|Mammatus clouds at dawn, MRobb, 2016|
Saturday, February 6, 2016
I learned to look with dread upon the freaky, alien mammatus cloud. Conventional wisdom was that they heralded tornadoes. Fortunately, research has disproven that theory. The bumpily weird mammatus cloud shows up mostly after the worst of a storm is over. Sometimes tornadoes have preceded the clouds, sometimes not. They do indicate the presence of a severe, but waning, storm. Very rarely, they can also show up in milder weather conditions. At any rate, they are caused by moist air sinking erratically into dry air.
Hoping all my readers have wonderful weekend walkabouts!
Friday, February 5, 2016
Genus Mammillaria, my very favorite cactus clan in the world, are known for their beautiful "crowns" of flowers. They open during the day, then close at night. Not all Mammillarias bloom this way, but most do. Here is a recent example, first, open during the day, then closed at night:
What a beautiful sight! Most Mammillaria have bright pink flowers, as this one does, but others have light pink, red, or even yellow blossoms. Gorgeous! Interestingly, they can have a primary, "proto-bloom" of just a couple of flowers, which can give them a funny "face":
Then a month or so later, the full crown appears. I have no idea why this happens.
|Mammillaria elegans in full "crown" bloom, MRobb, 2016|
|Blooms close in the evening.|
|Mammillaria elegans "Funny Face", MRobb|
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
'Tis true, I have never seen such a curly plant in my life! What do you think??
Tillandsia streptophylla, aka, the Shirley Temple Plant, hails from Central America. It grows mostly at sea level to about 800m and the name means, guess, "twisted leaf". Well, that's easy to remember! The plant curls more tightly the drier the weather, then straightens out somewhat after heavy watering or a good soak.
It's a very easy care Tillie; the only thing to watch out for is rot. After a soak, it should dry upside down so the leaves can drain. I water mine once a week and give it moderate light. When it begins to bloom, it will turn bright pink! I add bromeliad fertilizer to its soak once a month to keep it green and growing. That's about it. What a beauty.
|Tillandsia streptophylla, MRobb, 2016|
|T. streptophylla, soaking. The leaves straighten a bit.|
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
During my course in Herbalism, I was given one leaf of a Leaf of Life plant from Jamaica, which is a quasi-native of this region. The plant propagates by growing tiny miniatures of itself all along its leaf edges. So all you have to do is place a leaf in a protected area of your garden, right side up, sprinkle some dirt over it, and a few weeks later, you've got dozens of little ones! It's growing all over my garden now. Leaf of Life (Bryophyllum pinnatum) is a well known medicinal herb from the Caribbean islands; it was brought to the islands from Africa centuries ago. It's used for respiratory conditions such as colds, bronchitis, and asthma, and for hypertension. It's mainly taken in tea form. I use it in teas and tinctures and it has been quite helpful for my family. Now it's in bloom, in January. Well, it's been a really weird winter....
|Leaf of Life in Bloom, MRobb, 2016|