Monday, September 29, 2014

Pretty picture: Guarianthe aurantiaca

I'm pretty sure I've gotten better pics of this in the past (in fact they are all better; 2011 is probably the best), but oh well, this one's still really orange, and that's the important part.

previously (as Cattleya): 2010, 2011, 2012

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pretty picture: Cattleya Crownfox Sweetheart 'Perfection'


previously (as Laeliocattleya): 2010

Cattleya Crownfox Sweetheart 'Perfection' = Cattleya walkeriana x Cattleya Memoria Robert Strait (Ref.)


I have stopped oiling the Anthuriums again, not because it wasn't working (it might or might now have been), but because it seems to be upsetting the plants. They're dropping leaves, and new buds have all but stopped. Nothing serious, and it could even be normal (Anthuriums don't change a lot with the seasons, but they're still aware of the seasons), but, but it's enough to make me pause again. Haven't seen any thrips or scale in a while, at least.

I've also gotten involved in a new project, unrelated to plants, which means that posting will remain light for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pretty picture: Robiquetia cerina

The flowers are still not the most interesting, but this is probably the best and most detailed photo I've managed to get so far. So that's something.

previously: 2012, 2013

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pretty picture: Phragmipedium schroderae

According to my notes, this is the only "long droopy phrag" I took pictures of at the show. Part of this is because I was trying not to take paph and phrag pictures, because when I do it just leaves me depressed that I can't grow them, and part of it is because the photos don't turn out that well for me, a lot of the time.

Though this one actually looks pretty decent, considering.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Horticulture- / Landscaping-Related School Dance Themes

Black and White Trowel Ball

Enchantment Under the Fish Emulsion

Compost Magic

Mulch Masquerade

Rain Barrel Nights

A Weed to Remember

Gnome Alaska

A Midsummer Night's Lawn

Hoes and Rakes Formal

Fertilizer Dreams

Dancing With the Shrubs

All Those Flagstones

Old Time Pruners

Koi! Koi! Koi!

Hypertufa in New Orleans

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pretty picture: Masdevallia Golden Monarch

Not the best picture but at least reasonably color-accurate, I think.

Masdevallia Golden Monarch= Masdevallia Golden Angel x Masdevallia Monarch (Ref.)

In Anthurium/scale/thrips news:

I just couldn't bring myself to oil Anthuriums this week, either. So that's what, like three consecutive weeks of oiling, followed by two weeks of not-oiling?

The present situation:

1) I saw thrips again on Thursday (4 Sep.). Also saw 2 scale insects on one of the Agave victoriae-reginaes in the basement, on 3 September. It is unclear whether the insects in question were alive at the time, but even seeing dead ones isn't a happy occasion: I want to not see them at all.
2) A lot of the plants are sticky, too, from dried oil and dishwashing liquid. It'll wash off eventually, I assume, but it makes dealing with them slightly less pleasant until that happens.
3) I also suspect that some of the bud-dropping I've been seeing lately with the Anthuriums can be blamed on the oil.
4) And we did wind up losing #238 "Rudy Day," #247 "Selma Carr," and #243 "Sal Monella," most obviously from watering issues, but it's possible that the oil didn't help. #095 "Clarice Fulhartz" is still around, at least, and may live long enough to produce a bloom, though she doesn't seem to have produced any roots yet.
5) Even though it hasn't actually eliminated the thrips or scale, makes the plants unpleasantly sticky, may be killing buds or plants, and has an unpleasant smell, I think I'm still going to resume oiling this week. It did, if nothing else, make the thrips a lot harder to find, and it's possible that if I'd just kept it up for a couple more weeks, I might have actually gotten rid of them. I mean, it may not be likely. But it's possible, and I'm otherwise out of options. So.

I had plans last week to do a third Anthurium update post, about the species involved in breeding Anthurium varieties and/or what makes for "good" Anthurium foliage, but sort of ran out of time. Posting's likely to drop off again as I resume oiling the plants. (Sorry.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Anthurium News: The Good News

There are still some bright spots to be found in the Anthurium-breeding project, despite the recent rash of dropped buds and minimal first-time budding. To wit:

1) I haven't seen any thrips in about a week. I gave the basement plants the week off from oiling last week because 1) I was tired, and 2) the smell wasn't getting any better. If things went according to plan, I resumed oiling this Monday, but I figured a week off might do all of us some good.

I also haven't seen any scale since I began oiling the plants in the basement. This is also good news, but less so, because it's always been tough to see scale. I'm pleased that I'm not finding it, but it hasn't necessarily gone anywhere.

2) The grandseedlings are coming along adequately. I potted up more seedlings from #276 "Zach Religious" on 24 August, making 22 second-generation plants now, all of them Zach's. I probably won't get 100% long-term survival, but that's fine. Zach has thanked me by producing a new bloom that photographed nicely and is a good bit larger than the previous one:

Seeds have now been started from #271 "Wanda Reulthemal," #273 "Wes Coast," #239 "Russ Teanale," #005 "Chad Michaels," and #059 "Bijoux Tuit." The only interesting things about this so far are that a couple of Wanda's have germinated and should be ready to stick in soil soon, and Chad is spectacularly fertile (more than 70 seeds from one inflorescence, though that doesn't mean that that many will germinate).

Photo actually only shows 60 seeds; another 10 were ready to sow a few days after this, and the spadix still had a few unripe berries.

Many, many more seedlings are developing berries,1 though some of them are unbelievably slow about it.

3) I'm pretty sure I managed to pollinate 'Midori.' I don't yet know how many of the individual tiny flowers got pollinated, but I can see about eight bumps in the middle of the spadix that are bigger than the others and seem to be growing. Even if it worked, I won't have any ripe berries for quite a while, but I had been worried that it was going to be exceptionally difficult to pollinate, like 'Florida' (still no luck with 'Florida,' by the way) and maybe it's not.

