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Illustro

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About Illustro

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    Wonderlander

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    Zone 10b
  1. Illustro

    Babaco 'Champagne Fruit'

    I got a tree but I've never really gotten into it, too sloppy for my liking. Looks pretty cool in the garden though. They hate wind and the fruit need to be thinned so the plant doesn't collapse under its own weight, I suspect the ancestors of these plants evolved from herbaceous weeds not so long ago...complete lack of lignified wood it seems....probably great for biofuel/methanol production though.
  2. Illustro

    Hass avocado from seed

    I can speak from personal experience that wildling fruit tends to be pretty shitty...full of grey/brown fibres.
  3. Illustro

    Most amazing cacti specimen

    I used to have a mature specimen almost identical to that, I think it was a hybrid between long-spined bridgesii I had (14-18cm spines) and peruvianus if I remember right. Pretty cool, but was ridiculously dangerous, it was the one cactus I was truly fearful of being around - the spines were like lances, designed to kill.
  4. Illustro

    Glow in the dark Echinocactus grusonii "Glowing wonder"

    They also sell technicolour cacti, so unless they're master alchemists and genetic engineers, I highly doubt these tasteless basterds have done anything more than went down to their local depot store and bought some poor succulents along with some gimmicky aerosol paint and had their perverted ways. Ew, just ew.. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=577610035717577&set=pcb.577611559050758&type=1&theater
  5. I can attest to the benefits of this methodology. After only six months in a carefully crafted 100% mineral mix (+ slow release ferts) my cacti have doubled to tripled in size while still retaining a natural squat appearance with roots vastly happier-looking than any I've ever seen.
  6. Dude, I would be very cautious with using that with cacti as fine particulates such as powders, especially relatively dense powders, have the tendency to migrate down the soil profile and collect down the bottom of the pot. Imagine pouring sand in a box full of tennis balls, the vast majority of the sand will inevitably end up at the bottom, especially if left in the rain. When dealing with fine materials such as sand and dust this is incredibly dangerous for plants. Due to the size of the particles they practically inhibit gas-exchange in the soil, which not only suffocates roots but also promotes mould and bacteria. This is exacerbated by the fact that the smaller something is, the proportionally greater surface area it has relative to mass, meaning the greater surface tension it has, making the substance adsorp or hold water much more readily than something the same weight but larger grained. Fine dust can take literally weeks to dry out in full sun versus a few hours for coarse sand, if this is at the bottom of your pot it is not at all good. It will form something like a 'densipan', drastically inhibiting drainage and invariably spelling death to your cacti. If you are to use it, I would only add it as a fraction of a percent to the mix. If you want mineral nutrition for your cacti, try finding some soft volcanic rock like andesite, ignimbrite, cemented ash, they retain their rocky form while quickly weathering to release a wide spectrum of elements.
  7. Illustro

    BE AWARE: - Kakusy.cz

    You gotta appreciate that they don't run on the tpyical business model of orderable stock actually existing, I would rather call them a plant & seed networker / sourcer rather than a retailer. Through their networks they have an absolutely mind-blowing 'potential' inventory that no rival comes anywhere near to matching. I used them simply because they had species, forms, and localities that I could not find anywhere else. If you want rare / hard to get seeds then they'll do their best to get them for you. If your priority is just getting some token-ass species/forms/localities quickly, then you're much better off with the retailers.
  8. Illustro

    BE AWARE: - Kakusy.cz

    I've ordered from Kaktusy, but they sent the payment instructions with the seeds - it took about 6 months to get the seed though, and only about half the species I requested were in it. Apparently it takes awhile as they source the seed from a seed network of sorts, not sure how true this is. Apparently Czechs are notorious for selling wild-harvested plants and seeds too, not sure how true this is either. Just be patient, sit back and pop open a Budvar, the order will arrive. Na zdravi.
  9. Illustro

    Acacia Fruit?

    How bizarre.. No idea. Dissect! I have come across some kind of broom with round-ish semi-fleshy orange fruit, but on closer inspection their legume traits were apparent.
  10. Illustro

    Cheap/simple greenhouse ideas?

    I made a sizeable glasshouse (6m x 2.5m x 3.5m) almost entirely from recycled windows and wood. Only cost about 1.1g and is ridiculously strong, has withstood several cyclones and major storms completely unscathed. Plus it has a totally awesome rustic ambiance and woody glow. No skills or experience...or research. I just did it. It was actually super fun and rewarding to build, very glad I didn't just buy some crappy kit set, plus it seems everyone who has had one of those has had major/fatal problems with them in the wind.
  11. Illustro

    Advice for growing cacti in the wet tropics

    In the wet subtropics/warm temperate of my clime, I manage to grow all sorts (Mammillaria, Rebutia etc) completely exposed outdoors. I just made a mix of about 60-70% coarse sand & pumice, then made a cone of mix (like a volcano) in the pots around the roots (empty space filled in with limestone gravel) as to ensure as little moisture was retained around the roots as possible. Three years and no problems at all. For the more sensitive species, I made a glasshouse/'rain shelter', designed simply to keep rain out and allow heaps of air movement (huge amount of venting) -- the babies love it.
  12. Illustro

    Where do I get my soil from?

    If you want good soil, you gotta do the hard work! Most mixes totally suck and need lots of intervention (pesticides). I want a pesticide-free soil that looks-after itself, so I went with nutrient-packed inorganic (mineral) soils, but it took about 30 hours to make about 200 L of mix! I spent hours crushing bricks, limestone, and andesite etc with a hammer and paver, then sieved it all to a consistent grade of between 6 and 2 mm (to avoid it stratifying/settling out). Luckily, I am also surrounded by a soil which seems very similar to akadama, it is a naturally granular volcanic clay which is exceptionally fertile, it retains a gravel form, but has porosity similar to pumice, and fertility surpassing loess. And it looks super pretty unlike akadama (full of yellows, blues, pinks, whites, greys, blacks). I use that at around 60%. Even during winter this mix is fully drained in a matter of seconds/minutes, but holds a very small amount of moisture which it releases slowly over several weeks. Results so far are simply outstanding. Everything is exploding in growth and is flowering like a meadow, I've never seen my cacti flower even a fraction as much.
  13. Illustro

    Rooting SD

    A glass of water works good, they root like mad. Even easier, just let the plant grow in the ground for a year and you'll have more self-rooted branches than you know what to do with. I made the mistake of planting a 20cm SD cutting in my garden last summer, 1.5 years later it had self-layered into a thicket covering an area about 5m x 4m with hundreds of stems, many over 7ft, each covered in root nodules just waiting to fall over and spread ever further. Pesky bugger.
  14. Illustro

    R.I.P. Robin Williams

    That guy who did the video was painfully dumb, but may have a point. Don't wanna trivialise Robin's death or use it as a launching pad for agendas, but the the divorce system is completely fucked up in the west, don't doubt for a second that his divorces and their baggage contributed toward his suicide. We are nurturing a sick system here people. Check this out: ..sucks it has to be this way, but I'm making damn sure all my major assets are in trusts.
  15. Here's some graphed data from a study by Hong et al. 2011, E. equisetina seems to trump all.
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