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ashcls

They Say You Always Remember Your First

18 years ago

I have taken on the task of finally cataloging my cacti and succulents so I can have a record of changes.

While I was taking the photos, the thought came to me that this was the first cactus to start it all. A friend gave me this mamm 2-1/2 years ago. It has grown in leaps and bounds. (was only in a 2 inch pot and has been through 2 transplants since then)

I had never been able to keep plants alive and fell in love. This was the plant that started my "afflication".

So I was curious if anyone else still has the "first" and if they would share photos. Just thought it might be fun. I realize some people here have been doing this a long long time (I am just a newbie) but it seemed like a fun idea.

{{gwi:486314}}

{{gwi:486315}}

Comments (30)

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh yes! I remember my first. It was not a cactus but I thought it was -- it was a Jade plant, Crassula ovata, It grew from a single leaf and I was ever so proud. That little leaf already had a few roots protruding when my great aunt gave it to me. That was almost 60 years ago. And I remember the first time it bloomed. It was probably 10 years old and I left it outside way too long that summer. It was almost nipped by frost. The same great aunt was having Thanksgiving dinner with my family and the very first flower opened that day. I remember her telling me that her plant never bloomed. I was so eager for her to see my plant in full flower when she returned for Christmas but it was not to be, she died before Christmas. But my plant and my memory of her live on. Being afflicted with 'the collector virus' I once had every mutated form of C. ovata I could find. I'm now back to only the original and it survives in a 5" pot. And it won't be blooming this Thanksgiving, perhaps next year.

    Al

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    And I failed to post the picture of "Great Aunt Emily's Jade".

    I was just told that my story was too sad and I should not have shared it. My housekeeper caught me, in her words, "dragging that dirty plant into the best room in the house". So I allowed her to read the post. She told me she was going to cry - it was so sad. The pot has been delicately wiped and placed into a decorative outer pot where the plant will remain through Thanksgiving '05.

    The Jade:

    {{gwi:486318}}

    Al

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  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Yes, I remember the one that started it all! I was walking through Target in Pasadena, CA, and this little guy attached itself to my skirt as I brushed past the shelf, and it fell on the floor, and lost all its dirt. I felt bad for the little guy (then only about 3 inches tall), so I bought it for the price of $1.99. This was about 7 years ago. The first few years I had it, I didn't know what I was doing, and it didn't grow very much. Last year was the first year it really did well, and it grew 6". This season, it grew 12", and looks like it's going to be huge fairly soon. It's a Cereus peruvianus. This is the one that started my collection, which has grown immense over the last 7 years. This is a good idea for a thread, and I hope lots of folks post their firsts!!

    Kate

    {{gwi:486319}}

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    These are great stories! It's nice to hear them and see the plants that help tell the story. My mom started my addiction for me when she brought back this Echinocactus grusonii from her four-year stay in AZ. She bought it at a Lowe's in Surprise, AZ. I fell in love with it and had to have more, many more! I began collecting immediately, and I have over 300 now, including succulents and, recently, Mesembs. She just shakes her head at me now!

    This was a good idea for a thread, thanks for starting it. It will be fun to see what everyone posts.

    Amy

    {{gwi:486321}}

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh, the shame of it all. I started as a child, and I've had so many I don't even remember the first ~~~

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well my first cacti I killed! As a child,I overwatered many a cactus.I did have a cactus garden of Horse Cripplers and Prickley Pears as a child. I used to love going hunting for them with my dad as a child.

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    i had my first cactus - plain ole texas prickly pear - so long ago i aint saying. lost in the travels of my youth. but the plant that really started my obsession w/succulents was one i picked up about 3 years ago for $2. tho i have acquired fancier plants, it remains a fav esp when covered in bloom. actually, i picked up two that day and they both remain favs: sedum palmerii rosa and kiwi aeonium.
    {{gwi:486322}}

    ok someone tell me how to cut a pic down to size, plz. i have no idea why this is so large...

