Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis I-Hsin Black Jack

Hey, so: I am still alive, but for various reasons haven't been able to post lately.

Or, technically, I suppose I'm able to post, in the sense that no one is physically preventing me from doing so, but I've found it difficult to post. That's probably going to continue for a while longer, as I try to process another large batch of recent photos, but I haven't forgotten about you or the blog, and semi-regular non-orchid posting will resume eventually.

Now then.


This is a very dark Phalaenopsis, but there's an even darker one coming up in February. I find myself surprisingly impressed with both. (Though while I was taking this photo, another show attendee was telling someone that they really preferred the white ones. Judging by what I see in the background while watching TV, everybody else prefers white too.1 I think this is clearly wrong, on the grounds that all white phals look exactly the same and are boring, but nobody listens to me.)

And yes, I see that the tag has this identified as a Doritaenopsis, but neither Doritaenopsis nor Doritis even still exist, officially, so I fixed it.

Phalaenopsis I-Hsin Black Jack = Phalaenopsis Golden Peoker x Phalaenopsis Leopard Prince (Ref.)

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1 Since about 2010 or so, white Phalaenopsis have been taking up more and more "TV houseplant" positions, to the point where it's currently like 80% white phals in the stuff we watch around here. A startlingly large chunk of the remaining 20% is Ficus lyrata, which seems to be having a sudden cultural revival for no good reason I can think of.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum Gina's Child

Paphiopedilum Gina's Child is, sort of literally, Gina's Child:

Paphiopedilum Gina's Child = Paphiopedilum Gina Short x Paphiopedilum rothschildianum (Ref.)


Though I have to think that if Gina actually loved her, she would have given her a name of her own, instead of just "Gina's Child."

Also: this is a crappy picture. I feel like it was probably a lot more winsome in person. My camera seems to do better with red-brown or otherwise dark Paphiopedilums than it does with yellow / light ones.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Anthurium no. 0580: "Marsha Marsha Marsha"

So let's just get it out of the way: the scale are back. I've seen scale on nine Anthurium seedlings in the last couple weeks.1 So far, the infestation is localized to a particular corner of the basement, but it's not as if the scale stay still, so that means probably no Anthurium-selling this year. Which is perhaps just as well, since I hadn't made any real progress on deciding which seedlings to sell. (If you feel like you really, really want an Anthurium and don't care whether it comes with scale or not, uh, I guess e-mail me or something.)

The cause in this particular case is that I have had a Gasteraloe x beguinii for many years, and it got infested by scale, but I thought maybe I could clean off and restart four offsets and have scale-free plants again. The restart attempt happened in November, and by March, it was clear that I had not, in fact, managed to get the scale off three of the four offsets. So out those went. One offset appeared clean, though, so I let it stay. A week ago, while I was shoving its flat back into place on the shelf, I happened to snag a leaf from the single remaining Gasteraloe on something, and it broke off and fell into the flat of Anthuriums below. I didn't know that's what had happened at the time, but even if I had known, I might not have worried about it, since I hadn't seen scale on that plant for a while. But, there were enough scale on the leaf that fell down that they managed to colonize several Anthuriums in a short period of time. And so now there's a new outbreak to deal with.

The moral of the story: some plants cannot be de-scaled, and attempting to de-scale them anyway only compounds the problem.2

Which brings us to Anthurium 0580 "Marsha Marsha Marsha." I liked her well enough when I saw her bloom that I up-potted her to a 6-inch pot, but the only available space for the new pot was the general area that's experiencing the outbreak, and the outbreak's extent wasn't known at the time, so now she, too, has scale. We had best not get too attached to Marsha.

But. The bloom is pretty nice, more or less interchangeable with that of 0120 "Eliza Boutisecksis." Marsha's only the second orange / orange bloom I've seen,3 and appears to be long-lived, a normal size, and decently shaped. So she's got that going for her.


