Cactus and Succulent Show Highlights

Held by three local cactus and succulent societies, the InterCity Cactus and Succulent Show drew hundreds of aficionados of these plants to Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Collectors of these weird and wonderful plants brought their most prized specimens to the event to compete for ribbons and medals. Let’s take a look at some of this year's entrants:
Adenium obesum subsp. swazicum, commonly called the ‘Desert rose,’ is an African plant related to oleanders and garden vinca. It is summer deciduous, losing all its leaves in the summer and relying on water and nutrition stored in its caudex, the large fleshy structure that appears as a mass of swelling roots at the base of its stem. Plants with a caudex are referred to as ‘caudate’ and are much in demand by collectors because of their monstrous,  unusual nature and because they are fairly easy to grow in containers. 

Aztekium ritteri is native to a single valley to the state of Nueva Leon in northeast Mexico where it is found growing out of almost vertical limestone and gypsum cliffs. Its genus name comes from its resemblance to the stair-stepped structure of Aztec temples. It is thought to be one of the slowest growing cacti on earth. 

Cyphostemma seitziana is a pachycaul succulent, a type of caudate plant that has a swollen stem that appears as a bottle shaped structure. It’s found in Namibia where it grows in desert areas.  It produces small flowers followed by fruit, but be careful, even though Cyphostemma seitziana is in the same family as table grapes, the fruit are poisonous to humans and animals. 

How to Spend More Time on MySpace, Less Time on Your Place:  Moving to a Low Maintenance Garden.

Dear Arboretum Plant Info, As my wife and I grow older we’ve found that spending the time out in the garden necessary just to keep things looking decent takes a lot out of us. Instead of spending time in our garden exhausting ourselves weeding, pruning, and cleaning up we’d rather spend it chatting with our grandchildren on the internet. What can we do to make our garden “low maintenance”? Signed, Facebook Grand-DadDear FBGD, I assume you can’t pry your grandkids off of their computers for an afternoon of gardening with grandpa at your place; so in lieu employing your loved ones as day laborers I would suggest the following:

Replace your lawn with a low water use groundcover.

Replace all 'out of scale' plants or plants that require pruning to make them look good with smaller scale plants that do not need pruning. This will prevent weeds and cut down on weeding. Ideally the mulch layer should be at least 3 inches thick.

Be sure to add new mulch at least every year. Note: This mulching routine might fail if you have a landscape of California natives. These plants are adversely affected by organic mulches because of the nitrogen formed when the mulch breaks down. California natives prefer inorganic mulches like gravel or decomposed granite. 

Increase the amount of 'hardscaping' and unplanted areas in your landscape; fewer plants, less maintenance. 

Mulch with shredded bark or other slow decaying organic materials.  

Use low water use plants, they grow slower so they don't need as frequent pruning as higher water use plants.

Do not fertilize. Broadcast fertilization isn't necessary for even high water use landscapes. There are individual exceptions, though (fruit trees, roses, azaleas, etc.). Adding nitrogen to plants makes them grow faster, thus you have to prune more.

-Arboretum Plant Info

Arboretum Library August E-News

 Hello all and welcome newcomers:The link below shows a nice selection of the new items.  Two of the three websites are from herbaria.  These libraries of dried plant materials are rich in information about what grows in a particular place.  The Flora of Baja project is wonderfully comprehensive.  I liked the photographs showing various agaves in habitat. New books, articles and website listsLibrary volunteer, Pam Wolken, shares her thoughts on one of our new books:”Hothouse Flower and the 9 Plants of Desire by Margot Berwin (New York: Pantheon Books, c2009) is a coming-of-age story of animism, transmutation and mysticism in the spirit of Mutant Message Down Under with plants.  New York advertising woman Lila Grace Nova is recovering from a divorce in a spare, small white box of an apartment when she comes under the spell of plantsman David Exley who provides her with a bird of paradise and launches her fascination with tropical plants.  Armand, the plantsman of the Laundromat and his wife, Sonali, complete the core cast for Lila’s journey through the Yucatan jungle; all motivated by the nine plants of the title, of course.  There is a tenth plant, and unnamed passion flower held out like the seed of a sequel.These nine form the basis of all human desires and fulfillment in the best traditions of anthropomorphism: gloxinia for love at first sight, sinsemilla is female sexuality, etc.  Lila’s quest for the nine, the healing and destroying powers of them, and the use of them by traditional cultures start out as a thought-provoking soul searching that quickly becomes a bodice-ripping tale of lust, dancing on the line between love and death.  For those who appreciate a healthy dose of fantasy with a lively fictional tale, this is a book for a summertime afternoon when it’s steamy as the jungle.”You can hunt for our other fiction selections that are plant related by searching the keyword “fiction”.  Try that with the link below.  Arboretum Library Online CatalogMany thanks to those of you who have used our wish lists as a way to help us build our collections.  The wish lists have moved to a new area on our new website: .  Scroll down the page to the section titled “Give to the Arboretum Library.”  I am still dividing the lists between children’s books and books for adults. Have fun looking through my forthcoming acquisitions list.Our current exhibition in the Library Reading Room is all about mushrooms.  Come and visit, especially during our expanded weekend hours.The Arboretum Library hours for August are as follows:Open Tuesday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.Open Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.Open Sundays, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.From Tuesday to Friday, August 11 to August 14, the Arboretum Library will be open 10:00 am to 5:00 p.m.Remember we are circulating to Arboretum members.  The circulation period for books is 3 weeks with 2 renewals if no one else wants the item.  You can renew by e-mail, phone or in person, but not on the online catalog.  The circulation period for current magazines is 3 days with 2 renewals if no one else wants the item.Our Botanical Information Consultants (for plant advice) are currently available seven days a week. or or 626-821-3239.Happy reading!  Susan C. Eubank Arboretum Librarian Arboretum Library Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden 301 North Baldwin Avenue Arcadia, California 91007 626-821-3213 626-821-4642 (fax)

