Thursday, July 31, 2014

Anthurium News

The scale is back. (On #280 "Jujubee" in the photo,1 though I've seen them on #076 "Bob Humbug" as well.)

The thrips never left. (#243 "Sal Monella" in the photo, but I could pick any plant that's blooming and have at least a 50-50 chance of finding thrips on it.)

I despair. Having tried imidacloprid granules, zero-tolerance for infested plants, irregular and incomplete rubbing alcohol sprays, and hand-squishing, we're moving on to "white oil."2 The optimist in me notes that at least white oil has the potential to get rid of both scale and thrips at once.3

Should white oil fail to do the job, I . . . I don't know. I don't know what to do.


[somber pause]


There's also some bad news about two of the Anthuriums I said in the last post might have blooms: both #265 "Madame LaQueer" and #040 "Ivy Winters" have aborted their blooms. Ivy has already started work on a new bud, which is surprising.4

But the news is not entirely bad. #203 "Anna Mae Hemensouz" has finally opened its bud, and --

I mean, yes, it's very much like #005 "Chad Michaels," but I like Chad a lot, so that's fine with me. As it did with Chad, my camera understates how dark the spathe is. The plant as a whole is actually pretty nice, though I don't have any photos that show that very well.

#218 "Noah Fence" makes his debut today too:

I was not expecting the purple spadix, so I guess that's something to be pleased about. This probably also means that Noah is 'White Gemini' x NOID purple. That NOID purple sure got around.

You've already seen it, but in the last post, #179 "Katie Boundary" hadn't fully opened when I took the photo. So this is more what she really looks like:

'Peppermint Gemini'5 has produced a new bloom, after a very long wait:

This has me sort of excited, because speckling in spathes is, according to the book, an incompletely dominant trait, so if I can get it crossed successfully with something else, I should be able to get some speckled seedlings eventually.6 Really, I'd be pretty happy if I could just get some seedlings from seed parents other than 'Gemini' and 'White Gemini.' As divided up by seed parent:

'Pandola' and the NOID red are probably much better represented on the pollen-parent side of things, but several of my stock plants appear to have made no contribution at all to the seedling-genetics situation.7 Which I suppose makes it all the more impressive that I've gotten the sort of color range out of the seedlings that I have.

You may also notice from that pie chart that the second generation is officially upon us now. Eight of the seedlings have #276 "Zach Religious" as a seed parent. They aren't yet old enough to be doing anything interesting, and won't be for some time, but they exist, and seem content not to die, which is all I ask for at the moment.

Left column, top to bottom: #636 "Lourdes Prayer," #637 "Abby Damned,"
#638 "Rosetta Stoned," #639 "Vicky Tacky."
Right column, top to bottom: #640 "Penny Tration," #641 "Ciara Mist,"
#642 "Bianca Donk," #643 "Fauxnique."8

Seeds from #271 "Wanda Reulthemal" and #234 "Ross Koz" have also been sown, though none of those are big enough to pot up yet, and it's beginning to look like there may be something wrong with the one seed of Ross's so I'm not getting my hopes up. (He has others. It'll be fine.) Another four plants9 are very close to having mature berries, so there will probably be some seedlings from those potted up too, by maybe December.