The foliage is okay. Marsha and her clone (or sibling) 0581 "Adam All" did something odd simultaneously in March, where a few of the larger, newer leaves on both plants developed odd lighter-colored squiggles throughout them, almost overnight. Subsequent leaves haven't had that problem, but the discoloration appears to be permanent on the affected leaves. Ordinarily, I'd assume that that sort of color change indicated a nutrient deficiency (or maybe overdose?), but since it's only happening to two closely-related plants out of several hundred, and those two aren't getting anything the other 700 don't, I'm sort of at a loss to explain. It's at least sort of pretty.

0581 "Adam All."

0580 "Marsha Marsha Marsha."

0580 "Marsha Marsha Marsha." I suspect this is the same leaf as the above photo, photographed six days earlier.

The overall plant is pretty nice-looking, too, as the seedlings go. Still pretty compact, no thrips damage.


But when I went down to the basement to check on the discolored leaves, I still found several tiny little scale insects to rub off the leaves, and I'm sure I didn't get them all. You never get them all. So Marsha is probably, ultimately, doomed. I don't want her to be, I intend to try to get rid of the scale even if it involves throwing out a bunch of other seedlings (and it probably will), but in the end I think I will probably fail, and Marsha will end up in the garbage. I don't feel particularly depressed by this: it's closer to a sort of weary numbness. I'm not sure if that's better or worse than being depressed.

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1 0173 "Judith Priest," 0209 "Muffy Stopheles," 0219 "Rhoda Horse," 0223 "Patty Cake," 0235 "Rowan DeBoate," 0267 "Natalie Attired," 0330 "Faye Quinette," 0577 "Pandora Boxx," and 0580 "Marsha Marsha Marsha." Judith, Rhoda, and Pandora had bad enough cases that I decided to throw them out rather than try to clean up the plants; it's probable that I should have done that with the other six, but it was hard enough getting rid of the three. Rhoda had never bloomed before, and had a bud, and I still threw her in the trash.
2 Which plants? I have found that there's no point in even trying to salvage Agave, Aloe, Alworthia, Asparagus, Ficus, Furcraea, Gasteraloe, Gasterworthia, Hoya, Manfreda, Neoregelia, and Pereskia, because no matter what you do or how thoroughly you do it, they'll always come back, and in the process of trying, you'll often get yourself stabbed with spines, soaked with neem oil, or otherwise frustrated.
It's also pointless to try to rid Alpinia, Ardisia, Cyrtomium, Nematanthus, Podocarpus, Schefflera, and Zingiber of scale, but the experience is somewhat less horrible.
Occasionally, it actually is possible to eliminate scale from Albuca, Anthurium, Begonia, Coffea, Epipremnum, Hatiora, Haworthia, Hippeastrum, Murraya, Philodendron, Phlebodium, Strelitzia, Syngonium, and Yucca, though in many of those cases the solution is to cut the plant back to the ground and/or remove all foliage, and let it start over again, which is a drastic enough solution that it's not always going to be worth it.
Also it should be kept in mind that this only applies to the particular species of scale I'm dealing with, and in my particular home environment: I won't guarantee anything when it comes to other kinds of scale and other living conditions.
3 Maybe the third, if 0118 "Elijah Sturdabowtit" counts as orange / orange. Elijah is definitely orange / orange when the spathe first opens, but he changes to pink / pink so quickly that it's tough to put him in either category.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pretty picture: Miltoniopsis Hajime Ono

Not much to say, and little time or energy with which to say it, so:

This is a nice enough flower and plant, but I'm getting a little sick of only ever seeing red, dark red, or pinkish-red Miltoniopsis. It's not that it's not a nice color, it's just that I know there are other colors out there, and I wish I could see them occasionally.



Miltoniopsis Hajime Ono = Miltoniopsis Martin Orenstein x Miltoniopsis Pearl Ono (Ref.)


