Monday, July 11, 2011

Opuntia, have you got yours?

It had been close to 3 months since I’d last visited Cistus. How can one be so close to horticultural heaven and visit so rarely? It’s a sin really. I righted this wrong a little over a week ago, here are a few pictures from the gardens... everyone’s Plume poppies (Macleaya cordata) are taller than mine! Look at their Echiums… So lush! Dog included for scale. Once in the nursery what did my eyes spy!? Opuntia! As far as my eyes could see! Okay, not really. But there were several fabulous ones. I wanted one of each. And why shouldn’t I? Most of them are perfectly hardy here (as long as the drainage is good) and what could possibly provide more winter interest than spikes!? Everyone needs at least one, or two, or… More pictures from around the nursery… Ribes speciosum 'Pincushion' (Fuschia flowered Gooseberry) Galtonia candicans (summer Hyacinth, Spire lily) Edgeworthia chrysantha Nanjing Gold' (Gold flowered paper bush) love those leaves… And in the “big top” (the central covered part of the nursery)…more Opuntia! (there were many non-Opuntia too) So what did I buy? Opuntia of course! And a couple of Echium russicum, they’re hardy here, hard to find, and have lush beautiful rosettes of foliage. The Opuntia that’s stealing the show is Opuntia humifusa, a dwarf form from Great Plains plantsman Claude Barr. And on the far right is a (nearly) spineless form, Opuntia ellisiana.

This one is Opuntia (Tephrocactus) articulata….LOVE those long white spines! Lastly this Maihuenia poeppigii came home with me too! It’s tiny but very very spiny. In fact when the sun is shining bright the white spines almost glow! Eventually (if it is happy here) rumor is that it will form a dense mat. I’ve wanted this little guy since the Hardy Plant Society sale in April. Derick (Mr. Impatiens, who also seems to know a thing or two about spiky plants) pointed him out to me but I had to pass since I was on a budget. I just hope nobody steps on him!


  1. Yes, I would like one of each, too! I have about 5 kinds of opuntia, two are passalongs, one grown from a pad I took from a hotel in St Kitts ( I asked the gardener for permission), one microdysys I bought and one spiny native to the West Indies type. I would really like to get the santa margarita one.

    I have also tried roasting the baby pads from the spineless varieties and making a sald, and they were okay.

  2. Who knew something so prickly and dangerous could be so cute too, love the Maihuenia poeppigii! Great blog!!

  3. the shot with your cute! I'm glad you finally got that last plant you'd been's always hard to pass up something when you don't know when you'll find it again. Last week I got an email from Annie's Annuals that the Selinum wallichianum that I passed up last fall is finally available again...I snatched a few up where to put them?

  4. Love your pics, I have to go out there now (and you are to blame).....Saw a couple of barrels I need to add to the greenhouse collection.

  5. Being both a foliage nut and an agave fanatic, I can safely say I'd LOVE to work at place like that. Can you imagine?
    They wouldn't even have to pay me. I'd just work for the chance to see the plants each day.
    Great post.
    David/ Tropical Texana/:-)
    BTW: I have only 2 opuntias. They love it so dry each winter, that I'd worry about winter rot. Agaves are not so picky.

  6. More dangerous treasures! And thanks for the pics of Cistus too. How fun!

  7. Very cool; surprised to see some of those like Ferocactus. I miss some of my favorite Opuntia plants...go for it!


  8. Gorgeous plants in there Loree! The Yucca desmettiana caught my eye, lovely specimen and not so prickly. I've only had one type of Opuntia sail through a winter unprotected here. I don't know what type it is as it's seed grown by a friend. A keeper indeed but always good to have tweezers at hand whenever I move the pot.

  9. Great stuff - I'm a big fan of Opuntia as well. Sean tells me that they went through their entire Opuntia collection and potted everything up last year - or perhaps it was two years ago - they sure do have a lot of great forms.

  10. I'm even more guilty of the sin of not's been 6 months. Thanks for the push I needed and the lovely shots of echiums. I've been seeing plume poppies around Portland lately - I need some!

    As for the opuntia, I love them, but the Mulchman is not a fan, so I'd need to sneak them in to the garden....but what great pooch deterrents a few sizable ones would make in my front garden (I enjoy the neighborhood dogs, but not when their people allow them to walk all over the beds!)

  11. I'm glad to see Cistus through your lens. I haven't been there yet this summer and always love to visit. You can smell the Eucalyptus a mile away! Thanks!

  12. Guess I will have to not let failure get me down and give opuntia another try...maybe in a pot this time.

  13. Nicole, my husband asked me if we would be eating reply was "no" just looks like too much work and besides I like them in the garden!

    Julia, thank you!

    Scott, I'm sure you'll find room! And I think Lila likes going to Cistus almost as much as I do!

    Beech Street, and I am happy to accept the blame!

    David, interesting, I've got 2 different kind of Opuntia in the ground that had no problems last winter. It will be interesting to see how these new ones handle it.

    Grace, you're still planning your trip there right?

    DD, so it sounds like I have your blessing to buy more?

    Mark and Gaz, they are a little prickly aren't they? I've accidentally brushed the hose up against them a couple of times and then later grabbed that spot on the hose...ouch!

    Ian, please tell me that unlike Sean you wear gloves when working around your spiky plants?

    MulchMaid, isn't odd that you never see them for sale? (the plume poppies)...and yes I am amazed at the things I see people let their dogs do. So sad.

    Willow, glad I could help. Get yourself out there girl!

    ricki, remind me when you're here in August and I'll break you off a pad from the ones the neighbor has given me. I only lost 1 last might be the one to work for you! Oh and of course you should also visit Cistus...they had several that are reportedly hardy a couple of zones beneath us.


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