Saturday, March 28, 2015

Anthurium no. 0275 "Yvette Horizon"

Yvette has surprised me this winter / spring. She'd bloomed once before, a year ago, and while that bloom was nice enough --


-- it was still only a pink / pink, and didn't stand out from the other pink / pinks, so I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it. It tried to produce a second bud as the first bloom was dying, but that bud fell victim to The Great Droppening, when lots of plants threw buds at the same time, likely to protest being sprayed with white oil.1, 2

But then this February, a new bud started to form, and I got interested in it when I noticed how large it was getting. Not long before the spathe started to open, an odd kink toward the bottom of the bud indicated that something was not quite right,


and then the bud actually did open, and it was an intense highlighter pink, as well as being bigger than most of the other seedlings' blooms, but that one corner really was screwed up so the whole thing was sort of a letdown anyway.


Worse, I don't know what caused it to do this in the first place. The kink appeared fairly early in the bud's development, so I'm inclined to blame drought stress, which is what I always blame for Anthurium problems I don't understand,3 but this is the first bloom I can recall getting holes in the middle of the spathe, and I know plenty of the other seedlings have been drought-stressed before, so that's clearly not the whole explanation.

Sort of waiting to see what happens with the next bud on Yvette, then. A new bud has just started developing, so by June or so, I should know whether this is something they're all going to do, or something peculiar about that particular moment.

It's worth noting, while I'm talking about Yvette, that she also has very nice leaves --


-- dark green, more or less flat, unblemished, interestingly veined, and so forth. And the spathe color is fading with time a lot less than many of the other pink / pink seedlings' spathes do.4 So there's definitely potential here, if future spathes can do a better job of holding themselves together.

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1 White oil: mix of water, vegetable oil (soybean in my particular case) and an emulsifier (dishwashing liquid), which is sprayed on plants with bug problems in an effort to suffocate the bugs by blocking their breathing pores with oil. In fairness, this really did make a big impact on my thrips problem here, for several months, but it did not actually eradicate them. Also, being an unsaturated oil, it goes rancid when exposed to air, which turns out to be a problem, and a few plants react very badly to being sprayed with oils of any kind, the worst in my experience being Cordyline fruticosa, Euphorbia milii, and Breynia disticha. Ask your horticultural professional if white oil is right for you.
2 Though the cause / effect relationship is only speculation, until / unless I try spraying everything with white oil again. Which I'm hesitant to do. See above re: rancidity and not eradicating things.
3 (and you'd be surprised how often that turns out to be the correct answer)
4 Both 0241 "Megan Gigaterra" and 0126 "Erin Dirtylondry" get much lighter as they age. This looks better on Erin than on Megan even though they both lighten to about the same color; I haven't been able to put a finger on why that is. Curiously, Yvette's first bloom got very light within a couple months, so it's possible that there's a seasonal or cultural factor to work out too.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pretty picture: Masdevallia Georgian Franczyk

It'd be hard to get excited about the color pattern here -- faint stripes seem to be pretty common for Masdevallia hybrids -- but the color itself is something I don't think I've seen before. The closest we get is probably Masdevallia Tortoise 'Plum Petite,' from the 2012 show, and this is a lot more saturated than that.


Masdevallia Georgian Franczyk = Masdevallia Midnight Plum x Masdevallia coccinea (Ref.)

The Quad Cities orchid show was last Saturday, and it was, you know, fine. Like an orchid show. I got about 60 sets of pictures, I think, depending on how salvageable a few bad shots turn out to be, so we'll have about one orchid post per week for the rest of 2015, roughly the same frequency as the 2014 posts. Spelling and IDs were more consistent and more often correct than previous years too, so good for the Illowa Orchid Society.

Not a lot of surprises, though there were a few new weird species, which I enjoyed even if they weren't very flashy. Sadly, I only saw one Masdevallia in 2015, and it wasn't even a pretty one. You won't see many Phragmipediums this year either. (They were at the show; I just didn't take pictures of them. Most were the ringleted types, with the long skinny petals that fall down to either side of the bloom, and those rarely photograph well, so I figured this year I just wouldn't even try.)

The fashion story this year seemed to be Black Is The New Black -- seemed like an unusually large number of very dark blooms, including a couple really dark purple Phalaenopsis, a dark purple Vanda, and a few Paphiopedilums that were basically black in places. So we have that to look forward to, beginning in April.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Anthurium no. 0088 "Charlotte F. Babylon"

You may remember Charlotte from last spring, when she grew a bud and then dropped it after working on it for three months. At the beginning of February 2015, I noticed a new bud, and that one developed a lot faster, opening its spathe about a month later.


