Crazy Weather

After our one to several feet of snow in February, we are now spending what is usually a rainy April and May basking in the sunshine of 60-80 degree days.  Should we move the cacti and succulents out?  Will we still get some of those 45 degree rainy days?  It’s hard to tell at this point.  Predictions are for another hot summer and a dry one.  Our rain barrels are all full but the water won’t last long as we are already watering plants on the deck from our rainwater stash.

Many of our members are enjoying large dinner plate sized blooms on their epiphyllums.  At our April meeting, one of our most ardent brag plant presenters brought in an array of orchids and bulbs in bloom.  Another member brought in a breathtaking red epiphyllum with blooms at least 8 inches across.  In both cases, the plants are grown in greenhouses.  Our plants, grown in our home, tend to bloom later in June or July once they get outdoors.

Photo by Karen Summers
Ferocactus wislizeni seedlings
Photo by Karen Summers

At the other end of the spectrum, seeds sown on March 20, 2019 have grown and are eagerly crowding out their neighbors.  One of the things I’ve found that promotes the growth of seedlings is to crowd them.

I plant thickly on purpose and let them jostle each other for a year or two.  I’ve found that the survival rate seems increased as a result of this.  I’m not claiming a high survival rate, just an increased one.

On April 10, we were called into action to drive 3 hours to an area east of Wenatchee to retrieve many plants from the home of one of our members who was selling her property.  It was a dry day, breezy and with a spring feel to it.  We stood out in the middle of this beautiful piece of land- rocky and grassy with a wide open skies feel to it.

We pruned many varieties of  Opuntia paddles, dug Lewisia from their rocky home, and tackled some of the Cholla and Yucca.  It seemed that most of what was growing competed for the longest, nastiest spines.  After bringing them home, many of the Opuntia paddles were taken to our April meeting where they were snapped up by members using salad tongs.  Some were planted for our fall sale.  Lewisia cotyledon were potted  up and regardless of the upset of the move have been bursting into bloom.

Spring is a wonderful time of year – so much to do outdoors and with the plants.  Each day brings new growth, new blooms, and a stronger connection to the natural cycle of plants.

Lewisia cotyledon
Photo by Karen Summers