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi you all,

    I was about 14 when I got "afflicted by the suc.virus". In my classroom some-one had a Bryophylum on his table. The mother of thousands. All the children of my class started to grow one. A few months later we all had several pots and plants on the table. So many that the teacher forbid it. The virus, than started, never has left me. There were years when I overcome the dissease and had none, but nowadays my greenhouse and in winter the house is overcrowded. And ... I'm very happy with this virus. greetz Hablu ps. Sorry; I don't have a pic.

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    No longer have my first, that was 42 years ago. I was 6 and my grandmother gave me a small (1" tall) Cleistocactus baumannii that she had for years. The first few years it didn't do much for me either, then when I was 10 it took off. By the time I was 22, it was 7' tall with 13 branches and that summer had a total of 500 flowers. That was it's peak, then it started declining and in ten years it was down to a 6" cutting that finally died. I am starting some more seed, which seems to be hard to get started, this is my 5th try. I do have some very old plants (Beaucarnea recurvata that I've had 30 years and a Pilosocereus chrysacanthus that is also at least 30 years), but my first is long gone.
    Dan

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here's the first of the ones I still have. Its a Cleistocactus straussii (or maybe two, or maybe even something else) that I bought when I moved back to England. It wants summer to come back :(

    {{gwi:486323}}

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    SnB

    I think I could write a thousand word essay based on the thoughts that picture of yours evokes. It reminds me of a pair of old, old friends.......

    Al

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nice to hear stories from you all. I can't remember when exactly I got my first cacti and what exactly the species was. However I have a plant namely Gymnocalycium saglione (?) That was surely amoung my first cacti. I think it was my cousin who got it from USA and brought it back for me. I estimate it to be in my care for about 16 years (I'm 22). It could have been bigger if I knew how to care for it properly at the beginning!:) ..imagine pure sand, deep shade, sudden move to full sun, pouring rain, or sometimes no water for months, but it survived all that!
    This photo was taken last year, in 10" pot:
    {{gwi:486325}}

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Great thread, ashcls! I think all of us here have that same affliction! I hope you're having fun cataloging your C & S!

    Neat plants, everyone! I love all the shapes, forms & colors of these unusual plants!

    Yes, Al, a sad story, but glad you told it just the same. It's great to have plant history! SnB, I think you've given me the name for one of my neighbor's plants. Thanks! Some of you started very young, didn't you?!

    Let's see...I started with a RugRatMobile load!!
    Back in '97 when I first became obsessed with gardening, I dared to share my Affliction with another Little League mom. So, she gave me a tour of her garden one day & sent me home with a van full of goodies (clippings) from most of her plants, as well as plants lying about! They were mostly succulents!!! Mind you, I'd never even heard of succulents before this. I did know of Cacti, having seen those before.

    My neighbor contributed to my collection as well. My friends only knew a few common names of the plants they gave me. I had quite a few mysteries on my hands! I didn't know there were SO many different genera of succulents! Where to start? The Internet didn't have many pix (of anything) back then, so finding correct IDs were near impossible. I frequented GW since '96 or so & started researching (when it had on ly a handful of forums). I'm still finding out correct names for some of those from way back then.