The Los Angeles County Arboretum Appoints Richard Schulhof as CEO

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden announced today that Richard Schulhof has accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer at The Arboretum effective in early October.
A native of Los Angeles, Schulhof comes from Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum in Boston where for the last seven years he has served as deputy director. Prior to that, Schulhof was Executive Director of Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge. Previously he completed horticultural internships at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino and the Mildred Mathias Gardens at U.C.L.A.
Schulhof has an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture from U.C. Berkeley and masters degrees in public garden administration from the University of Delaware and forestry from Harvard.
Schulhof has created new programs supporting science education in both Boston and Los Angeles schools. Through collaboration with school districts and private foundations, his programs have offered teacher training, field trips and in-class instruction. Working with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Park Service, he has launched programs interpreting historic landscapes.
Russ Guiney, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, expressed his strong support and enthusiasm for the selection. “When the search committee began its comprehensive national search a little over a year ago, we were seeking an inspiring and dynamic leader with a commitment to excellence, a strategic thinker. While there were several very qualified candidates, the search committee unanimously endorsed the selection of Richard Schulhof, recognizing his deep passion for the natural world, extensive institutional experience, and demonstrated scholarly expertise.” Burks Hamner, president of The Arboretum Board of Trustees expressed “the Board of Trustees is looking forward to welcoming Richard, whose vast experience and knowledge will enhance and expand our existing programs.”
Schulhof brings to The Arboretum a strong commitment to public education and a strong interest in serving urban communities. “Finding new ways to bring the fascination and beauty of plants to greater Los Angeles is the aim,” Schulhof commented. “I am most honored to accept this important position, and I look forward to working with a very dedicated community—staff, volunteers, the trustees, the County Parks Department—to help more people discover this magical place.  With fascinating plant collections, a magnificent landscape, and remarkable history, the possibilities are unbounded, and I look forward to working to realize The Arboretum’s potential and goal of becoming one of the world’s truly great public gardens.”MEDIA CONTACT:  Cynthia Vargas Marketing/Communications Dept. 213-700-0700
Images for this press release:
Image 1: Richard Schulhof

How To Control Your Neighbor’s Passion (vine)

Dear Arboretum Plant Information,Last year our neighbor planted passion fruit vines on his side of a retaining wall that separates our properties.  They’ve been very prolific and are constantly climbing over the top of the wall and onto our side. We politely asked him to keep the vines trimmed, which he did, but our problems still weren’t over. Early this month we noticed a few young shoots popping up on dry hard compacted dirt on our side of the wall & in the cracks of a bricked patio floor which is flush against the wall.  I tried using Roundup Weed & Grass killer a few times (streamed & foamed during some 80-mid 80 degree sunny weather) & later noticed that they were still growing (i.e. green & thriving).  Initially the portion above soil seemed to die, but after a week, the shoots came back.  I haven't sprayed any more since then & am waiting to let them grow long enough to match the growth on our neighbor's side. How do I get rid of these plants? Signed,  Passionate in PasadenaDear Passionate,What’s probably happening is that the vine is sending out shoots from its roots. Spraying Roundup seems like a good idea, but it does present some problems:

Treating the shoots may kill your neighbors vine. Since the shoots that you are spraying are basically the same plant as your neighbors, spraying an herbicide like Roundup that is absorbed by the entire plant before it starts to work could result in not only the shoots you are spraying dying, but your neighbor’s entire vine dying as well.

Roundup takes a couple of weeks to show results. You’ve just sprayed these plants, give the Roundup some time to work.

Applying Roundup when it’s too hot will result in the plant’s tissues burning. Scorched plant tissue does not absorb Roundup, so the plant does not perish. You should apply roundup when the temps are below 85 degrees F.  Preferably in the early morning when temperatures are low and any breezes are at a minimum. Errant exposure to Roundup spray can cause plants like roses to become deformed; even from minute amounts of Roundup.

Treating expanding shoots with Roundup can be futile; this is because the flow of nutrients in the plant (Roundup has to be taken up into the nutrient stream to be effective) should be in a direction towards the roots for Roundup to be effective. A newly expanding shoot has little capacity to make food, its expansion fueled by a nutrient flow with a net direction towards the tip of the shoot. So what you need to do is allow the shoots to grow until they are about a month old, and then spray them when temperatures are below 85 degrees F.  This is because after a month the ability of the plant to make food for the plant is much higher than when it first started expanding and therefore an effective dose of Roundup will be delivered to the entire plant…which, like I mentioned above, may include your neighbors plant too.  

So, how do you get rid of the shoots if you have decided you don’t want to kill your neighbor’s passion and not to use Roundup? Simply snap off the new shoots as soon as they appear.

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© 2015 Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden • 626.821.3222 • 301 North Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007 • Website Design by Kirk Projects.

© 2015 Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens

Phone: 626.821.3222

301 N. Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA, 91007

Site Design by Kirk Projects