Coming Out of Dormancy

Monilaria moniliformisConophytum piriformeDormant Conophytum CollectionConophytum marginatumConophytum obcordellumConophytum uviforme ssp. uviforme
Conophytum tantillum ssp.tantillum 'Eekokerense'Conophytum fraternumConophytum minium 'Witteburgense'Conophytum ficiforme X minium 'Witteburgense'Mixed ConophytumsConophytum sp.
Conophytum klinghardtenseConophytum sp.Conophytum truncatumConophytum sp.Conophytum ectypum ssp. ectypum

Dormant Mesembs Oct 2011, a set on Flickr.

This is going to be a fun little photo journal over the next month or so.

Conophytums and some other Mesembs go completely dormant for part of the year (spring and summer in this case). Some just go into a resting state but Conophytums and Monilaria wither away to papery shells. They look pretty dead. But just under the surface they are already starting to grow. All they need is a bit of water to mirror the start of the rainy season in their home of South Africa.

This year my plants were slow to go dormant. I believe it is because of my balcony being so shady in spring and summer because of the roof overhang. Even after withholding water for a while some of them remained a bit more fleshy and green compared to last year. In 2010 I watered them on October 3rd but this year I decided to withhold water until the end of October because of their late start. I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer. They were so dry the soil exploded in clouds of dust when the water hit.

It is always fun to watch the results. Their rejuvenation is rather dramatic. In just a few short days most of them will quickly show signs of life and in less than a month they will go from papery husks to little green buttons covered in blooms.

It is always a bit of a lottery. Did they survive dormancy? Will they bloom? Did they split and multiply while they were dormant? Check back over the next month as I will try to post updates every few days!

I’m definitely no expert when it comes to these little plants. The best place to buy them is at succulent society shows where they are rather affordable. Most of mine were just $3 to $6 a pot. Seed is readily available too but I haven’t had luck with that yet. The seedlings are very tiny and die pretty easily. Well worth giving these little guys a try though if you can find them and have a sunny windowsill. So far I find them easier than the more commonly available Lithops.

Berkeley Botanic and Tilden

Dioscorea machrostachyaWelwitschia mirabilisCeropegia ampliataMitrophyllum dissitumAloe plicatilisBrunsvigia josephinae
Protea cynaroidesCeratotheca trilobaClose up of CeratothecaDeuterocohnia brevifoliaThe green weeping conifer is Dacrydium cupressinumSome type of dogwood?
Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigataArctostaphylos pallidaArctostaphylos regis-montanaClose up of the beautiful red peeling manzanita barkManzanita BarkManzanita Bark
Manzanita BarkManzanita BarkManzanita BarkGrove of quaking aspensWoodpecker or sapsucker damage on this old tree?Redwood Grove at Tilden Regional Botanic Garden

Berkeley Botanic and Tilden, a set on Flickr.

I’m up in the bay area on a little business trip so I decided to visit UC Berkeley Botanical Garden and the Botanical Garden at Tilden. Both are great gardens and just a few minutes away from each other so it is worth checking them both out if you are in the area. Berkeley displays plants from around the world and Tilden is a native plant garden.

I’m still here!

I haven’t forgotten my blog! I’ve just been very busy. I started a new garden design business and am preparing for a move up north in a couple of months. Hopefully I will have some time in the future to finish posting all the pictures from my spring trip to England. But right now I am in Berkeley, California on a little field trip. Visiting the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley in a few minutes and then I am going to check out Tilden and maybe Flora Grubb in San Francisco in the afternoon. Then tomorrow I am doing some shopping at Annie’s Annuals for a beach house garden I designed down in Cayucos on the central coast!