1 There are three scale insects visible in the photo. Can you find all three?
2 Vegetable oil, dishwashing liquid, and water, mixed together. The recipe I intend to follow calls for a 4:1 mix of oil and dishwashing liquid, mixed up, and then diluted to 4 Tbsp of that mix in a gallon of water. Which doesn't seem like it could possibly be enough oil to accomplish anything, but that's the recipe I found, so that's what I intend to try.
3 (The pessimist in me just keeps calling the optimist an idiot until he cries.)
4 According to the Anthurium-breeding book, blooms emerge from the leaf axils. If a bud aborts, then, you usually have to wait for the plant to produce a new leaf, a process which takes about a month, before you can see the next one. For the most part, this matches my observations, but Ivy and a few other seedlings seem to have found a loophole, possibly by switching to the axil for an older leaf, being faster to construct leaves than I anticipated, or producing a leaf while I was distracted by something else.
5 Technically, I don't know for sure that this is 'Peppermint Gemini,' as it wasn't tagged when I bought it, but it did say it was produced by Twyford, and it's the only speckled white/red/pink variety of theirs that I know about, so it seems safe to assume, at least provisionally.
6 There are already 13 seedlings with 'Peppermint Gemini' as the seed parent, three from 21 September 2013, and ten from 19 February 2014. So it's going to be a while before I find out whether speckling acts like the book says it does. And even if it does act like the book says, the book also says that when crossing a speckled plant with a non-speckled plant, even if the offspring are speckled, the speckles are usually coarser and less evenly-distributed than in the parent. There has to be some environmental component there, though, because the first bloom I saw on this plant had color a lot more broken up than this; see this post.
7 Specifically, there's been no confirmed contribution from 'Florida,' 'Midori,' 'Red Hot,' 'Joli,' or the NOID red-purple which may be 'Krypton.' ('Krypton' itself has gotten involved, though.) The last three of those have either killed off the developing berries before they matured, or haven't rebloomed for me yet. I've tried to pollinate 'Midori' and 'Florida,' and the spadices of both have changed, but there's no definite sign that either one intends to produce berries.
8 The only names I might take credit for are "Lourdes Prayer" and "Vicky Tacky," which I'm pretty sure I came up with. ("Lourdes Prayer" is not that great, but I'm pleased with Vicky.) All the others came from somewhere on-line. I linked the names I know to belong to actual drag queens; the others may or may not refer to anyone real. It's not like there's an official registry somewhere. Though the site that "Ciara Mist" links to seems to be trying pretty hard to be an official drag registration site.
9 (#005 "Chad Michaels," #059 "Bijoux Tuit," #239 "Russ Teanale," and #247 "Selma Carr")

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pretty picture: Maxillaria tenuifolia

Every year, I think okay, this is the year when I will pay attention to the smells and try to record which flowers have them and which ones don't, and every year, I manage to remember one or two of them, because by the time I'm at the show and remember that I was going to try to keep track of that, I realize that I don't actually have a way of recording that so that I'll remember it, and then there's still the drive back home, and sometimes a trip to Home Depot, and then the uploading of the photos, by which point I've forgotten most of what I'd managed to try to keep in mind about the whole olfactory experience.

Maxillaria tenuifolia got remembered this year because we've seen it before (previously: 2012), and readers left smell-related comments then, so when I saw it again, it was like oh, right, this is supposed to smell like coconut or something. Which I guess it kind of did, but it wasn't as close to coconut as I had imagined it might be. It's possible that some of that is explainable by interference from other scented things -- the venue itself is a garden center, and smells like one, and then there are multiple fragrant orchids around, plus lots of people who may or may not have their own odors, and the aroma situation inevitably winds up in an awfully complicated place.

In any case, definitely scented. And weird-looking besides, both the plant and the flower. (It may help to view the full-sized image.) Seems nice enough. I'm not hinting for someone to send me one, and getting one's not high on my list of priorities, but if I someday wind up in a situation where I come across an available M. tenuifolia, you know, maybe I'll take it.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pretty picture: Canna NOID

It doesn't feel like it could possibly be Canna-blooming season again, and yet here we are.

Which means we must also be getting close to the Annual Sighting Of The Hummingbird as well. We planted Salvia elegans at the far edge of the property this year for the hummingbirds too, but we were expecting the field behind the house to be planted in soybeans this year (last year was corn; they've alternated in the past) and instead got corn again, which means that the pineapple sage is getting shaded out. Or at least I assume that's the reason why it's been staying so short. Goodness knows we've gotten enough rain. (Officially no longer in a drought as of a few weeks ago!)

This picture's from July 9, but they look about the same now, except that one of them has shattered and died. (It looked like something heavy fell squarely on the center of the plant.) I am choosing to believe that this was a case of Sheba running over it while chasing a tennis ball, instead of a mowing accident, which I can do because I didn't see it happen and can consequently explain it to myself in whatever way causes me the least upset. Though the mowing thing is more likely.

