Monday, November 23, 2009

Pretty pictures: Mammillaria decipiens (?) flowers

I think all four of these are Mammillaria spp., but only the first three are M. decipiens. I don't know what the last one is. The file names say differently because I was in a hurry while sorting through the pictures and didn't notice that the last one was different until I'd uploaded them to Blogger.

I'm having a tough time keeping up with the blog lately. For one thing, none of the plants here at home are doing anything very interesting, so I don't have much material for new posts. (These Mammillaria pictures are from May 2008.) I tried going to the ex-job to stock up on pretty pictures, but although they got a new order in around the beginning of November, I'm told that most of what was on it was orchids and Norfolk Island pines (Araucaria heterophylla).

The orchids sound promising until you consider that 1) they were about 80% Phalaenopsis, 2) of varieties I've photographed before, plus 3) it was a dark, rainy day (so the light was for crap) and 4) I didn't get there until about 4 PM anyway, so the sun actually set while I was there, making a crappy lighting situation considerably crappier. A couple of the poinsettia pictures turned out okay, but a lot of us would rather not be looking at poinsettia pictures this time of year -- or any other time of year, for that matter -- so I'm reluctant to use them.

And I have ideas for posts, and am in fact working on two longish posts right now, but neither of those are going well, and both have already taken weeks to write. I intend to get them finished one way or the other by Saturday, but they still need a lot of work, leaving me even less time to come up with the other three daily posts this week. And and and, when I do manage to find something to post, a lot of you aren't going to see it anyway, because U.S. Thanksgiving messes up everybody's schedules. So instead of reading PATSP, people will be traveling, waiting to travel, enjoying time with family, or trying not to kill family. Which says something about your priorities, but I'll try not to judge.

So. If it seems like I'm phoning it in with some of the posts this week, it's not because I don't love you, Canadian and other non-U.S. readers. If not for y'all, I wouldn't bother to post anything. I just don't have much to post about, and I'm fairly preoccupied and frustrated by these two large posts, which may or may not be good enough to make up for the in-phoning. Forgive me. It'll get better.


Ginny Burton said...

Don't despair! You've picked up a new fan this week, the holiday notwithstanding.

I found you via Google Image whilst searching for the name of one of my plants since I wanted to offer its cuttings on GardenWeb. I knew it was often called jasmine, but wasn't really a jasmine. And I knew it had a P in its name. Not much to go on, right? But after paging through pictures of white "jasmine" I came upon your picture of Murraya paniculata--Bingo!

Then I sat down and read many of your entries, so happy that I'd found a new blog on gardening--and a well written, grammatically correct one at that!

I immediately sent the link to my friend Bob, a fellow gay Iowan, who sent back this quotation, which he attributed to Gertrude Stein, talking about boys from Iowa: "They're all very bright and very strange, and they always get people to take care of them." (I haven't been able to verify that quotation.)

All this is to say that just because your regular readers are off to Grandmother's house where there is only paltry dial-up, if that, there are new readers stumbling across your blog all the time. So, write on, baby, write on!

And one question: will Murraya paniculata root in water?

Ginny Burton said...

It's obvious that I didn't read the Murraya entry very carefully, since you answered my question in your post. So sorry! I'm just getting senile, I guess. Tomorrow is my 64th birthday (or, Only One Year Until Medicare, as I like to call it) so I think I should get a pass.

Anonymous said...

It always seems improbable to see the lovely flowers emerge from the bumpy, lumpy, spiky plants. How I loathe the marketers who stick horrid dried strawflowers on the poor cacti, flowers that have so little of the glow of the real things.

Post away, holiday or no, not all of us are on the road or luxuriating in a meal at Grannies house. (My turkey will be cooked outdoors for the fiftieth-odd year so you could hope it isn't snowing on me this year.)

mr_subjunctive said...

Ginny Burton:

Well thank you. Especially thank you for that quote. This page gives the quote as, "…you are brilliant and subtle if you come from Iowa and really strange and you live as you live and you are always well taken care of if you come from Iowa." I like Bob's version better, though perhaps we could splice in the "you live as you live" part, which I also like.