There's not a lot to say about this; we've seen red / yellow blooms before. I like it fine, but mostly I think that's because I'm happy it's not a pink / pink. Even if it isn't exactly breaking new ground in Anthurium bloom color, it's pretty large, and seems to be holding its own against the thrips pretty well, which is enough to make me happy.


The leaves are pretty much the same story: not groundbreaking, better than the default, good enough.


Is Charlotte a keeper? I'm not sure yet. I certainly have a lot of choices, when it comes to the red / yellows,1 and I've already moved four of those2 up to 6-inch pots,3 so I certainly don't have to keep her around, but the red / yellows also tend to age better -- a lot of the pink / pinks get lighter over time, whereas the red / yellows tend to stay more or less the same color -- so I'm at least tempted to keep her around. We'll see.

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1 (0034 "Alaska Thunderfuck," 0058 "Betty Larsony," 0059 "Bijoux Tuit," 0063 "Audrey Quest," 0076 "Bob Humbug," 0088 "Charlotte F. Babylon," 0125 "Anya Wei," 0179 "Katie Boundary," 0223 "Patty Cake," 0245 "Sawyer Ad," 0257 "Summer Bederth-Enuthers," 0280 "Jujubee," and 0282 "Dave Trading.")
2 (0059 "Bijoux Tuit," 0076 "Bob Humbug," 0245 "Sawyer Ad," 0282 "Dave Trading")
3 Getting moved to a 6-inch pot is more or less my way of saying to a seedling, good job, you get to stay. At the moment, there are only 29 named seedlings in 6-inch pots, and unless / until I can sell some more of my non-Anthuriums, I only have room for one or two more, so competition is pretty intense. If 0330 "Faye Quinette," the one with the brown bud, winds up looking at all pleasant, she's probably going to get a 6-inch pot, but there aren't any other seedlings that are obviously in the lead, and I don't know how much longer Faye is going to take. It seems like she's been working on this one bloom forever. (In reality, it's only been since late January, not even two months yet.)


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Schlumbergera seedling no. 099

The other recent Schlumbergera bloom is prettier, I think, than seedling 111A "Morning Sun." We already knew that I'm kind of a sucker for this orange-and-pink combination.

Seventeen name possibilities this time, but it was easier to rule them out than it was for 111A. Combine only caught my attention because I just finished playing Half-Life 2 a little bit ago;1 it otherwise makes no sense for this. Bells and Angels is an interesting image, but the name is too long and has too little to do with anything. Tabletop isn't even an interesting picture, much less word. Elvis Special just doesn't seem like a flower name. A flower named Koala should really be gray, or gray and black, not orange and pink. Aerial is kind of a neat picture, but the name leaves me cold. Girls' Weekend seemed briefly interesting, but then the moment passed and I couldn't figure out what it was about the idea that had appealed to me in the first place.


Sunset Mandala, Maine Sunrise, and Other Sun(s) are all perfectly reasonable names, but I just named a seedling after the Sun.

The photo for Roman Candle doesn't even contain a Roman candle, as far as I can tell, but even if it were, when I imagine a Roman candle in my head, it's green, or maybe red. Definitely not orange and pink.

American Biscuit amuses me. I won't go into it here, but "biscuit" means different things in American English and British English. The whole business is fairly complicated, plus changing all the time as cultures exchange ideas, but a good explanation can be found here if you're interested. The photographer seemed to be confused by the KFC ad in the photo ("a scone surely?"), but I'm assuming that the whole U.S./U.K. confusion is why the ad specifies that the photo depicts an American biscuit. None of this is remotely relevant to Schlumbergeras, but I was briefly amused by the idea of calling a Schlumbergera seedling "American Biscuit." And then that stopped being amusing.

Helium-Filled Heart appealed to me when I first saw the photo, but it's also a pretty long name, and there's nothing heart-shaped about the flower. Helium by itself is retained for consideration, though.


So we wind up with five possibilities, the aforementioned Helium, plus these:

I lived in Washington DC, long ago, for a very short time, and although I don't think I technically lived in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, it was my closest Metro stop, so it kind of felt like I lived there. The seedling has nothing to do with Dupont Circle, and neither does the photo, really (aside from, I gather, being taken inside some building in the neighborhood), but I don't know. Maybe?

Potential Energy is also a bit of a stretch, when it comes to seedling-naming, but there's something sort of energetic about the colors, and it at least doesn't seem like a ridiculous thing to name a seedling.