    Clickable thumbnails below: Here are some of the 1st sux potted up in '98. You can see the start of my Euphorbia tirucalli & others. I had no clue what to do with these. I read a lot & researched online whatever I could find. I had some Epiphyllum & Aeonium on my porch. The 1st planting in '99 shows the Euphorbia, Aeonium, Graptopetalum, Epiphyllum, Stapelia, Crassula, Kalanchoe, Haworthia & Cotyledon. The last 3 pix show the same spot (about) from '99. '00 & '04.
    {{gwi:486326}} {{gwi:486327}} {{gwi:486328}} {{gwi:486329}} {{gwi:486330}} {{gwi:486332}}
    I believe these 2 are the first cacti I ever owned. The Ferocactus went to Plant Heaven & the Mammillaria bocasana is hanging on. My Pokey collection has expanded now. :)
    {{gwi:486333}} {{gwi:486334}} {{gwi:486335}}
    The 1st Aloes I had were A. grandidentata (altho' I thought it was saponaria bk then-pic below of the early garden bed it was in) & Aloe plicatilis which had a huge trunk on it when I got it. It laid on top the ground for over a year while I contemplated where to put it! Pic below of '01 & then in '04.
    {{gwi:486336}} {{gwi:486337}} {{gwi:486338}} {{gwi:486339}}
    The Pencil Cactus, as it was known to me back in '98, was planted out in '99 as seen in the 1st pic, then '00, '01. '04 for next 2 & '05 (Euphorbia tirucalli)~my largest succulent:
    {{gwi:486340}} {{gwi:486341}} {{gwi:486342}} {{gwi:486343}} {{gwi:486344}} {{gwi:486345}}
    One of my favorites is Aeonium 'Kiwi', for its changing colors through the year like some trees do. Here it is in its 1st pot in '01 & later with pretty colors of buds & leaves in '03:
    {{gwi:486346}} {{gwi:486347}} {{gwi:486348}} {{gwi:486349}}
    I really like the look of these: Aeonium 'Zwartkop', Aeonium 'Sunburst' & Aeonium urbicum (or so I believe):
    {{gwi:486350}} {{gwi:486351}} {{gwi:486352}}
    I'm sure this was MORE than you wanted to know, but I get carried away with my obsession. Thanks for letting me take a romp down memory lane!
    ~Rosemarie

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    As I said, I don't remember my first cactus, but that Cereus peruvianus picture brought back some memories of one of my earlier cacti. As a kid, my succ growing was hampered by a few conditions. My dad, who encouraged my hobby, already had a lot of the prime spots (like the living room's south-facing picture window) sewn up with his plant collection (a diverse buch, heavy on the Gesneriads). My mom hated spiney succs, and didn't want them anywhere she was going to be dusting or window-washing. (I should have volunteered for those jobs myself, but I was still a little kid and didn't think of it.) As you can imagine, most of my cacti didn't hang on for more than 2-3 years. My C. peruvianus lived on and grew like crazy (for Z3), though. I had it outdoors in summer, and it tolerated my N. windows in the cooler winter. When it hit about 4 1/2' with pot (taller than I was) Mom started complaining about it. (It wasn't really too large for me! So it was corked a bit at the bottom, that didn't make it ugly!) Not too long after, it started to rot at the base and died.
    ...she wouldn't have.....would she???

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    When I was 15 years old, and a stamp collector for about 8 years already, my father gave me a cutting of the 'Queen of the Night' Selenicereus grandiflorus. It grew well in Hamburg, Germany, on the south facing window sill, and I got caught immediately.
    I started buying cacti in flower shops and -unfortunately- sold my stamp collection (Great Britain and it's Colonies) later to raise money for that new hobby. In 1959 the 'Queen' flowered one night from 11 PM to 4 AM. A year later we moved in the middle of winter. Only 10" of the stem of the 'Queen' adjacent to the former flower survived the frost in the truck during the move of only 5 miles. It rooted and grew again later.
    Later during my stay in the army I started an additional collection on the window sill in the barracks. Soon I built the first greenhouse on my parents lot, later a second followed. At noon I often went there leaving classes at university or later my desk in the office to pollinate flowers. I did a lot of propagation, the greenhouses exploded, I had to sell plants, finally even worldwide with CITES.
    Later about 30,000 plants moved with us to Spain, where most of them stayed while only 2,000 ended up with us here in the States. After 6 years here the greenhouse is exploding again, in the yard there is hardly any more room left for more C&S.
    But I claim, it's not an addiction, it's just an entertaining hobby.

    Jordi

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My first cactus was a Notocactus apricus... I saw this lone plant at a fair, and couldn't resist the lovely yellow flower... I think it cost me a dollar. I had no idea how to grow these things, so it got watered along with all my houseplants in my room (my mother called it a jungle).
    It wasn't until 6-8 months after that I met a lady & her husband at a market in a nearby town who had a cactus stall, she told me how to care for them etc. I went home with Noto. ottonis, Mamm prolifera and Hamatocactus setipinus I think... the bug had well and truly bitten, and I became a cactaholic.

    Over the months that followed I bought quite a few more and with visits to my new found friends and others who had the same affliction, I was given quite a number of cuttings, offsets, unwanted seedlings Ahh! I was in heaven, my tiny porch became overcrowded in no time at all.

