Monday, August 18, 2008

Prickly Garden Problems

I recently met Teri C., an online friend who loves cactus plants, and I wanted to draw a cactus for her.  This pen and ink and watercolor drawing isn't too bad, if you ignore the pot.  I looked up this cactus online, and I think it is a Mexican barrel cactus.  When I bought it, ages ago, it was about the size of a softball, but it has grown to the size of a cantaloupe, and has begun flowering in the summer.  It likes summering outside, though sometimes I have to be careful it doesn't get too much water. I repot it every year to two, and the spines are so lethal that I began using leather gloves to handle it.  Two days ago I moved it, carefully, to the side of the house that gets more sun, hoping to encourage it to bloom again.  

I also moved a big potted geranium that wasn't blooming because, I imagine, the maples have grown so much that a formerly sunny spot now is partly shady.  To my horror, only hours later I discovered that the geranium had become a magnet for iridescent green beetles, and they were earnestly chewing the leaves down to the veins.  Japanese beetles.  I had never seen them before.  Since then I have gone out to the plant with a saucepan of soapy water, and sent scads of the critters on a sea cruise.  I imagine the kindest thing would be to just send the geranium back to Baby Jesus, and take away the beetle magnet, but I paid a bundle for the plant and hate to give up so easily.  We shall see.  If I were dedicated I'd sketch a dead bug, but frankly I don't want to look at one that closely.


Anonymous said...

AH...leather gloves. You have answered a looming question for me. I repotted the same type of cactus once, and the second time, I ended up giving it away so someone else could deal with it.

I love the sketch. I think cacti are hard to sketch because of the spines.

JoAnn said...

oh, Sherry, you made me laugh so hard with your bug story!

Sorry you have been invaded, though. Try SAFER brand insect soap.

I just had to draw a lot of cacti as part of an assignment that was to paint a desert gods, my "ear" cacti look deformed and all of my tall cacti are leaning.

Rayne said...

Oh, yes. Japanese beetles. They used to get into our grape vines and through out the day my brothers and I would give the vines a shake and the chickens would have a great time snapping me up. It always amazed me how many beetles there were and how they never seemed to diminish in number.

Teri C said...

Sherry, you did an outstanding job on that cactus!!! It is just great!

Happy Cactus Monday on a Tuesday.

And thanks.