Dessert Room appeals mostly because I like the idea of having a house so large that there's a dedicated room solely for eating dessert, sort of the way some of the obscenely wealthy have rooms dedicated to gift-wrapping. Except that having a dessert room seems more practical, because one eats dessert once or twice a day, and how often do you really need to wrap gifts? The connection to the flower is tenuous, though the colors seem sort of fruity and sweet, and I'm sure I've seen desserts that color before.

Barcade is another idea that I can't believe never caught on. An arcade full of games that you can play while getting drunk? Yes please! I assume it never caught on because, when arcades were a common thing, video games were perceived as being for kids too young to drink, and now arcades are uncommon because the home video gaming market has removed the need for people to leave their home to play.2

Alas, Barcade is an ugly word. Further, my mental spell-check keeps wanting to correct it to "brocade"3 (the actual spell-check wants to correct it to "barricade"), so it's out.

My memories of Dupont Circle are mainly in gray, white, and brown, because I was there from November to January. Even during warmer times of the year, I doubt there's a lot of orange.4 Not that the other options are particularly color-appropriate either, but this seems especially bad.

No particular reason to go against Potential Energy or Helium that I can think of, but the more I ponder, the more I like Dessert Room. So that's what I'm going with.

We'll have to see what happens with the other Schlumbergera seedlings; Schlumbergera 091 and 082 definitely have buds developing at the moment, and 113 might (hard to tell at this point -- very very new buds look an awful lot like new stem segments), so there might be a few more yet to see and name. Several seedlings are trying to rebloom,5 too, which I probably won't post about unless the new blooms are obviously different from what's come before, but rest assured that I'm keeping track of which ones bloom well and will let you know about that when it's time to try to sell them. The first set of cuttings I took are beginning to produce new stem segments now, so it shouldn't be too much longer before I know which will be available.

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1 The multidimensional alliance of alien species which is trying to take over the Earth and blah blah blah. The game is, of course, wonderful, which if you're the sort of person who cares about stuff like this, you probably already know it's wonderful, because I'm ten and a half years late to the Half-Life 2 party.
2 Though there are a few arcades still operating, plus hybrid establishments like Dave & Buster's, which combine a bar, restaurant, and arcade. I guess Dave & Buster's is doing well enough, but there are no Iowa locations, and even if there were, their website makes those locations look loud and full of assholes. So no thank you.
3 Perhaps a more appropriate name for places like Dave & Buster's, in the arcade-full-of-bros sense. Not so much in the fabric-containing-raised-designs sense.
4 Pink, maybe: it was and is a gay neighborhood.
5 022A "Sad Tomato," #023A "Stoked," #024 "Safety Vest"/"Bryce Canyon," #026A "Brick Wall," #027A "Kiln," #028 "Phil Collen"/"Neon Like," #030A "Diwali," and #031 "Baby Carrots," at the moment.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pretty pictures: Cymbidium Yowie Flame

There never seem to be very many Cymbidiums at the orchid show.


According to the blog's Cymbidium tag, I got zero photos of Cymbidiums at the 2010 orchid show, one in 2011, one in 2012, one in 2013, and now the one in 2014.


What would explain this? Are they just uncool? (If so, why?) Is it hard to get them to bloom in March? 'Cause you can't tell me they're not pretty. And I know they're not significantly more expensive than some of the other kinds of orchids, or harder to find -- I've occasionally seen them for sale in stores around here. So why aren't they better represented at the show?


Cymbidium Yowie Flame = Cymbidium Tapestry x Cymbidium Sensation (Ref.)


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Schlumbergera seedling no. 111

Whoops. I didn't mean to stop posting entirely. Lots of stuff going on, plus I had a big backlog of photos to get through, and the Anthuriums keep doing things so it's hard to keep up. Today, though, we're back to the Schlumbergeras for a minute, because a couple more seedlings have finally bloomed.

These were supposed to be the last of the Schlumbergera blooms until the fall, but now two new seedlings have buds on them (#082 and #091), so it's looking like there will be a steady trickle of new seedlings to be named for a bit longer. Which is okay, I guess, but I'd sort of hoped to be able to focus on the Anthuriums now.

In any case, here's number 111A:1


Not terribly exciting, and for some reason it didn't photograph all that well (I had to do a lot of fiddling with the color and brightness to get something that looked right), but it's okay, I suppose. Just another orange-and-white.