    I built my first glasshouse. I went to a local glazier who had lots of scrap glass of various sizes, built a timber frame and stuck the glass on with rubber silicone,it was about 2x3 metres and served me well for a number of years, (It still stands at the old homestead today).
    By the way my apricus succumbed to all the overwatering it got, but in it's passing I learned a lot about the difference between a cactus and a maidenhair fern!

    Cheers, CP

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bought this in Union Square, NYC... half died away, but since then I learned how to care for it, and it has doubled.
    My first euphorb/succulent/plant

    {{gwi:486353}}

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    As I read back in the topics, I've found this one. It was a good idea to make this theme.
    Like Jordi, I has always been a something-collector as I remember my childhood. The difference between us is our stamp collection. Mine lays on the lower self of the furniture in our room.
    Maybe I was a little bit older than you when I got my first two cacti (17). They were Rebutias. A red and a yellow flowered plant (senilis or marsoneri or sg else). My mother bought at her workplace from a guy who went from the street into the building with a tray of cacti. When I noticed these beautiful plants I praid from her.
    Afterward I met some sellers on the local market, and then started the race. And there is no end.
    Two weeks ago when I mentioned some plants what I need to a new acquaintence (who is an elder cactus lover), he said he can see these paranoid signs on me like in himself. This time I am happy with this, but don't ask my wife :-)

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh yes, the very first one that took my succulent virginity away. 'Twas a shrubby Mesemb, and nothing was ever the same after that.....


    {{gwi:486355}}

    It's Ruschia crassa

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What great stories!!!

    I can barely remember my first cactus. I know I was about 18, and bought what I think might have been a mamm elongata at the grocery store. I have absolutely no idea what became of that plant. I do know that I named it "Robert." Yes, as in "Robert Plant." Again, 18 years old.

    I also remember buying my French teacher from high school a cactus when she was in the hospital with cancer. She reminded me of a cactus - all prickly, but really pretty, and with gorgeous flowers if you treat them just right. I think she appreciated the symbolism... at least, I hope she did :)

    But I didn't really get into C&S until eight or nine years later, when I noticed a startling trend - a lot of my boyfriends would up and leave me to go to Latin America. I had Latin America on the brain. And since cacti grow in Latin America, I also had cacti on the brain. Honestly, it made perfect sense at the time.

    Then, wouldn't you know it, one of my cousins gave me a jade plant. At the time, though, I didn't know it was a succulent. In fact, I thought that since its leaves were so thick and juicy that it must take A LOT of water :) I almost killed it quite a few times, thankfully forgetting about it periodically (which, in retrospect, is probably why it's still alive). Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had started to accumulate a few cacti - a gymno, a mamm... you know, the usual stuff you find at the grocery store.

    Finally, once the jade situation got desperate, I hit GW, where Jeffrey and Norma clued me into the succulency of the jade, and saved the day. While I was figuring out how not to kill a jade, I started to learn a bit more about my other plants. And I started to love my cacti for their prickly selves, not as some weird symbols of lost loves.

    Here's the jade that started it all:
    {{gwi:486356}}

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well, I needed something to "ground" me a few years ago. Found this one about 2 1/2 years ago, someone tossed a bunch of 6" pups. Knew what aloe vera was, didn't know it flowered yellow. Put it in the ground and that started a long, educational journey into the realm of cacti & succulents.
    I have since migrated toward aloes. It's a large enough family to keep me busy for many years. Along the way, I have joined a cacti club and a local community garden. I have met many wonderful people as well. If every person has a story, this plant is mine. Sorry, no photo :-(

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Borrego, isn't it kind of funny that you got into cacti in order to ground yourself, and I got into cacti as the result of an absolute flake-fest?

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My first, and still a favorite, is my Pachypodium lamerie or Madagascar Palm. I bought it in 1994 when I thought it was a cactus; and it was a plant which George would have called an "ugly".

    George and I had been gay-partners for 14 years when he died of leukemia. He had fought for years against several serious medical problems. We had spent countless hours in trips to hospitals, emergency rooms and doctor's offices. But ultimately his body was no longer able to keep up the struggle.

