Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cactus Repo(r)t

Happy Easter everyone! We're celebrating by getting a new water heater!

Yesterday morning I tried to take a shower, only to discover that there was NO hot water. I went down to the basement to check on the water heater, and lo and behold, a puddle was forming underneath. Uh oh.

We've had trouble with water heaters before. In Boulder, our upstairs neighbor's water heater exploded one night and flooded our kitchen. A year or two later, our own water heater gave up on life and flooded our downstair's neighbor's deck.

So I called our landlord right away. Rather, I texted Ted and said, "Call the landlord."

Of course these things only happen on holiday weekends... So I'm sure the guy who's downstairs replacing it is making overtime pay. Good for him. As long as I get a hot shower out of this.

Anyway... this post was not meant to be about hot water.

It's about cacti.

A couple months ago I planted some cactus gardens in glass bowls. I loved my cactus gardens.

Sadly, my cacti did not. One has already shriveled up and died, and the others were threatening to join him.

I've discovered that the climate here is not quite as dry as Boulder's (actually, it's no where near as dry), and the soil in my bowls was not drying out. I tried moving the bowls into the sun throughout the day, but the rocks that formed the top layer of my gardens held the moisture in.

Exhibit A:
That poor little ridged cactus in front is no longer with us... she deflated.

So, in an effort to save the rest of my cacti, I decided to repot them without that layer of rocks on top. I also wanted to "re-style" my kitchen window, so I repotted the cacti into smaller pots to fit in the sill.

This is where my IKEA trip came in... The only problem with IKEA's flower pots (and it's a big problem) is that none of them have drainage holes!!! This is not ideal for plants that need dry soil. I was muy disappointed.

But I had driven 45 minutes to get there, and I did kinda like the white, textured flower pots, so I bought five and have my fingers crossed that the soil will still be able to dry thoroughly.

I filled the bottom of each pot about halfway up with rocks, then I put quick-drying cactus/succulent soil in with the repotted cacti. I have not watered them yet, as the soil around the bottom of each cactus was already thoroughly drenched from their previous "pots."

Notice, no rocks on top.

Sid Vicious couldn't be happier to be on his own.

So here is my message to you:  Unless you live in an arid climate, I would not recommend making a cactus garden with a top layer of stylish rocks. I'm bummed cuz I liked the look of the rock and soil layers in the clear glass bowls.

Ah well. In the end, I would rather have live cacti. And my window sill looks much cleaner and less cluttered with the series of white pots (as opposed to a handful of bud vases, a vase filled with wine corks, and a couple mismatched potted plants atop yogurt lids to catch drainage). Some day when there are no dishes in the kitchen sink I'll take a wide angle shot so you can see the effect.

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