If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll probably recognize what this photo means:
That's right: another plant trade has been made! Even though I knew to some extent what plants were in this box, I didn't know exactly so opening was quite exciting. What made it more exciting was the warning to open carefully. Hmmm... sounds dangerous. Ready to take a look?
Opening the flaps...
Reveals a lot of paper bags and some greenery. Let's get some of the paper out of the way first...
Oh, now I see why I got a warning:
I'll ignore that for a minute and focus on the harmless-looking greenery:
Which looks and smells like a mint. In fact, it's labeled as "mountain mint".
Digging down a bit reveals another bag that looks like it holds a mint, albeit one that looks in not-too-perfect shape:
Opening the bag released a wonderful fragrance of lavender, which is probably why this is called "lavender mint". Delicious!
The mints are getting potted up right now. The mountain mint is much larger than the lavender mint, and is growing in some heavy red clay:
Although most of the stems got bent or broken during shipping, I'm not worried about this plant -- it's in the mint family, which means it's tough and being crammed into a box for a few days is not going to set it back.
Looks fine once it got into a pot, and in a few days I won't even know it was all bent and trampled-looking.
So the mints are potted, which means it's time to take a look into the paper bags:
Yes! The cold-hardy Opuntias or "prickly pears" that were the main point of this plant trade. (I sent four different bamboos as my part of the trade by the way.) The paper bags were thoughtful, as it means that I can open them and dump out their contents without handling the pads at all. Several different species and varieties were sent, so here's a look at all of them:
|Opuntia rhodantha hybrid ‘Hanksville Rose’|
|Lost a few glochids -- the little stickers that cause much distress.|
|Opuntia aurea ‘Coombe’s Winter Glow’|
|Look at that color!|
|This one is the glochid champ of the bunch|
|Opuntia 'Dark Knight'|
|Some more amazing color. Just beautiful!|
|Handle with tongs or loops of newspaper.|
|Opuntia basilaris x humifusa|
|Opuntia phaeacantha x pinkavae ‘Nambe Sunrise’|
|These have got to be flower buds, right?|
So seven different cold-hardy Opuntia species. Very nice!
Very dangerous too. But the box isn't empty yet...
|Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, aka "Christmas Cholla"|
This one may not be cold-hardy enough to survive here -- if we have a typical winter I mean. Since I have several pieces I'll have enough plants to experiment: leave some outside all winter and bring some inside.
That's the end of the spiny plants. The last plant is one that may or may not be cold-hardy here: Othonna cheirifolia.
This one has the most "cram" damage of all of the plants. Although "damage" may be the wrong word -- they're sure bent in unnatural forms though.
Beautiful foliage color, but it would be nice to know what the foliage is supposed to look like. Patience -- these should be fine in a few days.
Some of the cuttings didn't have roots, so I put some into soil and a couple in water to see which rooting method works best:
So that was the last of the plants from the box. A total of 11 different types -- a five-star plant trade for sure!
Looking at all of the prickly ones side-by-side you can really see the differences between each:
It's quite beautiful -- imagine what they'll look like once they've had a few years to grow and spread. I plan on planting these in the same area, so they'll eventually start butting up against each other, forming a blanket of texture and colors. Very much like what I wanted to do with the sempervivum, until I learned that deer will eat them.
No worries about the deer eating these I think.
As careful as I was during all of this, I still managed to get a glochid in my palm:
I suspect that won't be the last one I tweeze from my skin either, as I still need to pot these pads up.
It's worth a few sticks though, especially if the planting area I'm envisioning for these works out as planned. Stay tuned for that later this spring or summer.
This plant trade was a success, wouldn't you agree? Thank you Matthew!