Friday, May 8, 2015

Anthuriums no. 0171, 0205, 0236, 0560

Well, it's been a busy week, folks. Between beginning to send Schlumbergera seedling cuttings out, trying to keep the weeds out of the garden beds (pending the annual planting of the Cannas), and finding out the husband and I are being sued (by both God and Jesus, even!),1 it's just one thing after another around here. I've also been scurrying frantically trying to keep up with which of the Anthuriums have new buds, which ones dropped buds, which ones haven't dropped buds yet but look like they're going to, which ones have actually opened blooms, which ones that have opened blooms have been blogged previously, and so forth, I'm a bit lost.2

Almost all of the first-time Anthurium blooms lately have been red / yellow or red / white;3 none of the blooms are especially interesting, though they at least vary a little in shape.

Seedling no. 0171 "Genevieve la Difference"

Genevieve was one of the seedlings that dropped buds last summer after the white oil treatment. The bloom wasn't worth the wait, alas: it's the smallest of the group, plus it's mildly damaged by thrips or drought or something.



Seedling no. 0205 "Venus D-Lite"

Venus, on the other hand, has some potential. She's small too, but not as small as Genevieve, and the shape is a lot better. The spadix is weird (disproportionately small, plus I don't know what's going on at the tip there), but at least there's no obvious thrips damage, which is the main thing I care about lately.



Seedling no. 0236 "Roxanne DeBree"

Roxanne is probably the best of the group. Only slightly smaller than Venus, and the shape is more or less "normal." No marks from thrips, either.



Seedling no. 0560 "Jill O'Schottz"

Jill's okay. A little damage toward the bottom of the spathe on the right side, there, and she's a little smaller than Venus and Roxanne, but whatever. She's fine.



None of the leaves are remarkable, for good or bad. Going in the same order as above:

(Genevieve)

(Venus)

(Roxanne)

(Jill)

None of the leaves seem to be especially bothered by thrips, either. Jill has a problem with burnt leaf tips, as we will see, which is an unusual problem for my Anthuriums to have, and I'm not sure how to explain it.

The photos of the entire plants4 illustrate one other problem some of the seedlings have, which is that of internodal distance (= the distance between leaves, on the main stem). Genevieve has a short internodal distance, and so all her leaves appear to come from more or less the same point, giving a nice, compact-looking plant that stands more or less upright and doesn't get all tangled up in neighboring plants. I mean, Genevieve has other problems, but she does this part well.


The remaining three plants, though, are faster-growing and have a longer internodal distance, which means that over time, they start to look a little viney. That's fine in some contexts, but it doesn't look good on these: they're always flopping over and tangling and the stem gets curved from lying in one position too long, and it's just a pain to deal with. You can cut long Anthurium stems back, and if you leave a few leaves on the stem, they'll sprout new growing tips (sometimes you can even root the tops in water, though that's hit or miss), so it's not like there aren't ways to deal with the problem, but it's not something I like in my plants, and I don't do the cutting-back thing, in general. It takes so long for them to bloom in the first place, I don't want to force them to start all over again, slowly rebuilding until they're capable of blooming again. Plus it's not like I need to be starting new cuttings. Too many Anthuriums as it is.

(Venus)

(Roxanne)

(Jill)

You can also see the burnt-tips problem on two of Jill's leaves, in that last picture.

So I'd say none of the four are winners, though none of them are terrible. Better red/white or red/yellow than pink/pink, at least.


UPDATE: The suit has been thrown out. (Apparently the federal court system is not the proper place to determine whether something is sinful or not, and also one cannot sue millions of defendants merely by identifying an attribute they all share: one needs to go to the trouble of naming them. Good to know.)

Obviously this is sort of a relief, because it's impossible for me to find a plant-sitter. But it's also a disappointment, because one only gets just so many excuses to go to Omaha in a lifetime, and here I've just had one snatched out from under me.5

