Sunday, November 29, 2015

Lapidaria margaretae blooms!

L. margaretae was sort of a Holy Grail mesemb for me. The beautiful celadon leaves tipped with pink, exceptional symmetry, and all around cuteness had me looking all over for one. I finally found a tiny, (just 1.5 cm in diameter) decrepit little creature at a nursery sale. For $5. It looked kind of dead, but it was the only one I'd ever seen, so I went ahead and bought it. After a year of nursing and Reiki, it has releafed and bloomed!
Lapidaria margaretae in bloom, MRobb, Nov 2015
Every gardener has a few plants they are particularly proud of. This is sure one of mine! I'll update as the bloom progresses.
Lapidaria are from Namibia and they are cousins to the Lithops. They do not like to live alone, and so this one is housed with some Gibbaeum and an Argyroderma that was rescued from the Death Cart (see the scar on top of the leaf). Laps don't like much water in winter, but more water is welcome in spring and summer. It likes bright, indirect sunlight, and warmth. It also likes to get cold occasionally, but not freeze. That's not going to happen where I live, but I've thought about putting it in the fridge overnight. Probably won't do it, though....

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Annual Perfume Post: A Soft Waft Whilst Traveling

I've been traveling around the globe practically since I was born. And I still love to travel, whether by plane, train, or boat (not by car, though, ugh). I recently went on my very first cruise ever. I can't believe I waited so long.  I had a great time and I’m experiencing Cruise Withdrawal Syndrome even as I type (yes, that is a real thing, I did not make it up)….

Over the past ten years, more of my friends and acquaintances have come down with what I call, as a catch-all-phrase, Olfactory Intolerance. Some have become allergic; some have developed scary autoimmune diseases and strong odors can act as a trigger; some now have adult asthma. These problems pose real ethical dilemmas for perfumistas, and we’ve all struggled with them. During travel, crammed into tight spaces with other members of my species for long periods of time, I’ve been opting for solid perfumes, sometimes even making my own. They are very comforting to the wearer, yet barely perceptible 5cm from the body. 

My mainstays in the solid perfume category were/are Crazylibellule and the Poppies, and Pacifica. Tibetan Mountain Temple accompanies me on every journey. Crazylibellule, while they were still in business, went to the gym with me every day. I was so sad when the company folded in 2010, and I bought up a bunch of their remainder stock, which is now all gone. I also learned to make my own solid perfumes. Thanks to a generous (and fragrant) friend, I’ve rediscovered the Libellules in the form of Le Soft Perfume.

Last year, Isabelle Masson, the founder of Crazylibellule, returned with a new lineup of twist-up solids called Le Soft Perfume. The fragrant cylinders are housed in the same paper batons decorated with whimsical designs and colorful patterns. And happily, they cost around $25 (US). Hurray!
I’ve been test driving “Nemamiah”, which is a sprightly floral citrus gourmand. The notes are mandarin, orange, passionfruit, mango, apple, musk, and amber. It’s really not an ambrosia fruit salad, I swear!  It’s a genuinely soft waft of delicious fruit, gentle musk, and cozy amber. And cozy is what I want when I’m standing in a 2,000-person passport control line! What about you? What fragrance, if any, do you wear in a travelers’ queue or a crowd at the pool?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tillandsia Gift Cards: Darling or Dreadful??

Lowe's recently began selling small Tillies strapped to plastic cards. They seem to be grown/made by Altman Plants....

Most of the plants were totally squashed by the bungie straps that held them to the card. There were instructions on the back. They directed the proud owner to mist the plant twice a week (the video shows a tiny little mister, ah!), and to fertilize once in a while. No mention of fresh air circulation or light. Hmm... The plants I saw were about 50 percent dead from rot. Not impressed, but what do you think??

Personally, I think it's best to buy Tillies from a reputable nursery (Paul Isley is shown right after the Tillie card advert- I don't think he's connected in any way to Altman.) and make your own habitat for them, based on what's good for them, not convenient for the big box store or giftee.Well, hey, at least they didn't spray paint them obnoxious colors and glue little straw flowers on them....