'Midori' was happy enough here that it tried to produce a second bloom a few weeks ago, but the developing bloom got stuck in the cataphylls and snapped its own stalk off. Which is a thing that happens occasionally. I'm hoping 'Midori' will try again before the winter.

I also have at least two blooms on the NOID purple pollinated (picture of one below), one from the NOID pink, and six blooms on 'Pandola.' In all cases, the most likely pollen parent is the NOID red, which is super-reliable about producing pollen and not much else. Though the NOID red has also been pollinated, probably by 'Pandola' or itself.

And yes, I know, pollinated Anthurium spadices are not the prettiest things to look at. Scroll back up to Zach's picture if you feel the need.

4) Does it count as good news if it hasn't happened yet? Because I have a theory which, if true, is encouraging.

I've been sort of mildly bummed out all summer, that there weren't more first-time buds showing up. I guess I got kind of spoiled during the winter and spring -- from late December 2013 to late May 2014, I was seeing, on average, a first-time bloomer every three and a half days. From June to August, that's dropped to one every three weeks.

My theory on this is as follows:

1) the Anthurium seedlings just won't bloom unless they're in 4" pots. I don't know why it matters or how they know, but no seedling has ever attempted to bloom in a 3" pot. On average, once transplanted, it takes them ten months to produce their first bud.2
2) I tend to up-pot in large batches, whenever enough room becomes available. There were 90 plants moved up in January, February, and May 2013, who I think of as the "Class of 2013."
3) It's maybe the case now that all the seedlings from the Class of '13 which are inclined to bloom easily in basement conditions have done so already, and the reason first-time blooms slowed down this summer was because the class of '13 was too old to do first blooms, and the class of '14 (i.e., the 126 plants I repotted in October 2013, January 2014, and April-July 2014) was too young to start blooming yet.

The theory winds up making two predictions. The first prediction is that I should be seeing a couple first-time buds from the Class of '14 more or less now, which has happened with #279 "Tristan Shout."3 The second prediction is that I'll start seeing more and more of those happening as we get into the winter, and by February 2015, first-time buds will be appearing once or twice a week again, as the seedlings from the Class of '14 reach blooming size. That obviously can't be confirmed yet, but it's a prediction. And it's making me feel slightly better for the moment.

It's also possible that the air conditioning is suppressing blooming in the basement, though it doesn't seem to be bothering the Anthuriums upstairs. If that's the explanation, though, the result is the same -- when the heater switches on in the winter, suddenly there are lots of new blooms again.


1 As of Friday 29 August, there were berries developing on: #002 "Alexis Mateo" • #005 "Chad Michaels" • #031 "Sylvester" • #059 "Bijoux Tuit" • #063 "Audrey Quest" • #066 "Barbara Seville" • #076 "Bob Humbug" • #083 "Carmen Adairya" • #097 "Colin Ambulance" • #108 "Deena Sequins" • #110 "Delta Badhand" • #125 "Anya Wei" • #126 "Erin Dirtylondry" • #200 "Mario Speedwagon" • #223 "Patty Cake" • #231 "Rhea Listick" • #232 "Rhoda Badcek" • #234 "Ross Koz" • #239 "Russ Teanale" • #244 "Sarah Problem" • #245 "Sawyer Ad" • #271 "Wanda Reulthemal" • #273 "Wes Coast" • #280 "Jujubee"
Not all of those will necessarily reach maturity and be sown, and not all the seeds that are sown will necessarily germinate and grow, but that's a pretty big group, especially considering that I've only been doing this for three years.
Also: holy shit, I've been doing this for three years already.
2 Though that's with a range from 1 to 17 months; it's not like you can make them bloom when you want by repotting them at the right moment. Time since repotting is a better predictor of when they'll bloom than the time since germination is, but only barely.
3 Wait, what about #171 "Genevieve la Difference, who also just started forming a bud for the first time according to your previous post?" I hear no one at all asking. Well.
Genevieve is a really late bloomer from the Class of '13; she should have started her first bud five months ago. I think that means she had to repeat a grade. Or maybe she missed so much school after that skiing accident during Spring Break that she had to take an incomplete, so then she made up the work during the summer and graduated late. I dunno. The graduating-classes metaphor is perhaps getting a little overextended.
In any case, Tristan is the only one from the class of '14 to do a first-time bloom when my theory predicts first-time blooms from that group should begin.
Five other members of the class of '14 have tried, precociously, to bloom by now:
• #218 "Noah Fence" (repotted October, bloomed May, completed July)
• #231 "Rhea Listick" (repotted October, bloomed February, aborted April, retried May, completed June)
• #265 "Madame LaQueer" (repotted October, bloomed June, aborted July)
• #280 "Jujubee" (repotted October, bloomed March, completed April)
• #281 "Laganja Estranja" (repotted October, bloomed April, aborted June)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pretty pictures: Cattlianthe Mary Elizabeth Bohn

This was one of the four "wow" orchids from the 2014 show (along with Laeliocattleya Natrisiri and two plants yet to be blogged), not so much for the shape of it (though that's nice, I guess) as for the color, which is really, really unusual as far as I've seen. (I thought I'd encountered it at an orchid show before, as, like, an accent color in some flower or another, but when I went back into the blog archives to find an example, I couldn't locate any. And part of what's cool about this particular one is that the odd color is the entire flower, not just a petal or margin or something.)

It's also possibly more impressive in person, given the tendency of digital cameras to get weird when it comes to the extreme red and violet ends of the color spectrum.

Cattlianthe Mary Elizabeth Bohn = Cattlianthe Blue Boy x Guarianthe bowringiana (Ref.)