Possible names for 111A:

Eliminated immediately, mostly just for failing to grab me: Airport Bar, Basswood, Edie and Andy, Fire Academy, Harmony Day, No Sweat, Old Warehouse, One of Twelve, Sunroof, Triumph, and Turbo.


Which left thirteen. Seven could be eliminated for reasons I found convincing:

Ice Tea fails because it implies a browner color than is actually the case, and I felt Deep Dish implied something a lot redder.

Divine Rebellion seemed appealing until I found out that it's a band name, and I don't care for their music. (Struck me as sort of Alice-in-Chainsy, except that I sort of like Alice in Chains and I didn't like what I heard of Divine Rebellion.)

I love the corporate-speak redundancy of Recognition Award (recognition of outstanding whatever is the usual reason for giving an award, but when the award is itself called a "Recognition Award," what is the word "recognition" doing there, exactly?), and I could see it if you're giving someone a trophy for having given other people an outstanding number of trophies. That would be sort of delightfully circular, even. But as far as I can tell from the information given, not only was the honoree being recognized for nothing in particular, but the presenter(s) couldn't even be bothered to pretend that it signified something specific.

Even if that interpretation is completely off, that's the story it evokes in my mind, and I love that story, so I really kind of wanted to name the seedling Recognition Award, but in the end, the vagueness worked against it -- if it means nothing and sounds dumb as the name of an award, it doesn't really mean anything and sounds dumb as the name of a Schlumbergera seedling too.

Similar issues with Scheduled Downtime: I think most of us like the concept, but the corporate-speak makes it unclear whether it's a good thing. Could mean layoffs, or periods when everybody's unable to work because they're putting in the new computer system, or whatever.

She Heard You appeals in a Culture Ship kind of way, but it's not very specific (what did she hear you say? is it good that she heard? is she happy about it? are you happy about it?). Plus I've been trying to stick to two-word names at most.2

Make-Out City also violates the two-word limit, though I kind of liked it anyway until it came time to imagine it as the official name and then I felt like it would seem stupid.


Which brings us to six actual contenders.

Morning Sun references an actual color, which always helps. People tend to like sun in the morning. There's a smallish town in my general area named Morning Sun, which is not itself particularly noteworthy but I've always thought the name was nice.

Cioppino is, apparently, a kind of fish stew. I wasn't familiar with cioppino before and don't have feelings about it (though I tend not to be a fan of stews), but it's a fun word, like 019A "Belevenissen."

Vapour Trail is an abstract but pleasant photo, and there's something odd about the way the bloom is shaped, that has a sort of streaking-through-space feel to it. I mean, all Schlumbergera blooms have that to some extent, but 111A seems to have more of it than usual. So maybe I could imagine it leaving a trail behind it. Also this would be a chance to make it up to all the people who thought 008B "Candor" should have been spelled "Candour," by spelling "Vapor" as "Vapour."

Yammy is at least somewhat accurate as to the color, and the -y suffix says, "hey, so this is kind of like a yam in at least one way, but it's not, like, super like a yam, you know?" Which I think is a lot of attitude to pack into a single letter of the alphabet. And it's short, and therefore easily typed. The down side: makes me think of "yammer," which is unpleasant.

Firewalk has a color that's more or less in the right color neighborhood, I suppose, and it's a memorable enough idea, though I imagine more of a red-orange when I think about firewalks.

Finally, Full Moon seemed appropriate because full moons are often white or orange, the colors of the bloom, and I think people are generally in favor of the Moon, though it's not like I go around asking people how they feel about the Moon a lot or anything. On the other hand, mooning.

So first to go is Yammy, because when I was searching for a dictionary to link to about "yammer," I discovered that yammer is also the name of a social network for businesses.3 Yammy is therefore tainted by association, and is hurled from the list with great enthusiasm.

Also going to drop Cioppino, because not only is it not usually this color, according to an image search, but even when it is, it almost always includes (black) mussel shells. Vapour Trail is also wrong from a color standpoint, as those are always (?) white.

Firewalk is gone because I feel like I already have plenty of fire-related names (057A "Pyrotechnic," 083B "Guy Fawkes Night," 023A "Stoked," 027A "Kiln").

So Morning Sun or Full Moon?

I'm going to go with Morning Sun, on the grounds that the sort of spiky tepals-everywhere look of Schlumbergera flowers is more in line with the way people depict the sun. And there you have it.

Stay tuned for seedling no. 099, tentatively scheduled for Friday.

