Saturday, August 9, 2008

Random plant event: Cryptanthus NOID flowering

The plants at work have been doing this too, but this is more special because it's my own personal plant, that's been with me for a little over a year now. The bloom isn't gorgeous, and I'm actually a little concerned, because I'm not sure what to expect the plant to do now that it's flowered. A few of the work plants have been starting to form multiple rosettes, which I kind of find unattractive. Wev.

(For more, see the Cryptanthus profile.)

Meanwhile, I'm trying to put in the next tropical order (Philodendron 'Xanadu!' Anthurium hookeri! Euphorbia drewpifera drupifera!), write a Saintpaulia profile, keep all the plants watered, write a book review, work, and not get heat exhaustion. Posting might be a little terse for a while.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pretty picture: Hemerocallis 'Jungle Beauty'

I can't imagine this one looking all that great en masse, from a distance, but it's pretty cool close-up. And maybe I'm just having a failure of imagination anyway. It's not that I don't like dark-colored plants and flowers.

I've been noticing different daylily planting approaches lately. Some people go for a very organized look, all the same variety, in a large, uniform bed, or in a long straight line. Other people buy eight different kinds and plant them all together in a jumble, without any attempt at organization or symmetry or even color-coordination. I'm not saying either one is wrong, but there are certain accidental color combinations with the more haphazard approach that kind of set my teeth on edge sometimes. And I'm bothered when I see more than three colors planted together, for reasons I can't explain, unless there's a clear and obvious attempt at symmetry or some other kind of pattern to it.

Sometimes I find the solid-block (or -line) approach annoying too, because it can be monotonous if taken to the extreme. Which someone inevitably will.

But whatever. The organization of one's daylily bed is not, I think, a moral issue. I'm just saying sometimes I wish I could dig up other people's beds and arrange things more to my liking. And I would be surprised if I were the only person who had ever felt that way.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Follow-up: rejected Dreamlines images

(SLOW BROWSER WARNING: image-heavy post.)

When I did yesterday's post, about Dreamlines-generated images for various blog-name inputs, I had to pick one image from however many images I grabbed. As certain people have indicated that they are dissatisfied with the image that wound up assigned to one blog or another, and as people seem to like the pictures in general, I'm going to go ahead and post most of the other candidates. Not all blogs from yesterday's post will necessarily have any pictures up today (whether Benjamin Vogt likes it or not, yesterday's picture for The Deep Middle was as good as I thought the pictures got, e.g.).

A Yard in Fort Pierce #3

An Iowa Garden #2

Another Yard in Fort Pierce #3

Faire Gardens #3

Esther in the Garden #3

dAmN pLaNtS #2

dAmN pLaNtS #1

Plants are the Strangest People #3

Plants are the Strangest People #2

May Dreams Gardens #1

Mr. Brown Thumb #5

Mr. Brown Thumb #4

Rock Paper Lizard #5

Rock Paper Lizard #2

Roses in Gardens #4

Plant Crazy #1

Plants are the Strangest People #8

We're Going to Need a Bigger Pot #1

Wicked Gardener #5

Wicked Gardener #2

Tales From the Microbial Laboratory #2

Soliloquy #3

Zanthan Gardens #3

Zanthan Gardens #2

Water When Dry #2

We're Going to Need a Bigger Pot #6

We're Going to Need a Bigger Pot #2

From this batch, I think the ones I like best are We're Going to Need a Bigger Pot #1, A Yard in Fort Pierce #3, and Esther in the Garden #3, though there are plenty of nice things to be said about several of them.

I've been asked how to take screencaps of the images as they go by. This will sound complicated, but it's not that bad if you can cut and paste blocks of text already, which I'm assuming most people reading this can:

I use the freeware program Irfanview. Open the program and press C. A window will come up asking whether you want the program to take a screencap after a certain time interval, or whether you want to press Ctrl + F11. (I go with the keyboard: it's better to be able to choose when the image looks like a good one than to have it just take a picture at some unknown time in the future.) So click Start.

Then go back to your internet browser window, and start Dreamlines running. When you see an image you like, press Ctrl and F11 at the same time, and you'll get a screencap in Irfanview of your whole browser window. Use your mouse to outline the Dreamlines picture, and then press Ctrl + C to copy.

Then press Alt + E (opens Edit menu), followed by D (deletes image), followed by Ctrl + V (pastes the part you'd copied). Then press S, and a Save As window will come up.

It takes some practice to get to the point where you can do this quickly and fluidly, but once you can, you can go right back to the browser window, press Ctrl + F11 again, and take another screencap.

(I suppose if you really wanted to, you could save all the big screencaps without cropping, and then go back and crop out just the Dreamlines picture later, when you're not trying to watch the images go by. This only just occurred to me, though. There's also an option when you first open the program and press C, to have the program automatically save the captures to a particular folder, though I haven't used that personally and it may not be as easy as it sounds.)


We'll return to our usual plant-related programming tomorrow. Or at least that's the intent.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Best Internet Toy Ever

(SLOW BROWSER WARNING: image-heavy post.)

I'm not quite sure how to explain the site Dreamlines. The basic idea is that you go to the site, enter a word, phrase (in quotes) or group of (not necessarily related) words, and the Java applet searches for those words on-line, yielding a batch of photos. Then, the applet sort of paints picture over picture in a way I don't quite understand. (Something of an explanation of how this is done can be found here.)

The resulting images tend to be sort of abstract expressionist.

Anyway. So by way of demonstration, I've spent way too much time with Dreamlines generating images using the names of various garden blogs. The results are below. It's worth pausing to note six things:

1) just because it's the name of your blog doesn't mean that the pictures that come up will necessarily be your pictures.
2) the fact that I didn't include a picture from your blog doesn't mean that I don't like your blog or think you're a worthwhile person. Some of the attempts I made didn't generate any pictures I was happy with, some perfectly worthy blogs may not have happened to come to mind when I was playing around with this, etc. And it's not like you can't try it for yourself anyway.
3) it is not necessary that you like the image I came up with for your blog. My feelings will not be hurt. I only had just so much to do with making it in the first place.
4) all images can be opened slightly larger in a separate window, which will make them less blurry.
5) the blog name is below the picture. If the search phrase differs from the name of the blog, I've added it in parentheses.
6) I found this via

Shirley Bovshow's Edenmakers Blog ("Edenmakers Blog")

Rock Paper Lizard

Soliloquy (Soliloquy "Nancy J. Bond")

dAmN pLaNtS

We're Going to Need a Bigger Pot

Roses in Gardens

A Yard in Fort Pierce

Water When Dry

Another Yard in Fort Pierce

Faire Garden ("Faire Garden" Frances)

Zanthan Gardens

Garden Rant

Aunt Debbi's Garden

Pleasant Hill Rambles

Plants are the Strangest People

Tales From the Microbial Laboratory

Plant Crazy ("Plant Crazy" Annah Jordan)

Mr. Brown Thumb

The Deep Middle

Wicked Gardener

Esther in the Garden

May Dreams Gardens

An Iowa Garden

So whose blog would you want hanging on your wall? (Me? I'm torn between Wicked Gardener's and Shirley Bovshow's.)