I have decided as of this year that it doesn't really make sense for me to try to overwinter the Salvia elegans indoors anymore, and I'm going to stop trying. It's not that it's hard exactly; the problem is more that the cuttings outgrow their containers so quickly that I wind up having to take three or four rounds of cuttings in the course of a winter. Which is nice, in that I start with one plant and wind up with twenty-five, but they also always get spider mites in early/mid spring, regardless of where I have them in the house, which means a few weeks of worry about that, plus all the time it takes to keep them watered, pruned, and propagating. I could just spend $4 at the garden center in February, propagate off that for a few weeks, and wind up in more or less the same situation by May, just without all the work. So that's what I'm going to try next year.

Oh. Reading back over this, I realize I just kind of jumped topics without explanation. I went from hummingbirds to pineapple sage because the hummingbirds also like pineapple sage. Though my pineapple sage plants are going to have to grow quite a lot before September if they expect to be hummingbird-worthy. The hummingbirds have standards.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Random plant event: Hoya

A very long time ago (September 2007), I cut back some Hoya carnosa plants at work. I think the reason was that some of the vines had reverted to solid green,1 though I cut the Hoyas back from time to time regardless if they didn't sell pretty quickly, because they got tangled and unmanageable if I didn't. Anyway.

It rooted well, and has even grown nicely for me in the seven years since, turning into this monster as of July 2011:

And, obviously, it's grown even more since 2011. But it wouldn't bloom. It has thought about it a couple times, most recently last year, but it never bothered to finish the job. So it was sort of exciting to see this, finally:

I expected there to be a lot of nectar dripping on things, but so far that hasn't been a problem. I also haven't been able to detect much of a scent from it, which is surprising; that's one of the things that everybody talks -- and sometimes complains -- about with Hoyas in general, and H. carnosa in particular.2

In any case, 2014 is apparently the year in which all the plants everybody says are easy bloomers, but which have never actually rebloomed for me, go ahead and bloom for me. (Previously: Phalaenopsis.) In which case maybe I should be getting ready for some Begonia blooms.3


1 The plant in question originally had green leaves with white to yellow centers, like this:

I'm not sure what the variety name was, but I've seen similar things sold as 'Exotica' and 'Krimson Princess,' so maybe it's one of those. In any case, variegated Hoyas are prone to revert to solid green, and like with most plants that do that, the solid green shoots tend to be more vigorous. So if you find the variegation attractive, you need to remove the unvariegated parts when they appear, lest they take over.
2 Though there is a substantial variation in scent production over the course of a day. I could practically set our clocks by the H. lacunosa in my office, which starts producing substantial fragrance every day between about 9 and 9:30 PM. Some Hoyas allegedly don't get going until about midnight. The trouble is that I can't smell much of anything from this plant between 9 PM and midnight either.
3 I will not actually see Begonia blooms. At least not this year. The reason why I don't get them is because I don't have enough light to offer the plants, which is probably also why it's taken so long to get flowers on the Hoya. The Phalaenopsis was probably more of a temperature problem, though inadequate light could have been an issue as well.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pretty picture: Vanda Doi Inthanon

I know, I know. Mr. Subjunctive, what happened? You were doing so well there for a while, a post every single day for like ten days in a row, and then suddenly you fall off the face of the Earth!

Yes. Well. Some of the deal is that now I'm stuck waiting for new things to happen, having blogged about most of the bloggable things. I also discovered a sale on Sims 3 expansion packs on Origin, so now I'm back playing the Sims again. And there's a grocery store in Mount Pleasant that puts the Ball potting mix that I like on clearance late in the summer, so we made a special trip there so I could buy what will hopefully be enough potting soil to satisfy my needs until about July 2016. (I spent $94; the same thing at the ex-job would have cost me $203. So it was worth making a special trip.)

So, you know. Stuff happens. Sometimes that stuff is blogging, and sometimes it's not. In any case, I'm fine, there will be blog posts again someday, and in the meantime we have an orchid.

Tracking down the ancestry information on this one was a hassle. The actual plant's tag read "Doi Inanthond," and identified this as an Ascocenda. Google sent me through multiple combinations of letters (Inanthon, Inanthond, Inthanon, etc.) before I finally figured out that it was named for a mountain in Thailand, which led to confirmation from the orchid registry, who told me that it's not even an Ascocenda at the moment, technically, but a Vanda. So there was like one correct word on the tag out of three.

In fact, I should probably just let tracking down the Doi Inthanon stuff be my excuse for not posting more.

