Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Oh yes I did! (and you would have too)

I stopped by the “other” Portland Nursery location last week (Division Street vs. my usual Stark Street). I get my hair cut nearby and since their annuals are all 30% off I thought maybe I’d get lucky and find something good (one of my all-time "best buys" there was Echium wildpretii for $3.99…at 30% off, well I’d have bought them all!). No such luck this time, but of course I had to walk through their succulent and cactus area on the way back to my car. That’s when I saw this…

OMG! It’s BEAUTIFUL!!!

You know that apprehensive feeling when you come face to face with a plant you MUST HAVE and you just know it’s going to cost way more than you can spend?

Well I had that feeling.

Let's see, what would I spend…how much could I rationalize for an out-of-this-world, stunning variegated Opuntia!?

Lucky for me it was the big bad price of $12.99…and now it’s mine!

Of course the bargain price has certain costs associated with it. For example I get the completely unhelpful name of Cactus/Succulent to go by. Oh and in case I didn’t know…sun and moderate water, less in winter. Thanks.

After a little research I believe it's an Opuntia cochenillifera variegata which means it's not hardy here in my Zone 8 garden but hey, since when has that stopped me?

And you would have about tripped over yourself to buy it too, right?

Speaking of tripping…after I picked up the Opuntia and finished looking at the other plants I had the oddest sensation. For just for a moment I forgot I was in Portland and I was transported to the desert SW. As I bent down to read the tag on an Agave I was startled by movement out of the corner of my eye. It’s a lizard I thought to myself. Then I remembered I was in Portland, Oregon…not Arizona or New Mexico. There aren’t lizards just darting about here! But actually there was...can you see him on the rock just above the white stuff?

You’d live here too if you were a lizard in Portland right?

Isn’t he cute? (and why are lizards cute when snakes send me running?) Andrew says he’s not an Oregon native but maybe an Anole? So he must have been intentionally released here? I should have asked, but in the 50 or so feet from there to the cash register I became infatuated with my new Opuntia all over again and completely forgot about the lizard.

40 comments:

  1. Fabulous new opuntia! It doesn't even look like it'll hurt you. Beautiful lizard!

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    1. Oh ya...I forgot to mention the fact that it's spineless. I suppose many would consider that a benefit but for me it's kind of like de-clawing a cat.

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  2. Wow, what a find. I've never seen variegation like that. I would have snapped it up, too!!

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    1. I know huh? Isn't it AMAZING!? Hopefully it will grow grow grow and I can share with Californians who come to visit my garden, someday.

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  3. Both Opuntia and the lizard are beautiful! I wonder if the lizard arrived with a plant shipment.
    I have heard grizzly tales (from a friend) of snakes arriving in the lining of fur coats here....
    Do you bring the Opuntia indoors for the winter?

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    1. It seems to be the consensus that the lizard was a hitch hiker...isn't that snake in the fur coat thing an urban legend?

      Oh yes...this Opuntia is only hardy to Z9 so it will definitely come inside!

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  4. Yup, brown anole, just like Nina. Probably "he" is a "she:" I think only the females have the light stripe down the back.

    I'd be willing to bet that she got to Oregon the same way Nina got to Iowa: in a shipment of plants from Florida.

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    1. Thank you for this information! I wonder could we hope that a male lizard is somewhere around there and babies may happen?

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  5. He's just a teensy bit creepy but mostly cute. I'm thinking the same as the others, that the little princess is a stowaway. I hope somebody can rescue her before winter sets in.

    Had you opted out and passed up this Opuntia I would think something was seriously wrong with you. :) I love it!

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    1. Actually the lizard is inside at this Portland Nursery. They have a huge indoor area for cactus/succulents and that's where she was...I think she can comfortably live there until the end of her days.