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1 Not really, obviously, as God and/or Jesus have not yet verified for the court that Ms. Driskell does in fact represent them. Though once that happens, obviously, we're gonna have to pick out something nice to wear and start calling hotels in Omaha, 'cause I bet they're going to fill up super-quick.
2 Worse: I spotted scale on one of them (0267 "Natalie Attired") when I was flipping through photos on Wednesday. The news could have been worse -- the scale in question was small, looked like it might (might) also have been dead already, and wasn't on a plant I especially cared about, but obviously there's no perspective that makes this good news. I tried to determine whether the scale was also on any neighboring plants, with inconclusive results.
I haven't thrown Natalie out because she's in bud, and I'd like to see the flower before I decide what to do with her. Though I probably should: all indications are that she's going to be another pink/pink, and I certainly don't need another one of those. It's hard to work up the energy to do anything much about this particular problem, though, considering how long I've been dealing with the scale already and how many plans have failed to make it go away.
3 I plan to give the one non-red, 0580 "Marsha Marsha Marsha," its own post at some point in the near future.
4 (Because, yes, I was listening when the whole-plant photos were requested; it just takes time for that sort of request to work through my whole photo-processing-and-blogging system.)
5 For the record: nothing against Omaha. It's not actually someplace I dream about visiting someday, but that's not singling Omaha out for any special disdain: the list of places I think about visiting someday is very small. (1. Russia, because I once spoke poorly-accented broken Russian and can still read isolated words occasionally, plus I like the cold, though I have all but given up on that ever happening because they're not, like, super happy about the gays lately; 2. Sweden, because I have distant relatives and one friend there and I like the cold; 3. Denmark, because we're currently watching Rita on Netflix and I am pretending that the whole country is full of gay-friendly blondes with high cheekbones, nice furniture, and no problems any worse than teachers who just care too damn much about their students, plus now I can say "good morning" and "thank you" in Danish so I feel pretty prepared -- and I like the cold; and 4. Canada, because, well, there's the cold, and that's where we keep all the Canadians, plus I can say "good morning" and "thank you" in Canadian, too. But it's not like I believe I'm actually going to go any of those places ever; they just seem like places that would be more pleasant to go than some of the other options.) Omaha would be fine, though obviously I'd want to go in January.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pretty picture: Sarcochilus Louise Elmore 'Elsa' x Melba

I'm willing to believe that this was a well-grown specimen, but I still wasn't particularly impressed.


It's the first time I've had a Sarcochilus on the blog, so it's got that going for it, I guess. There are some additional photos of the cross (though not the same specimen) in a thread at orchidboard.com. One of the commenters there says that he finds Sarcochilus difficult to grow, though I have no idea if that's a typical experience.

The orchid registry has a Tolumnia Louise Elmore, but no Sarcochilus Louise Elmore, so I can't tell you where that cross comes from. Sarcochilus Melba, on the other hand, is Sarcochilus hartmannii x Sarcochilus falcatus (Ref.)


Monday, May 4, 2015

Schlumbergera seedling no. 113

I'd say that number 113A is going to be the last new Schlumbergera bloom until October, but I've thought that two or three times before and then been proven wrong, so we'll just say that 113A is the last one from this particular run of Schlumbergera posts.


The color is fine, maybe even a little stronger than many of the recent first-time blooms,1 though the shape leaves a lot to be desired -- it looked normal as it was opening, but the petals didn't stop reflexing when they reached the normal petal-reflex point. Instead, they kept reflexing harder and harder until I wound up with this:


Now, that's an exceptionally unflattering photo. It didn't look nearly that bad in person, from most angles. But even the more complimentary shots from that day were pretty extreme --


-- so I'm going to declare this another "dog" Schlumbergera like 008A "Frightened Dog," 060 "Wet Dog," and 084A "Downward-Facing Dog."


Fortunately, I had already spent some time looking on-line for dog-related names, so without agonizing over it at all, I'm going to call number 113A "Helper Dog," in honor of Allie Brosh and Hyperbole and a Half. (Relevant comic.) Which means, obviously, that the next "dog" bloom is going to have to be named "Simple Dog," and I'm all right with that.


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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Schlumbergera seedling no. 035

Seedling 035 is pretty close to the average result for my Schlumbergera seedlings: orange tips, light to medium pink tube, you know the drill. There are more impressive seedlings with this same basic coloration, but 035 is, you know, fine.