Anyway. So the ancestry, then, is:

Vanda Doi Inthanon = Vanda Thonglor (1974) x Vanda Yip Sum Wah (Ref.)

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Latest Anthurium News

You have probably not been wondering what's new with the Anthurium seedlings, but I'm going to tell you anyway, because I just got through sorting a new round of photos, and there have been some new blooms and so forth.

One thing that has happened is that we've said goodbye to #026 "Peaches Christ," who is now living in Texas. I'm still not selling the seedlings exactly,1 but that was a special case. The name "Peaches Christ" has now been put back into the list,2 and the next time its turn comes around, the seedling will be called "Peaches Christ II" or something like that.

Anyway. There's a first bloom for #002 "Alexis Mateo:"

Unfortunately, the spathe was all janked up when it opened; I'm hoping that's just because it's the first bloom.

I have a pretty solid-seeming theory for her ancestry now: I knew the seed parent was 'Gemini,' and I now think the pollen parent is my NOID red. My evidence:

Left column is #002 "Alexis Mateo;" right column is the NOID red. Both have brown new leaves with green veining, and dark red buds which open to plain red spathes and green spadices. Plus I'm pretty sure I remember using the NOID red as a pollen parent early in this whole process.

Which means that there's a pretty good chance that the several other seedlings begun at the same time from the same seed parent, many of which also produce dark brown new leaves with green veining, are probably also 'Gemini' x NOID red. There were originally 29 seedlings in that group, about 2/3 of whom are no longer with us (most of whom departed due to drought or the great scale purge of 2012). They don't necessarily all have the same pollen parent just because the seeds all got sown at the same time, but at least two seedlings from that batch are producing brown new leaves (#007 "Coco Peru"3 and #017 "Lady Chablis"), so it seems fairly plausible that those, at least, have the same parents, and will probably bloom red or dark red when and if they ever get around to blooming.

A few other seedlings have produced first blooms, though they're not all interesting. #034 "Alaska Thunderfuck"4 is a disappointingly normal red/yellow:

#041 "Anna Graham" is weirder (sort of a light pink/peach with matching spadix), but also tiny (the spathe is only an inch / 2.5 cm tall, which is about 40% of normal size) and not very interesting for breeding purposes:

After a ridiculously long wait, and at least one aborted bud, we've finally gotten a bloom from #120 "Eliza Boutiseckis." I don't have a lot of orange-orange blooms, so this is maybe interesting even if it's not amazing. I'll be excited if it stays orange; its probable full sibling, #118 "Elijah Sturdabowtit," starts out very orange but then gets lighter and pinker very quickly. You can see it's already got some slight tendencies toward pink:

The one I'm most excited about lately is #144 "Graham Reaper:"

It's not that Graham is that amazing in the photos, but the red/pink-lavender combination was really pretty in person, especially right after it opened.

#179 "Katie Boundary" (explanation for the name) has a name that pleases me, but the actual bloom is just another red/yellow:

#213 "Nadya Falt" is very similar to #144 "Graham Reaper," though a bit less impressive:

#214 "Anita Knapp" had a weird lavender tinge to it when it first opened, but it's more of a plain light pink now. Its spadix is disproportionately tiny, but the whole flower is small, so I'm not sure that means anything. We'll have to wait for the next bloom.

This brings the total number of seedlings who have bloomed up to 48. (Pictures of all of them so far are in footnote 5, should you be interested in comparing.) Most don't pass the would-I-buy-this-if-it-were-in-a-store test, but there are several I'd at least stop and think about.

There are also 21 seedlings with buds right now, mostly from plants that have bloomed already. The next time I do one of these posts, I may have first-time blooms to show you from #040 "Ivy Winters," #095 "Clarice Fullhartz" (name explanation), #203 "Anna Mae Hemensouz," and #218 "Noah Fence." I'm particularly excited about Anna Mae, whose bud so far is a very dark red. The others all look like they're going to be normal pinks and reds.


