A Handy Little Tool For The Succulent Gardener
Cheap, simple, replaceable, and useful: not all garden tools are so. Storage is often an issue, as is real usefulness: the home chipper-shredder comes to mind. The idea of a chipper-shredder is wonderful. Grinding everything into little bits that will quickly compost is a dream for every gardener. The reality doesn't quite meet expectations. They are large, hard to use, potentially dangerous. The most useful ones are expensive, while the not so useful ones are expensive, too. If you happen to want to chip the exact material that the chipper is good at (straight stems with no side branches, not too large in diameter) they then are a wonderful thing. Otherwise, no.
But sometimes there is a tool that is all you hope it to be. A perfect tool for removing the water from the center of little succulents, or dislodging bits of pumice or stray bits of leaf from those tiny crevices between leaves, is the ordinary drinking straw, available for free at any fast food establishment.
As Bacall said to Bogart in "To Have And Have Not", you just put your lips together, and blow.
I spent a moment blowing the rain water and bits of dirt out of a hybrid Echeveria this morning. I rescued it from the Death Rack at Lowe's for a couple of bucks last summer. No wonder: when I bought it, the foliage was a gruesome shade of reddish gray. It looked like old raw meat, the stuff you'd hesitate giving to the dog. But cool nights and bright winter sun, and now the gray has transformed to coral, and it's lovely.
Echeveria colors can change significantly in response to the weather. Know thy Genus. That's a handy thing, too.