I brought this little succulent home with me just the other day, another impulse plant purchase in a long line of plants that simply could not be left at the store.
I think it is a Haworthia cooperi but I must warn you that I am not 100% certain. There are just too many of these darn things with subtle variations that I am not sophisticated enough to distinguish. The aspect of this plant I like most are the amazingly translucent parts of its fleshy leaves. These clear-ish areas are commonly referred to as “windows.” You can see through them almost as if you are peering inside the plant. When the sun hits these windows the effect is beautiful, elegant, and a little bit creepy.
The deep orange background in this photo is the Windowsill Cozy I crocheted for my windowsill last winter.
Photo taken at the Cactus Garden outside Santiago de Cuba
I don’t know how it happened but Davin RUINED my highly artistic photo with his butt and apparently I did not notice until I looked at the film. Look at all of those spider webs among the leaves of the plant. I wonder what kind of Cuban spiders lived there?
Every information source I consulted bragged that Cuba does not have any venomous animals but I continue to remain suspicious of that factoid given that during our short week trip we encountered several instances in which Cubans tended to deny one thing or another.
“There is no crime in Cuba!” bragged one tour guide.
“We do not have any social problems here!” said another.
“There are no sharks in our waters.”
All of these proclamations seem a little unlikely so you can imagine why I’m not completely convinced that there are no venomous animals on the entire island. It’s not that I was afraid. The presence of venomous or deadly animals is not going to limit me. I’m not about to cower in my hotel room worried that stepping out into the world might lead to certain death. I’ll go in the water (albeit tentatively) if I know sharks are a possibility. I just like to know what I’m dealing with. I like all potential hazards out in the open so I can ascertain how to best ensure my safety.
Found growing on the beach outside Santiago de Cuba. Sunburn relief is conveniently located within arm’s reach!
I desperately need to clean up my rooftop garden. Desperately. Double desperately. It’s horrible how long I’ve let it got this year really. The warmer Fall temperatures were wonderfully evil and I just went with it pretending that Fall would continue forever. I rewarded myself for cleaning up at the community garden so early this year. I can put it off a little longer, I said. It will be just like last year, I said. There will not be snow until January and by then everyone will be freaking out and talking about the blooming crocus and dandelion flowers and how the end of the world is neigh and it won’t matter that some of the pots weren’t empty or that the strawberries never did get replanted from the big pot into the ground.
And now I am in this dilemma. It has already snowed. The ground is probably frozen. I say probably because I haven’t had the courage to check. I would take a picture and post it here for you to see what I am talking about but that would mean having to look and I can’t bear it. I avoid looking out there entirely preferring to pretend it doesn’t exist. From memory and the occasional tiny peek I do seem to recall an assortment of clay pots that are usually emptied, washed and put away by this time every year prior to this one. I’m pretty sure that tender Echeveria I’ve been over-wintering indoors for years is now dead. The shiso was never harvested. Lifeless bean stalks cling to string and a few remaining lantern-like tomatillos hang from leafless branches.
Today would be the perfect day to get out there and do it already. The sun is shining, the temperatures are above zero, and anything that was recently frozen is probably melted after yesterday’s torrential downpours. I could cut back the plants, remove and wash the terra cotta and be done with it. And I would be totally on it too, I really would, except that I have come down with a terrible cold complete with body aches and a nose that runs like a faucet. So instead I will go back to bed with a pile of hankies and a warm tea, putting those self-preserving powers of denial to work for one more day.
Over the years, I’ve made a tradition of both putting together a new succulent window box idea every spring, and posting about it here. Since planting up this year’s box a few months ago, I’ve been taking photos as a prelude to a write-up here. But just when I begin to write, something in the box changes and I convince myself the box is even better and requires new photos. Now that I have broken my digital camera and am in gear purgatory I will just have to settle for the last batch of images and write this thing up already.
Sun-loving and exceptionally drought-tolerant succulents are just about the only plants that can survive the growing season slugging it out in a window box on my painfully hot and dry fire escape. I grow sun loving plants in larger containers on the fire escape as well but the succulents are the only plants that can withstand a day or more without attention and a long drink of water. They are hardy too, some like the ‘Goldmoss Stonecrop’ have been living in the same box for four seasons straight surviving straight through our cold, sporadic city winters. Many assume that because succulents are easy that they are also boring yet mine put on a good show, growing, draping, evolving with the seasons, changing colours, and eventually producing wacky alien-like flower forms.
From the Front (Photographed in May):
Clockwise from right front: Goldmoss Stonecrop (Sedum acre), Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, Sedum spurium Probably ‘Red Carpet’ , Sempervivum ‘Pacific Sexy’, Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’, Sedum sieboldii