1 It's possible, though everything else being equal it's really a lot simpler to just take them to the consignment store in Iowa City than it is to arrange for payment, box them up and mail them to people. The only reason I haven't taken any to the consignment store yet is because the thrips are still a problem. (Any time I show you a spathe with irregular brown spots on it, that's thrips damage. It's only cosmetic, not something that's going to kill the plants, but it's irritating as hell.) I'm trying to figure out what to do about that first. (Peaches' recipient was aware of the thrips and agreed to take her anyway.)
2 I currently have a list of ~300 potential seedling names, in addition to the 430 names which have already been assigned to seedlings. And then there are another 47 names that I'm trying to decide whether to use or not. Pondering drag names is a much bigger part of my life than you probably realize. It's certainly a much bigger part of my life than I would ever have expected.
3 I really hope that this seedling turns out to be worth hanging onto, because I kind of love Coco. Exhibit A (NSFW):

"Oh, sweetheart, your mother. Your poor mother."
4 Also delightful, though more of an acquired taste than Coco. This isn't safe for work either:

5 The full list (best image to date, number, name, spathe color / spadix color, seed parent):

002 "Alexis Mateo" -- red / green, 'Gemini'

005 "Chad Michaels" -- dark red / green, 'Gemini'

026 "Peaches Christ" -- red / yellow, 'Gemini'

031 "Sylvester" -- orange / white, 'Orange Hot'

034 "Alaska Thunderfuck" -- red / yellow, 'Gemini'

035 "Alyssa Edwards" -- purple-red / yellow, 'Gemini'

041 "Anna Graham" -- pink / pink, 'Orange Hot'

046 "Aurora Boreanaz" -- pink / purple, NOID purple

059 "Bijoux Tuit" -- red / yellow, 'Gemini'

063 "Audrey Quest" -- red / yellow, 'Gemini'

066 "Barbara Seville" -- pink / pink, 'Gemini'

076 "Bob Humbug" -- red / yellow, 'Gemini'

083 "Carmen Adairya" -- pink / pink, 'Gemini'

085 "Carson Trucks" -- purple-pink / yellow, 'Gemini'

097 "Colin Ambulance" -- pink-orange / orange, NOID purple

108 "Deena Sequins" -- red / purple, NOID purple

110 "Delta Badhand" -- red / red, NOID purple

116 "Eileen Dover" -- red / red, 'Orange Hot'

118 "Elijah Sturdabowtit" -- pink-orange / pink-orange, 'Orange Hot'

120 "Eliza Boutiseckis" -- orange / orange, 'Orange Hot'

125 "Anya Wei" -- red / yellow, 'Gemini'

126 "Erin Dirtylondry" -- pink / pink, 'Gemini'

144 "Graham Reaper" -- red / pink, 'Gemini'

149 "Heather Boah" -- dark red / yellow, 'Gemini'

179 "Katie Boundary" -- red / yellow, 'Gemini'

200 "Mario Speedwagon" -- purple / purple, NOID purple

202 "Mason Pepperspray" -- pink / pink, NOID purple

213 "Nadya Falt" -- red / pink, 'Gemini'

214 "Anita Knapp" -- pink / yellow, 'Gemini'

216 "Gillian Jamm" -- pink / pink, 'White Gemini'

223 "Patty Cake" -- red / yellow, 'White Gemini'

231 "Rhea Listick" -- red-purple / yellow, 'White Gemini'

232 "Rhoda Badcek" -- pink / pink, 'White Gemini'

234 "Ross Koz" -- purple-pink / yellow, 'White Gemini'

235 "Rowan DeBoate" -- pink / pink, 'White Gemini'

238 "Rudy Day" -- red / yellow, 'White Gemini'

239 "Russ Teanale" -- pink / yellow, 'White Gemini'

243 "Sal Monella" -- red / yellow, 'White Gemini'

244 "Sara Problem" -- pink / pink, 'White Gemini'

245 "Sawyer Ad" -- red / yellow, 'White Gemini'

247 "Selma Carr" -- red / yellow, 'White Gemini'

271 "Wanda Reulthemal" -- pink / pink, 'White Gemini'

273 "Wes Coast" -- pink / pink, 'White Gemini'

275 "Yvette Horizon" -- pink / pink, 'White Gemini'

276 "Zach Religious" -- pink / orange?, 'White Gemini' (don't have great pictures of Zach's spadix)

280 "Jujubee" -- red / yellow, 'White Gemini'

282 "Dave Trading" -- red / yellow, 'White Gemini'

283 "Anne Pursand" -- pink / pink, 'White Gemini'