    For the first year or so after his death I did not want to change anything in our house from the way we had it. But one day I had to go to HD for something and as I passed the garden department I could not help but laugh when I saw this little "cactus" and I could almost hear George say "Isn't that an ugly!" I knew that he would not have wanted it in the house (never much liked potted plants of any kind, and certainly not an 'ugly'). So I bought it anyway.

    That day marked a significant turn for me, for which I am very grateful.

    The Pachy is now almost four feet tall and I am hoping it will bloom. Maybe next year. It now stands supreme among very many other succulents and cacti, et cetera.

    Mike, my new love, well "new" for the last nine years, is much more sympathetic toward "uglies" and we are all quite happy together.

    Jerry

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Jerry,

    Sorry to hear about George, but glad to hear things are good for you now... Funny the things that get us into this hobby/obsession...

    My first was a variegated Hoya that my boyfriend (who later became my now ex-husband!) gave me on Valentine's Day my senior year in H.S. His mother was into the weirdest plants - of course, I now know most of them as common succulents, like Mother of Thousands Kalanchoe, Aloe vera, Sanseveria. I got starts from her plants when my ex and I got married right out of H.S. and within a couple of years, I couldn't pack enough plants around every window wherever we lived. My obsession with succulents will hit 30 years next year - seems like only yesterday I was watching that little Hoya grow!

    Denise in Omaha

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I had had jade before, without ever realizing that there were other succulents in the world. It managed quite well in not particularly well-draining soil, in the ground in summer, in spite of all the rain it got there in Japan. Then we moved here to cactus country, and I think my first cactus was Opuntia microdasys albispina, which caught my eye in Home Depot. Then I began to buy other interesting succulent plants, keeping them all in a row at the edge of a flower bed that got sprinkled frequently by the irrigation system. I don't know how they ever survived, but they did, and I still have some of them. Now I treat my plants better, thanks to GW.
    But the plant I first thought of when I noticed this topic is the Ferocactus wislizeni that was the first succulent I grew from seed--in fact, it was seed from my very first GW trade.
    I will never give that one away.

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My story is nearly identical to hablu..... same plant, same situation. It was back in High School Biology. That was back when my green thumb was bright green. Now just it's just a lot more of an olive drab color. But that doesn't seem to stop me.

    Rose

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My first was an Echeveria "Topsy Tury" that I got from my aunt maybe six years ago. I was so excited when it actually grew and started to put on all these babies - this is after having failed miserably in my efforts to grow "flowers" - at least according to my then boyfriend.

    I used to take off the tiny babies and nurture them till I had so many I ended up making a flower bed full of them. I am sorry to say though, that I am embarassed to post a photo of that Topsy Turvy bed, which is still there but much neglected since my later falling in love with the pokey plants. But I can show the edge of it (to the right of the photo below).

    {{gwi:486358}}

  • 18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    And a nice little collection of "pokey plants" you have at that! jadegarden.
    CP

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I just found this post and thought it was amazing!

    My fist experience of cacti was one my mother had in the house that I have no idea what it was called. It was globular, green, wide spaced ribs and it off-setted like mad from the bottom. Trying to 'help out' as a kid I used to pot up all pups I found. Which my mum duly threw out!!!! Something she still does today with aloe pups!

    This cactus I cared for did not end well. As I got older I became curious about the idea that people stuck in deserts could cut open a cactus and drink from it. Being a budding scientist I duly took a knife to this poor cactus which had been in my house since I could remember and sliced it up! Horrific I know, however I took the scientist thing seriously as that is what I went on to be - just finished a PhD, but not in botany or horticulture!!!!

    The first succulent I owned myself did not meet a good end either I am afraid. I was bought a Sempervivum Arachnoideum when I was a kid, which I then failed to water for about two years! I was under the impression that succulents did not need water! Needless to say it died a dried up red husk!

    You will be pleased to know that my torturing days are behind me and I care for my plants well now. Actually, coming full circle, today I was given a couple of Sempervivum Tectorum pups!

    Swiss

    PS please don't banish me!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nice to read it again. Hope some more will follow. Hablu

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