Hello from Canada!

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Hello from Canada!

Post by cohan on Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:21 am

I just joined this group a few days ago, I've spent a little time looking at pictures of species, and finally looked farther down the list of fora Wink

I am both a new and long-time grower:
I am in my mid 40's, originally from a farm in west central alberta, canada--about 90minutes drive from the beginnings of the rocky mountains; there are a lot of gardeners in my family, and besides vegetable gardens, I have/had several relatives with interest in cacti and succulents, various houseplants, flower gardens, rock gardens etc;

In my mid-teens, i was becoming active in growing cacti and succulents indoors, and building some rock gardens outdoors, with some native plants from the mountains of Alberta and British Columbia, and, early on, two semps that were given to me by an older cousin as S tectorum and S soboliferum...the second has moved around a bit in nomenclature in the almost 30 years since then Wink loving those plants, especially the charming soboliferum, i sought out more semps where i could find them--mostly at nurseries during family trips to british columbia; i never had that many, but probably a half dozen species/forms (unnamed).

You may be interested to know that this area is considered zone 2-3 in the usda zones, with record winter lows to around -46C/below -40F, summer highs around 35C/95F, though we dont have too much of either extreme; certainly we have months of freezing temperatures (we have probably already had a few overnight lows of -10C/14F, although today was 14C/57F)..
of the handful of species i tried (tectorum, 'soboliferum' several others) I never lost any to winter cold, although certainly some of them form smaller, tighter rosettes here than in milder british columbia where I bought them from...

i say i am new to semps also, because for many years i lived in the heart of several big cities, with little to zero outdoor growing area; sometimes i had a lot of cacti, succulents and other plants indoors, sometimes not even that;
currently, i have moved back to the place i grew up (the rock gardens were long overgrown, and semps are long gone, but a very few other plants survived) and am working on re-establishing rock gardens (also native gardens, vegetables, etc etc)..
i have exactly 3 unnamed semps that i bought at a local nursery (but not originally grown there)..i have them in a large pot with some local mosses, an armeria, and a couple of baby sedums...i will post pictures of this pot somewhere on this site, when i see where is the best place...

Over the last few years, from internet exposure, and through the cactus and succulent club in toronto, I have discovered the fascinating world of 'location data'


To me, to be able to know that a plant comes from a particular population or mountainside, or a certain farm, is very interesting and exciting, and these are the plants i wish to grow! there are very few of these commercially available in canada, and those i have seen offered in north America are mostly the same ones over and over..that's ok, they are still beautiful plants, and i love even my 3 no name plants, but if i am able to find a few tiny choice plants from some european growers/collectors, with the information of where they originated, and not the same dozen clones already in every collection, I will be very happy indeed Smile

I dont intend to attempt all the species, but I have room for quite a few (around 6 acres/2.4hectares, but most of that is forest ) Smile

I have read the other introductions, and some of the posts: a very interesting and knowledgeable group here! it is invaluable to have members who live in/near the natural range of these plants, great to see the habitat photos..
Cohan

cohan
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Posts : 129
Join date : 2008-10-12
Location : west central alberta, canada, zone 2-3

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Re: Hello from Canada!

Post by I'm the 1 on Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:51 am

Cohan, welcome! what I envy you is the fact that you move back to the place you grow up in ... Sweet memories!

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Re: Hello from Canada!

Post by cohan on Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:35 pm

thank you Smile
yes, its nice to come back in many ways, but after 25 years not living here, and 10 years without even visiting, it is also very different than when i was young; and of course, simply being an adult is very different Wink
i like the air and the space--and i can just walk out of my door and see wildflowers, and in a couple of hours or less, i can be in the mountains, or visit the drylands (native cacti) down south..

what i dont like is having to drive to do anything at all; the closest (very small) town, where we can go for very few things (rarely) is about 10-15minutes to drive, the next bigger town (occasionally) is about 20; the town where i work, and another similar size (usually) are about 30mins to drive, and the closest small city (80,000) is 45minutes drive--and those are highway driving times, not slow urban driving!..
in the city i was used to just walking, sometimes bicycle...so this is a pain...

cohan
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Posts : 129
Join date : 2008-10-12
Location : west central alberta, canada, zone 2-3

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Seeds

Post by Gary on Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:25 pm

Hi Cohan, Have you ever thought of raising the seeds that form on your plants? It is easy to grow them--just keep moist for the first few weeks. I usually put seeds on a flat or pot and place in a pan for the first summer, then start pulling out the boring ones.
Wet winters and root eating bugs are the main problems here.

Gary in Oregon(basicly BC with dryer hotter summers)

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Re: Hello from Canada!

Post by cohan on Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:10 am

hi, gary
i havent had any seeds yet (well, i probably did when i grew them before, but thats more than 25 years ago, and wasnt thinking about it then).. no flowers yet on the 3 plants i have right now...
i no doubt will do it when i get some flowers/seeds in the future..
do they usually self-pollinate if nothing else happens, or do there have to be 2 in flower?
what about controlled pollination, is that easy to do with semps? bag the inflorescences? i guess whether you are hybridising or preserving original types you would have to do it..

i did see succseed has a few interesting species i'd like to try

cohan
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Posts : 129
Join date : 2008-10-12
Location : west central alberta, canada, zone 2-3

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Re: Hello from Canada!

Post by Gary on Fri Oct 17, 2008 12:04 am

Cohan, Just raising enough seed wil give you some nicer than the parents. But by cutting out all near blooms of plants you do not want to use, you can get the bees to make crosses of those left to bloom. Of if you want to get even higher tech, have the two you want to cross in pots, bring them together away from bees, (while blooming!) and rub the tips of the crown of the female parts with the dusty pollen of the other. Even closing your eyes and rubbing the open blooms together will usually do the trick. If you do not want to use your finger, use a small brush or a piece of cloth! As the blooms dry up, place in a paper bag, (after stripping any moist remaining leaves) and put in a dry warm area--I use my car. Most semps will self fertilize if bees are around and maybe 10 to 15% will be outcrosses. A very few clones are nearly sterile.
Gary in Oregon

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Re: Hello from Canada!

Post by cohan on Fri Oct 17, 2008 12:21 am

thanks, gary, i will save those tips for when i have some seeds..
cohan

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Re: Hello from Canada!

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