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  6. That opuntia is one of the handsomest "annuals" I have seen in ages. The cute lizard probably got to Oregon by hitchhiking on a pallet of plants. I hope he won't die of cold this winter! :(

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    1. Sorry no...the Opuntia was not part of the "annuals" sale...(yikes, 30% off 12.99 that would have been too good!). It was inside with the rest of their succulent and houseplant collection...which is heated over the winter so the lizard should be fine.

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  7. "She" lucked out, landing at Portland Nursery in the middle of a heat wave (as close to Fla as PDX will ever get). The Opuntia won the sweepstakes, though: getting to go home with you to the Danger Garden.

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  8. AMAAAAAAAAAAAAZING!!!!!!!!! seriously!? that is so fantastical. I have often thought about releasing lizards around my house to see how they would fare. I don't think thats exactly "kosher" so to speak. So I just dream at this point of a yard with massive lizards everywhere. That being said, a few weeks ago there was a massive reptilian of some sort at my sisters house not too far from here.

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    1. I don't know that I'd be too down with lizards all over my garden, but more power to you! (frogs. yes they are welcome...but ever since a friend planted the thought of an unwelcome meeting between my lawn mower and a frog I'm not even too sure about that...)

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  9. Great plant. I've never even heard of a variegated Opuntia before. To be honest, if I saw it I might think it was sick at first lol. It's funny how all you need is a "it's supposed to look like that" and then it looks amazing :)

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    1. You are so so so right! (all you need is a "it's supposed to look like that") let my husband talk me out of my first chance to by an Agave titanota (on sale no less) because he thought the brown margins meant it was dying. I knew that wasn't the case but I still managed to let him plant a seed of doubt.

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  10. Our anoles are green to brown...depending on what they are sitting on. I think your little guy is sure cute.
    LOVE that 'Cactus/Succulent' great tag.

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    1. A label like that really helps narrow things down doesn't it?

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  11. Oh wow, I have never seen this kind of Opuntia before!! I have to keep an eye out for one...not that there are a lot of cactus/succulent suppliers in my area, but wow, it's gorgeous!
    Debbie :)

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    1. I would have thought the succulent craze would have some of them readily available even up in Ontario...I sense a business opportunity!

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  12. Oh my! must have that gorgeous plant... I'm in love with all variegated plants and an opuntia?! fabulous

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  13. Beautiful lizard and FABULOUS opuntia! I'd have purchased that in a heartbeat!

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    1. I am glad to know I'm not alone.

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  14. What a fabulous Opuntia! And the lizard is cute too.

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    1. Glad to hear you're an admirer. The path to addiction has begun...

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  15. Well, I would have bought this in a hot second ! and 12.99 ? I wonder who the grower was..hate those vague plant tags-so Home Cheapo-ish !

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    1. Exactly! I expect it from the big box stores but a local nursery should do better.

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  16. I'm not always a fan of Opuntias but that is a very nice one, well done on getting it!! Not too spiny looking too.

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    1. It's a kid-friendly pain free Opunita!

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  17. W. O. W. I want one! and I can usually do Zone 8 no problem ...

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  18. Did I see Michael Jackson in the patterns on the Opuntia pads, or was it the Holy Virgin?

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  19. You summed it up Ms. Danger...I would have tripped over myself...like a deer in the headlights at least....WHAT is that?! Talk about feeling like a million bucks! Hair cut and then that?! Like a dream!

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  20. Yes, you needed that Opuntia. But what a curious thought -- you don't have lizards or anoles running around in your area. I take them for granted here. They're definitely not snaky, but they do sometimes have a velociraptor look about them, as if, were they your size, they might eat you up.

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  21. That plant is truly out of this world! It looks like it's made out of Fimo clay or something. I'm in love.

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  22. Quite an unusual find, Loree. I understand why you couldn't resist. :D

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  23. I also just about died last month when I saw one at our master gardener plant auction. And yes, it went home with me too!
    I have a question and hope you know the answer since all my googling has brought me nowhere: Do you happen to know how, when or by whom, O. cochenillefera became variegated? Was it a hybridization in the wild or at the hand of man? Let me know if you have any idea!

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