Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2005
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

One of my favorite plants here in my office is rhipsalis. It is an epiphytic cactus that has a multitude of pencil-thin branches that cascade from the base, making it perfect for a hanging container. It blooms in the winter, but the flowers aren't much to write home about -- just a few small, white blossoms at the ends of the many branching tips.

The interesting thing about this plant is that it's a survivor. If just one tiny piece breaks off, it roots wherever it happens to fall, even if that's on the carpet. Tiny root hairs appear along the broken stem, making a perfect cutting for planting or sending home with a friend.

Like all cacti, the rhipsalis likes a dormant period during the short days of winter with little or no water. It's easy to care for and has been insect free as long as I have owned it -- about 11 years now. If you like cacti, consider this one.

Tool or Gardening Product

Fiskars Transplanting Spade
Fiskars has just released a fabulous new digging tool. They call it a transplanting spade, but if you have ever had to dig in hard clay soil, you will appreciate the narrow blade and wide foot rest of this handy tool. The handle is the perfect length for comfortable digging and has a wide, plastic grip at the top. No blisters here!

When used as intended, the transplanting spade makes moving established shrubs easy. The narrow blade cuts through even the toughest roots, and the short handle uses leverage to loosen even large shubs from the ground.

Fiskars is famous for their quality and workmanship. I like this tool very much and recommend it for home or professional gardeners.
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