Book Give Away: May the Best Garden Geek Win–In the Comments field below tell us why you are a garden geek, and the geekiest among you will win a copy of Christy Wilhelmi’s book. What does it mean to be a garden geek? In her intro Christy says “When garden geeks get excited about a subject they want to know everything. Gardening is an exciting topic– a vast world of soil biology, botany, and horticulture. It cross-pollinates with the insect world, meteorology and nutrition. The more we learn about gardening, the more we realize there is to learn. It’s a wonderfully addictive passion to have.” Visit Christy’s blog gardenerd.com. Her book is full of information, and is a great read.
Growing Kalanchoe tomentosa– I picked up a small kalanchoe tomentosa at a trade show about a year ago. I transplanted it to a 6″ clay pot and it was outside all summer. I moved it indoors to a sunny, south facing windowsill for the winter because it’s only hardy to about zone 9b. It remains small, though it has grown into its larger container nicely. Suddenly about 6 weeks ago a shoot formed and shot up about 18″, with buds at the top. Then about a week ago these little buds opened and the flowers are quite exquisite.
After doing a little research I discovered that I’m lucky to have had a bloom, since many don’t bloom at all or rarely bloom. I learned this by reading the comments about this plant on the Dave’s Garden site, and also the Wave Hill blog, where they celebrated a bloom on theirs. (Wave Hill is a beautiful public garden along the Hudson River, not too far from where I live.) According to their blog, “This is the first time in years that the Kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Golden Girl’ has bloomed here at Wave Hill, and I think it’s been worth the wait.” Propagating the plant through cuttings, by simply removing a leaf and putting it in perlite or sandy potting soil, seems to work well. I’m going to give it a try. Meanwhile this plant likes dry soil and sunshine. It’s a cactus. Common names are Panda Plant and Pussy Ears (because the whole plant is velvety and soft to the touch). I love it!