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Monday, June 7, 2010


Whoa, almost missed the sign!!!!  I can't tell you how much fun it was to have the opportunity to swing by Arid Lands Greenhouses.  It was even almost "on the way" between our two tourist spots of the day, the Sonoran Desert Museum (awesome) and Sabino Canyon (awesome, too).  How can you say no to a mere 30 minute detour?  I mean, how often does one go to Tuscon?? 

Arid Lands (at least what I saw of it) consists of three long, connected, cylindrical greenhouses slightly off of the main road.  We missed it the first time and caught it on the U-turn.  I was frantically hoping that U-turns were legal in the state of Arizona, because goodness knows I did NOT have my papers (insert WWII German accent) on me at the time.  The first two buildings consisted of seedlings, young plants, mature small plants, and some large adeniums in flower. 

Huge, beautiful, flowering Astrophytum myriostigma (Bishop's cap).  I want one so badly!!!  Mine is currently a baby, and it sure isn't growing as quickly as I'd like it too.  Maybe it needs a new pot.  My Bishop's cap is currently in a West-facing window at work.  This little guy looked like he needed as much sun as he could get.

Aww, isn't she cute???  If only she would grow LAAAAARGER.  Grow!  Do it now!  The astrophytum is currently living next to Chicken Little, the hysterical Adenium arabicum seedling.  Who, by the way, went completely bald after his crazy 80's bender and is now regrowing new leaves.  How embarrassing, see below:

"I'm not dead yet!" - Chicken Little

Back to Arid Lands...

I was greeted by a very pleasant woman, whose name I can't remember but gave us a fantastic recommendation for a nearby Mexican restaurant for lunch, and was given the quick tour and then left to my own devices and enjoyment of the myriad of cacti and succulents.  I mentioned I had met Bob Webb when he was visiting Gethsemane Gardens in Chicago, and she told me that Dr. Webb apparently had a great time in Chi-town, and gave everyone a fantastic review.  Aww, aren't Chicagoans the best?  He was away in some hot and sunny remote place doing what he does best while we were visiting (too bad, I wanted to let him know that my Duvaliandra dioscoridis ended up blooming spectacularly and thank him for the recommendation). 

My attempt at a panorama of the greenhouse building 1.

Some adeniums (NOIDS), they were labeled, but I didn't look.  Whatevs, they were pretty.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Sunny, sandy, and cactus-y!  Current immigration politics aside, Tuscon is a mecca for those interested in C + S, and I was finally able to visit and see some incredible plants.  We stayed at the new, beautiful, and running-ridiculously-cheap-specials-on-room-rates Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain Resort Hotel (before you judge, we booked the flights and rooms before the AZ legislation debacle became national news). 

I was prompted by Bobb Webb's recent guest lectureship at Chicago's Gethsemane Gardens (see earlier posts) to pay my own visit to the man's famous Tuscon greenhouse, Arid Lands.  I may have dragged an unsuspecting participant ("It will only take a minute, I promise") through three large silos of beautiful succulent plants in the 100-degree Sonoran desert heat in the process, but at least it was a dry heat.  :-)

Soooo many beautiful pictures to come.  Stay tuned for my next post, once I have made sense of the close to 300 pics I took of Arid Lands, the Sonoran Desert Museum, Sabino Canyon, and Saguaro National Park! 

As for the window garden, the Streptocarpus are exploding with blooms and probably are deserving a post of their own (I've put it off too long).  A mealy bug infestation has been rearing its nasty and multitudinous head.  I suspect the introduction of my beautiful and thriving Huernia confusa brought in the vicious sap-suckers.  I've been religiously incinerating them with rubbing alcohol and am starting to add Imidaclopromid to the soil. 

So much to blog about!