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1 (099A will get its own post shortly.)
2 And mostly succeeding, though #083B "Guy Fawkes Night" and #084A "Downward-Facing Dog" have three. I can justify the latter on the grounds that the "dogs" aren't worth worrying about either way, since I don't like them or else I wouldn't have named them dogs, and the former is . . . well, let's call it an exception that proves the rule even though exceptions that prove the rule never actually prove the rule because exceptions are exceptions, and at the very least suggest that the rule is incompletely stated, and I really wish people would stop saying this because it makes me crazy.
3 No link, because fuck those guys.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Anthuriums 0279 and 0594

I've been spending a lot of time lately trying to get the Anthurium-seedling-related spreadsheets whipped into some kind of order,1 I have a lot of photos that need to be sorted through, and next weekend is the orchid show, so the daily posts will have to stop being daily for a while. So you've been warned.

Today's post is about #0279 "Tristan Shout" and #0594 "Charity Case," which began blooming at basically the same time, and have produced basically identical flowers.

Left/top: #0279 "Tristan Shout." Right/bottom: #0594 "Charity Case."

This is turning out to be the year of the LPA (Little Pink Anthurium). Nothing wrong with 'em, and Charity even did something barely interesting as the first bloom was dying, in that the spadix turned an unexpectedly dark purple:


I mean, we could argue about whether this nearly-dead bloom is attractive overall, but that is certainly a purple spadix.

Both Tristan and Charity are unexpectedly floriferous; Charity's first bud opened on January 26, and she already had a second bud going by January 30 (which had itself opened by March 11). Tristan's first bud opened on January 30, and there was a second bud in development by February 27. So they're good plants, and probably also genetically identical (#0594 was divided from #0279 last June). But did they have to be pink, is all.

Again, left/top: #0279 "Tristan Shout." Right/bottom: #0594 "Charity Case." Photo is just after Tristan opened.

Both of them are pink / pink when open, and light pink / purple about 2-4 weeks later.

#0279 "Tristan Shout," about 1 month after opening.

The spathes are tiny, as well: nowhere is the "little" in "little pink anthuriums" more deserved. That's something that might change as the plants mature, but at least for the moment, all three blooms have been 1.5 inches wide and 1.7 inches tall (3.8 x 4.3 cm). I suppose I admire the consistency?

#0594 "Charity Case," second bloom, just after opening.

The blooms are also not very long-lasting, though since only one has actually died so far (after about a month), it's probably too early to be sure about that.

The leaves are okay, I guess. Not especially attractive. Tristan's leaves have had some problems --


-- but he seems to have mostly grown out of that. Mostly the leaves are ordinary and sort of matte green, like this one of Charity's:


Keepers? Well, I might keep one or the other. The purple spadix and (so far) small plant size makes me suspect that they're 'White Gemini' x NOID purple, so it might be worthwhile to have one around for breeding purposes. Haven't decided yet. But the other, I'll probably have up for sale at some point. Can't keep 'em all.

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1 In particular, I've noticed that certain sibling groups -- seeds sown at more or less the same time, from the same seed parent -- do a lot more blooming than others, or are much more likely to die than others, or etc., and so I've been trying to work out how many such groups I have (71) and what they're like, in general. So far, the only practical effect of having this information is that now when a seedling dies, gets potted up, or produces a bud for the first time, I have, like, three times as many spreadsheets / notebooks / etc. to record that information in: I had three new buds and eight deaths on Wednesday and it took me, no kidding, two hours to deal with all the bureaucracy.
I agree that this is ridiculous, but with 1057 seedlings to date, 762 of which are still alive, there's no way I'm going to be able to remember it all in my head, and since I don't really know what information will be important in the long run, a certain amount of unnecessary record-keeping seems warranted.


Each one of the above squares represents a seedling that existed at one time or another:a gray squares are dead plants, green squares are living but haven't bloomed, hot pink squares are living and have bloomed, and the sort of lavender-looking squares have buds in progress.
       a (actually number 0388 represents two seedlings, because in early January 2014, as I was potting up a new batch, I started numbering from the wrong number, but both of the 388s are dead so it doesn't really matter)


Friday, March 13, 2015

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum malipoense

This particular species has only appeared on the blog once (2012), but there have been lots of its hybrids around:

Paphiopedilum Lynleigh Koopowitz
Paphiopedilum Norito Hasegawa
Paphiopedilum Jade Dragon (possibly; the identity of the plant in that photo is uncertain, though it sure looks a lot like P. malipoense)
Paphiopedilum Memoria Larry Heuer
Paphiopedilum Bit-O'-Sunshine x Paphiopedilum William Sanders x Paphiopedilum malipoense