this is no coincidence. No collector asked to be bitten by the bug, and usually, they don't know where it's going to come from. Perhaps it's a higher power, or perhaps the intelligence is just built into the very fabric of matter, or perhaps it's evolution at work, whatever you want to call it, a plant collector is called into being a keeper of biodiversity.

In fact, if it wasn't for the collectors, the world of horticulture would be bland and boring, and our gardens and landscapes would suffer unbearable monotony. Variety is the spice of life, and the sometimes nutty and crazy collectors enrich our lives in ways most of us may not even notice. And as Michael Pollan points out in the “The Botany of Desire", plants enlist us from an evolutionary perspective into preserving them. In the same way, specific plant genera enlist collectors to preserve their biodiversity. It's truly not possible to separate the collector from the collection. The two are one. And most often, the collectors are invisible, only a few like Burbank end up known for their contributions. The rest silently toil without an ounce of recognition because most of them could care less about being well known, they just care deeply about the plants.

One of the benefits of being a collector is that we get to meet some of these invisible plant priests or shamans as they should rightfully be called. One such person is Jeff Marcus, a humble nurseryman who has single handedly turned hundreds, if not thousands of gardens worldwide into bio-repositories of Madagascar palms and other palms from around the world, most of which are going extinct at an unprecedented rate. Jeff doesn't care about making the big bucks. He is just growing thousands of seedlings of palms that he makes available to everyone at prices even the average blue collar gardener can afford. In another 30 years, many of these palms growing in private gardens will no longer exist in the wild, and thanks to his work, a rich biodiversity is preserved by the masses, not just in botanical gardens and elite collector gardens.

This year, I said my goodbyes to my apple collection in Santa Cruz as I answer my calling to more tropical endeavors. Our family now gets to spend time in Southern California and Kaua'i. As it turns out, the subtropical semi-arid climate of Fallbrook provides a unique opportunity to give my brahea collection a better home. That little Hesper palm has taken well to its new home in the hot inland San Diego climate. And the collection has grown a bit. This time, though, there are fortunately less than 100 distinct species and varieties, so I will never end up with 800 brahea, and my wife will no longer be a grafting widow.

here's a photo of my gateway hesper palm in Santa Cruz:

Image

Of course I had to dig it up out of my old garden, thankfully it was planted in a very inconvenient spot so the new owner allowed me to take it. And now it sits in one of the most prominent spots in my driveway, and I am grateful it survived the transplant. It's already past the shock, happily pushing out new fronds at a much faster clip than in Santa Cruz.

Here are a few photos of it in its new home:

Image

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