Life here has been more chaotic than usual lately, because of the blizzard last week. It all seemed to be going pretty well: I was disappointed with the amount of snow we got, but there were substantial winds, as promised, and I enjoy having weather. Then I noticed that the plant room, which ordinarily contains about a third of my plant population, was down to 60F/16C, and this was around 5 PM: the forecast was for it to continue to get colder for the next twelve hours or so.
And I panicked, as I sometimes do, and took a lot of the more temperature-sensitive plants out of the plant room and stuck them in the basement, and then I ran out of room in the basement so I started putting them in the kitchen. I subsequently ran out of room in the kitchen, living room, and my office before the migration was complete, and this is stack-on-any-open-surface running out of room, not place-in-designated-plant-areas running out of room like I always am.
Part of the reason for the panic was because, in the process, I found two plants that were dead: an Astrophytum myriostigma and a Gasteria NOID. I don't know for sure what happened to either of them: the Astrophytum in particular had had sort of a rough life (it was kind of top-heavy, and then got knocked out of its pot about every six weeks since we moved to the house), and the Gasteria was near the floor where the temperature was the coldest, plus both of them had been watered semi-recently. Maybe they were dormant and didn't like that. So there's circumstantial evidence that both of them were actually my fault, not the weather, but in the heat of the moment, this was evidence that they were ALL GOING TO DIE if I didn't move them out of the plant room immediately.
The husband, meanwhile, was stapling (?) blankets over the windows. We found fans to blow warmer air into the plant room. Everything got turned upside down, and the plants that stayed in the plant room more or less had to do without light for a couple days, though blankets and fans got the temperature back up around 72F/22C more or less immediately. Which made moving everything seem kind of unnecessary, but whatever.
The husband then spent a couple days in the plant room, installing some heavy curtains, which in theory can be drawn the next time the plant room gets too cold. It's not a perfect system, as the curtains are probably going to catch on plants and pull them over the next time the curtains have to be drawn, but knocking over a couple plants is still better than panicking.
I suppose it depends on which plants.
All of the above is to explain why, last Sunday, I went back to visit my old job. I really needed to get out of the house; I'd just posted the Cactus Blindness post and felt, as one does, an urgent need to photograph more cacti; and a couple spots had just opened up in the plant room, which needed to be filled. . . .
But here's what I didn't buy.
This wasn't a particularly serious contender: it looks an awful lot like my Anthurium "hookeri," though the dark purple/black leaves are kind of interesting. They only turned color, I'm told, once they arrived in Iowa and started getting direct sun, though, so the odds of keeping the color in the house were pretty slim. Plus, if I'm going to spend $25 on an Anthurium, I'm still holding out for a Anthurium podophyllum.
Still, exoticrainforest.com makes 'Marie' sound pretty interesting: apparently its chromosomes are kind of a mess, so individual plants are prone to do odd things (double spadices on the flowers, weird branching, etc.: you can see a picture of a deformed 'Marie' spadix here, and other Anthurium nervous breakdowns, plus those of a few other aroids, are here), and I do kind of find that appealing. We'll see.
This Episcia, on the other hand, didn't tempt me at all. I'm this close to renouncing gesneriads and all of their works (only 6 left, 2/3 of which are Nematanthus). But I appreciate seeing them in the garden center. I mean, they're pretty and everything. I just don't want to bring one home to kill.
Might come back for this guy, though. As I've mentioned before, I seem to be very focused on buying cacti lately. Some of the reason for going to the garden center in the first place was because the Stenocereus thurberi in the cactus blindness post had been calling me from afar. I also bought what I really hope is a Myrtillocactus geometrizans; previous attempts have been foiled by erroneous labeling and my inability to tell the difference.
So what haven't you bought recently? (Please say poinsettias. Except you, water roots. I already know about you and the poinsettia, and I'm very disappointed. Now go to your room and think about what you've done.)