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Kyle Leonard is an urban gardener from Salford. He loves experimenting with succulents, cacti and anything else he can find the room to grow. You may also recognise Kyle as the founder of the infamous 2016 GardenTags seed swap. Read on for more of Kyle’s Urban Gardening Adventures…
Urban Gardening Adventures Vol. 2
An Accumulation of Cacti
Hello I’m Kyle! As you know from my introductory blog, my girlfriend and I own a fair amount of cacti and succulents due to the fact I have no garden, just a few windowsills (three, in fact) in a second storey apartment in Stalybridge. I wanted to spend this week’s blog going through my collection and how I ended up owning them.
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First of all, our Dwarf Chin Cactus which we bought in June 2014. We used a simple, yet stylish pot to compliment the cacti, adding multi-coloured pebbles around the base to disguise the soil. When we bought the plant it was in flower, a beautiful, tall pink flower which lasted for weeks.
To our sadness in 2015 it failed to flower, to our bemusement – this prompted us to believe it was on its way out when all we had done is over-watered it. It survived the 2015 winter onslaught and I was advised on Garden Tags to feed the cacti some diluted tomato feed, which helped the cacti have its best flowering year – June, July & September saw some spectacular pink flowers.
Tip: Feed your cacti with diluted tomato feed once a month during flowering period
This really ignited a passion for cacti as far as my girlfriend and I were concerned. We were hooked! We always knew we wouldn’t spend the rest of our lives in our apartment, so we wanted to make something to remind us of our first home together. We bought some smaller cacti (unknown variety) and used a wide glass cylinder filled with stones from the communal gardens to remind us whenever we look at it. This is the only set of cacti which we didn’t have on our windowsill – this was centre stage on our coffee table and it loved the mid-afternoon sun which streamed through the windows daily. Our third and final DIY cacti display was created by turning a tall, narrow glass vase into a pot. By adding multi-coloured pebbles, this looked stylish and suited the apartment perfectly.
Another of my personal passions is bonsai – and in June 2016 I created a bonsaiesque Jade Plant (I know Jade isn’t technically a bonsai). I used a tapas dish, which I drilled a hole into the bottom of and wired the roots of the Jade in place. I then added cacti/succulent compost, making sure there were no voids around the roots. Finally covering with sharp sand to help with drainage. Initially I was watering too much – soaking the soil. I left the plant to my mother who waters it routinely and the plant is in pristine condition, growing larger in the process and really filling out the pot.
Tip: When Jade Plants are stressed, the leaves shrivel up – this can be caused by over or underwatering
The remaining cacti are shop-bought – there’s nothing wrong with this! Why change something which looks great as it is? We have two in long, terracotta pots which are bursting over the sides – Golden Barrel Cactus and Turks Cap Cactus. I don’t want to just speak of all the successes, as gardening isn’t 100% fool-proof, sadly. In the past we’ve had bonsai trees which haven’t survived the winter months of the year we bought them in – which has left me wondering what I did wrong, even still to this day.
Gardening is great – doesn’t always go the way you want it to go, but you strive to improve yourself and your garden and most of the time you get it right!
Check back weekly for more Urban Gardening Adventures from @KyleLeonard
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