There were a ridiculous number of possible names for this one. I usually keep looking until something in my brain tells me I've got enough good possibilities to choose among, and for this one I never got that signal. Instead, I kept looking and kept looking, and when I stopped, it was because I was sick of it. So I won't list all the rejected names, just the ones that could be right for some seedling someday, but not this particular seedling.


Wealthy Street sounds like someone in the grip of a vocabulary malfunction trying to say "easy street." I love vocabulary malfunctions like that,1 because if you hear the right error, it throws the idea into a whole different light. As an example, one of my two favorite moments from the current season of RuPaul's Drag Race so far was Puerto-Rican queen Kandy Ho on her way out the door following her episode-six loss: "It's a bittersweet moment, I'm not gonna lie. I would have wanted to stay longer, but I'm gonna go to Puerto Rico and rub it against other queens' faces, because I was here and you weren't." [emphasis mine]2

Pōwhiri is a Māori welcoming ceremony. It sounded like a nice name, potentially, but the pronunciation is tricky (even within New Zealand, there are apparently several ways to pronounce it), and I figured I probably also didn't understand what it was well enough to use it.

Ferris Wheel photos kept showing up (another one). There's nothing particularly ferris-wheel-like about the bloom, but I considered it anyway.

Ganesh came up again. I remain somewhat unnerved by elephants, though. Clearly I'm going to have to name one of them Ganesh sooner or later, but not this one.


I eventually whittled the list down to three possibilities. Lawyer Shark makes sense to me in a weird way. (We already have thresher sharks, angel sharks, goblin sharks, and nurse sharks -- why not a lawyer shark?)

Patito (Spanish for "duckling") could have been the winner, except that "pato" (duck) is also an anti-gay slur in some of the Spanish-speaking world,3 and after searching the internet for a while, I couldn't figure out quite how bad it was, or how much the slur meaning colored the mundane meaning, or whether "patito" necessarily had the same connotation, so as a name, it has some problems. I don't have a problem saying something weird or vulgar with the seedling names, but I do like to at least have a clear idea what weird or vulgar thing I'm saying.


And then "Habanero Candy." Not really excited about the name, but I did at least learn a couple things: 1) there's no ñ in "habanero, and 2) inserting stuff like ñ's into foreign words to make them sound even more foreign is a thing, called a "hyperforeignism."

So, "Lawyer Shark," "Patito," or "Habanero Candy."

Originally, I was feeling drawn toward "Patito," but concerns about homophobia and upsetting Spanish-speaking gays led me to eliminate it, and I went with "Habanero Candy." Except that that didn't sit well with me over time as I thought about it, so I looked again and was considering "Lawyer Shark." Though that seemed a little too edgy, or . . . something. So I did some searching on-line for "patito," and got the impression that it probably doesn't have the same connotations as "pato." I mean, among other things, there was a Disney-esque Mexican teen telenovela with a (female) character called "Patito" for about a year, which you'd think wouldn't have happened if "Patito" had the same slur potential as "pato." And most of the other references that came up in a search4 are related to the story of the ugly duckling (El Patito Feo), so it seems safe enough. And it's what I wanted in the first place. So: "Patito."

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1 Though I'm easily driven mad by eggcorns, especially "for all intensive purposes," though if you want to upset me almost any of them will do. "It's a doggy-dog world," "baited breath," "poured over the pages of the book," "listen to your conscious," and "peaked curiosity" are also all super-distracting. I think the deal is, if I hear it once, it's interesting and kind of funny; if I hear it over and over, it makes me want to smash things.
2 The other of my favorite moments from the season is the reveal of Katya's "Baberaham Lincoln" outfit in the third episode, which isn't on-topic at all, but you should still see it. And if you're not at work or easily offended, there's a video.
3 I know, right? I mean, obviously what hurts about a slur is the tone and intent behind its use, not the literal meaning, but I can think of much, much gayer-seeming birds. I mean, flamingos, hello? Yet apparently mallards, at least, are pretty damn gay. Who knew?
4 (a search undertaken through DuckDuckGo, appropriately enough)