cactus bud

4

Flower bud season has started in my succulent/cactus garden!
It won’t be more than a few days before the first bud opens.
Unfortunately I’m away around Easter, so there’s a good chance that I’ll miss it.

Top left: Gymnocalycium mihanovichii v. friedrichii (non-grafted)
Top right: Astrophytum coahuilense
Middle: Notocactus ottonis (edited from Echinopsis after flowering)
Bottom: my giant Astrophytum ornatum

Time for the first blooming of the Echinopsis oxygona family. This year 3 more plants seem to have reached blooming size! In particular I am excited about the one on the left, because it comes from a different variety. Let’s see its flower!

Es tiempo de la primera floración de los cactus Echinopsis oxygona. Este año parece que tres plantas más han alcanzado el tamaño mínimo para florecer. En particular la de la izquierda de la fila del medio, porque es de una variedad distinta. Veamos cómo son sus flores!

Cactus Flowers

Not a request! Just something that came to mind and wouldn’t let me sleep unless it was written. So far I had only one request! If anyone would like me to write something, don’t be afraid to send it in! Anyways, hope you guys like it!


At first, Doug didn’t know what to think at the sudden roommate change. He had grown accustomed to living with Chad Charming for the past year and although the other teen was at times dim and insufferable, Doug had to admit he was not a bad roommate. If it wasn’t for Ben asking for this particular favor, Doug would have declined. He was content with how things were. But in the end, Doug didn’t argue. Things had gone smoothly; even when Chad had thrown a small tantrum as he collected his things with a deep pout.

Doug hadn’t even asked what was going on. Looking back, the teen knew he should have investigated more however, the questions in his mind were thrown to the back of his head under the high of having his own room for a night. The following morning with no fight for the bathroom or an obnoxious Charming to nearly make him tardy for class was bliss to the nerdy boy. The high lasted well throughout the day, even garnering suspicious looks from his friends.

It wasn’t until that evening after dinner when the sudden realization that someone unfamiliar was in his room snapped Doug back into reality.  The teen gave Ben an awkward hello as he took in the sight of a rather unkempt individual.

He was dirty, not unlike the original VK’s when they first arrived to Auradon, and pretty thin. Doug noted the rips and tears in the other teen’s clothing with some sympathy. It was no mystery that the boy had been taken out of a rough walk of life. Very recently too if his tense body language and fleeting eyes were any indication. His snow white hair was messy, strands of stringy hair hanging stubbornly in front of the boy’s eyes. The boy’s eyes shockingly enough were a deep ruby color that actually startled Doug but he strategically kept his thoughts at bay.

The boy had only stared back at Doug when he tried to introduce himself. His hand had hovered awkwardly in front of him for a few moments before Ben happily introduced the strange boy as Jack. The look Jack sent to Ben’s retreating back when he had left the room stirred some uncomfortable feelings in the pit of Doug’s stomach. It was one the teen recognized as fear.

The feeling in his stomach only worsened when the same look was directed at him. Doug. The scrawny band kid with the only possible weapon at hand being a chemistry book. It was at that moment that Doug realized why Ben had approached him for this particular favor. He was easily the most unassuming and tough looking kid in school. If Jack was this frightened of him as he was, it was no wonder Ben had chosen Doug above the other boys at school.

The next few weeks passed without incident. Jack had not spoken a word since Doug had met him. The quiet teen followed him throughout the school, always about five feet away but he never once approached Doug a single time. On the rare occasions when Jack was not near, Doug had tried to ask for more information about him from the other VK’s but it came with little success. Apparently even on the Isle Jack was known as the weird silent kid.

However, despite Jack’s obvious discomfort with Doug, he noticed a few changes with the teen as time passed on. He no longer tensed when Doug entered the room nor did he stare at him from across the dorm room from his bed in fear. The night Jack had fallen asleep with his back turned towards Doug had nearly made the teen weep tears of joy. With every milestone, Doug found himself relaying to his friends. So much so Evie even joked about Doug having had become a helicopter parent.

Though his progress was great, Doug found he would not count himself successful unless Jack finally spoke to him. Doug knew Jack could speak. He had heard the other boy murmur to himself when he thought no one was listening. In light of that discovery Doug and, unsurprisingly, his friends slyly tried to get Jack to speak to them but to no avail, the teen remained stubbornly silent.

It wasn’t until he had noticed Jack’s interest in a small cactus plant Doug kept on his nightstand. The cactus was originally a project his science class had conducted a few weeks prior to Jack’s arrival. Doug had noticed Jack eye the plant a few times before. Not thinking too much about it, Doug had asked if Jack would like to keep it.

The surprised look on Jack’s face when Doug had placed the plant on the teen’s nightstand was one he would never forget. His ruby eyes glittered and for a moment Doig could swear he saw a fleeting smile.

Gifting his roommate the plant was something Doug would have never thought would be the cause of breaking the thick ice between them. He instructed the teen how to care for it and even told him that speaking to it would help the cactus stay healthy. He realized Jack took caring for the small cactus to heart when Doug heard a small voice speaking nonsense when he was in the bathroom.

It was on a sunny day when Doug was enjoying lunch with Evie and the others when Jack had came sprinting up to them with a huge grin on his face. The image was an odd one. A teenaged boy decked in ripped up jeans and a leather jacket sprinting across a field with a small cactus in his hands. The teens shared a perplexed look before inquiring what had gotten the other teen in such a mood. Not wasting a single second, Jack carefully placed the small plant on the picnic table before joining them and pointing at a small pink bud forming near the top of the cactus.

“Look,” Jack had proclaimed proudly. “She’s growing.”

Jack’s quiet voice was shocking to say the least. It took Doug a moment to process what he had said before looking at the budding cactus. The others too had fallen silent and studied the pathetic plant with varying degrees of wonder. Jack didn’t seem to notice the surprise within the other teens as he proudly gazed at his plant with his head laying on the picnic table.

“So you like flowers?” Carlos had finally said, effectively ending the silence that fell upon them. Jack nodded, his head still laying it on the table.

“They’re nice,” He said. “And pretty.”

“Remind me to show you around the garden then,” Doug quickly replied.

“Garden?”

“Oh, yes!” Jane cut in. “It’s beautiful this time of year! All the flowers have already bloomed and I heard the rose section was especially beautiful this year. The groundskeeper has outdid himself!”

Jack listened to the girl with rapt attention. His mouth opened slightly in awe as she spoke. He then smiled, his eyes sparkling in unbridled joy as he carefully scooped his cactus up before turning expectantly to Doug.

“Can we go now?” He asked, his voice becoming stronger, yet still coming out as whisper with, every word.

Changing roommates had turned out not to be as bad as Doug expected. Though Jack was still a little quiet at times, he had definitely come a long way from the Jack he first met. Which was honestly a perfect definition of a roommate in Doug’s opinion. Though there was the slight problem of Jack growing his own garden in the dorm room. Nevertheless, Doug figured that as long as Jack kept it on his side of the room, it would be no problem.