The "quotes" page also contains this somewhat more cynical gem:

"When you come from Des Moines you either accept the fact without question and settle down with a girl called Bobbie and get a job in the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever or you spend your adolescence moaning at length about what a dump it is and how you can't wait to get out and then you settle down with a local girl named Bobbie and get a job in the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever." (Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent)

Though there are very very few girls named Bobbie here.

I haven't tried yet, partly because the husband doesn't want me cutting up the (now larger and kinda gangly) tree, but if I were going to attempt Murraya cuttings, I'd plant them in damp vermiculite, keep them covered (in a clamshell container as for Begonia leaf section cuttings, or under a transparent drinking glass, or something like that), give them tons of light, keep them warm, and see how that goes. I think what my previous attempt was missing was a sterile rooting medium.

mr_subjunctive said...


Yeah, the husband and I aren't going to grandma's either. Both of mine, and one of his, are dead, and his one surviving grandma is a long ways away and not in particularly good health. So it'd just be awkward, whichever grandma we picked.

I don't especially like to travel anyway. Or, well, it's not the traveling so much as the staying overnight in an unfamiliar place and having my routine disrupted.

Susan Tomlinson said...

Weeks! to write? I look forward to them. Not that I'm trying to put extra pressure on you.

I'll be traveling over Thanksgiving, too, but plan to take my computer. So I'll check in to see how things are coming along with you and this amazing posts.

Don't worry about phoning it in. Loyal readers everywhere will stay tuned.

mr_subjunctive said...

Susan Tomlinson:

Unfortunately, time spent writing is not related at all to quality of post. It's just more difficult to find the right angle/perspective/whatever on some posts than others. I often think I can bluff my way through if I just write something, but it doesn't work: I just wind up doing a lot of deleting and starting over.

Sometimes I lose good jokes in the process. I really miss the one about Britney Spears being able to unhinge her jaw to swallow her prey whole.[1]


[1] An actual deleted joke; I don't remember what profile it was from.

Lance said...

I've actually had a recent plant event that I thought I'd share. My Burgundy Hibiscus (some sort of Hibiscus acetosella, maybe) bloomed, so I got photos of it.

Diane said...

I'll be traveling but the in-laws have wireless now and I will need breaks from the nonstop chatter so Tweety the Laptop is coming with me. My own family is so much more introverted than my husband's and even after 15 years, I still experience culture shock.

That Bill Bryson book is really good and does have a fair bit about Iowa in it. As someone who spent much of the last three summers driving around the country, much of the book spoke to me. All I know of Des Moines is that a person can drive in with no clue of where they're going and successfully park and see a AAA doubleheader with minimal confusion and expense. The capitol dome is pretty, too.

Anonymous said...

Stop. Take a deep breath, hold it... hold it... exhale slowly. Better?

If something isn't flowing for you, go do something completely different. Your subconscious will work on it.

And, hey, *Arucaria* is pretty interesting.


mr_subjunctive said...


Trying to think if I've ever seen a H. rosa-sinensis bloom that color. I don't remember any. Seems like a cross-breeding opportunity for somebody. (But maybe they're incompatible.)


Des Moines also has a Botanical Garden. Not huge, but there is one, and it's pretty. Saw it by accident a couple years ago.

So it has that going for it too.

Anonymous Korina (how can you be anonymous if I know who you are?):

Araucaria actually is interesting. I just don't like thinking about it at this time of year, when most of them are covered in glitter.

Most of the time, I don't really have the option of working on something else instead: lately I've only barely been managing to write the next day's posts. So if I spend all day on something and then realize it sucks, I kind of have to post it anyway, because there's nothing else remotely ready to post.

Lance said...

It was a very deep color, I was pleased. I would have been happier if they had lasted more than a few hours. I missed the first several blooms because it seems to bloom mostly when I'm at work and closes before I'm home.